iO Partners has concluded an agreement with JLL to set up a partnership agreement in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. The move was supported by the current MD’s in those countries, who become shareholders, and by Michael Stanton, a US-based real estate private equity fund manager and the founder of iO Partners. In order to ensure continuity for existing customers, JLL and iO Partners formed a preferred partnership.
“It’s business as usual,” says iO’s Czech MD Andrew Peirson about the move, while admitting the change will take some getting used to for some people. “It’s the same people, the same data and the same level of service, and so it’s a change but also total continuity of service. The only major difference is an adjustment in how we’re branded together with JLL, and ultimately where the decision-making powers lie, which is really the drive behind my support personally for this project.”
“Operationally, this means that existing clients will continue to be looked after by the same people, both within JLL and iO, and we will still benefit from JLL’s enormous global client base. The move allows us to make decisions that make sense from a local perspective and we will be able to react quicker, which is essential in fast-moving markets like those in CEE.
He says that after two years rebuilding the Prague office, he has a team he’s happy with, though he looks forward to being able to make new hirings as needed. “For instance, look at our industrial business which we basically re-started two years ago. The first quarter of this year we’re number one in the market, whilst we have for years a market leading Valuation business, and rebuilt our Office Leasing business to solidify our top two market position. That’s years of hard work that’s gotten us to this point and so there’s no plan to change everything. Everyone stays on, we simply grow.” Things are strong in iO’s other markets as well, with a market-leading position in Romania, and Hungary and Slovakia turning in their best ever year in 2022. Ferenc Furulyas in Budapest and Peter Nitschneider in Bratislava will continue to run their respective offices while Vlad Stanislav in Bucharest has recently joined as the new Country MD from the Tetris design & build business.
While the new arrangement isn’t a common one for JLL, Peirson says it’s often used by the other agencies in various jurisdictions in both CEE and globally. “This was a structure we felt worked for both sides,” he says. “For the local offices it meant we could grow the way we want to grow and for JLL it keeps a strong base in the region with people they know and trust. After all, we have people in these offices that have been here for +25 years.”
IO’s official business lines will be Leasing, Capital Markets, Valuations Advisory and Project Management. Eventually, Peirson says expansion to the Balkans is on the cards, but consolidation of the four existing offices will be priority for now.
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