CB Richard Ellis Group's Management Presents At Barclays 2012 Global Financial Services Conference - Conference Call Transcript

CB Richard Ellis Group (CBG)

Special Conference Call

September 10, 2012 9:00 am ET


Brett White - Chief Executive Officer

Gil Borok – Chief Financial Officer


No identified analysts


Ross Smotrich - Barclays

Good morning everybody. I think we’re going to get going. We’ve got very strict warnings that we need to stay on time and on schedule this morning, so since this is the first presentation of the morning, we’re going to get going.

So I’m Ross Smotrich. I’m the REIT and real estate analyst here at Barclays. I’d like to thank all of you for joining us this morning at the Barclays Global Financials conference. I’m very pleased to introduce Brett White, who is the Chief Executive Officer of CB Richard Ellis. Brett is joined by two colleagues – Gil Borok to his right, who is the Chief Financial Officer, and down here in the front Nick Kormeluk, who is responsible for investor relations.

By way of introduction, Brett started with the company in 1984. He assumed the CEO role in 2005. I think it’s fair to say that he’s been very instrumental in growing the company into one of the largest—in fact, the largest real estate services firm globally, including the 2006 acquisition of Trammell Crow and more recently the acquisition of ING’s real estate investment and management business.

Brett, thank you very much for joining us. We’re very appreciative you came.

Brett White

Thanks Ross. Good morning everybody. I walked by the main ballroom this morning at about 8:30 and there were two people listening to the speech in there, so I’m happy to have more than two people in here this morning – maybe it’s because it’s later.

Okay. Most of you if you have followed CBG the last few years have seen this deck, and what we do is we use the same format for every presentation; we just update the numbers. And I’m going to run through the standard pages fairly quickly and Gil will hit the financials in the end, then we’ll take Q&A for whatever time is left.

So if you’re not familiar with the firm, CBG is a commercial real estate services firm, a business services firm like any other. We just happen to operate in the commercial real estate asset class. We are by far the leading global brand. We’ve been in business well over 100 years. We have more than 400 offices in over 60 countries, and we are number one in most of the world’s largest business centers.

Broad capabilities – as you can see here, we’re number one in every one of our business lines – leasing, investment sales, corporate real estate outsourcing, appraisal and valuation, commercial mortgage brokerage, commercial real estate investment management, which we’ll get to in a bit, and our development business. We have terrific scale and diversity. We’re about 1.6, 1.7 times the size of our nearest competitor, tens of thousands of clients. We do business with about 80% of the Fortune 100, and you can see here we did about $160 billion of transaction activity in 2011.

We are recognized as the global leader, have been for many, many years. We’re the only firm in our space that’s on the S&P 500. We’re the only firm in the Fortune 500. The firm that tracks brand recognition in our industry has ranked us the number one brand for every year the survey has been done, which is 11 years. IAOP ranked us again as the number one real estate outsourcing firm, which is very important to our corporate real estate services business. Number one in the Green rankings, and Wall Street Journal gave us a nice accolade last year as well.

So this firm is a fairly simple business. Our vision, which we put forth to our employees in the market back in 1992, has not changed by a single word, which makes our job fairly easy, and that is to be the preeminent vertically-integrated, globally capable commercial real estate services firm, and simply put all that means is we want to be number one in every business line we have, every major geography within which we operate. We want to be number one with our own people – no joint ventures, no alliances – and we want to be global, and those particular objectives within the vision statement, all of those have now been achieved as of last year.

Our strategy is also fairly simple. We want to make sure that whether you are an occupier of commercial real estate or an investor-owner of commercial real estate, we provide all the services you need within those assets, and if we can do that, there’s no room for a competitor to chisel off one of our good clients. And we do – every one of these services on the wheel, which you can’t read, are all the things that occupiers and owners need, and we are, as I said, number one in every single one of them.

Our objectives for the business are also very simple. As I mentioned, we want to be the leader in every world city, the leader in every major business line, highest quality brand, people – we’re a services business, that’s very important. By the way, we have, we believe, the lowest attrition rate in our sales force globally of any firm in the industry. We believe we’ve had that position for over a decade. We have great culture at CBRE. It’s one of the reasons people come and stay with us. And finally and most important to me, it’s all about the scoreboard. I’ve tried to make it the hallmark of my leadership of the firm that we will always lead the industry in margins, and we always have. Every quarter since I’ve been here, that’s been true.

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