Brokers Without Borders

From global giants to networks of entrepreneurial affiliates, brokerage firms are constantly striving to raise their profiles and gain market share. They do so via acquisition, recruitment and alliances.Deciding exactly when, where and how to expand in the global marketplace requires a mixture of science and art. Cushman & Wakefield

From global giants to networks of entrepreneurial affiliates, brokerage firms are constantly striving to raise their profiles and gain market share. They do so via acquisition, recruitment and alliances.Deciding exactly when, where and how to expand in the global marketplace requires a mixture of science and art. Cushman & Wakefield Inc., for instance, has identified a score of markets worldwide that offer potential for expanding transaction services. Yet CEO Bruce Mosler insists that the firm’s push for global growth involves much more than merely adding dots to the map. “Our goal is not to be in every single market around the world,” he said. “It’s to be in the key markets where our clients are.”Global brokerage firms constantly scout the world for possible additions. “We try to boil the ocean,” said Dylan Taylor, president of global client services for Grubb & Ellis Co. In scouting new alliance partners, the firm invites proposals, a method that enables the company to review a candidate’s experience and truly cull the best options, he said. Freedom from conflict of interest also counts heavily in evaluating a new partner.Especially as brokerage practices cross global barriers, finding agencies that are compatible with the business culture of the company or the network is job No. 1. “We’re looking for companies that are experienced with crossborder transactions and are not just looking to improve their local standing,” explained Paul Van Devender, executive managing director for ONCOR International.Familiarity breeds respect, as well. “Generally, we’re probably going to have competed with (a firm we acquire) in some way, shape or form,” noted Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. CFO & COO Lauralee Martin. The company last year acquired 13 firms around the world that offered brokerage services and has already added six to the roster this year.