new entity known asColliers International, FirstService Williams becomes the tri-statearea hub for the combined Colliers operations. For tri-stateclients of FSW, which has been in operation under various names for90 years, the transition means both change and continuity, FSW CEOMark Jaccom tells GlobeSt.com.

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Aside from the Colliers name and branding, which will be adoptedduring this quarter, there's also the new global ranking of thecombined operation of Colliers and FirstService Real EstateAdvisors: the third largest in the world, company officials say.And there's a shift to "centralized ownership" rather than aworldwide network of local partnerships, Jaccom says.

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What's remaining the same as Jaccom becomes tri-state CEO atColliers is the local leadership. He tells GlobeSt.com that theother mainstays of FSW--executive chairman Robert L. Freedman,president Michael T. Cohen and vice chairman Andrew Roos--are allvery much part of the Colliers tri-state hub, which includes 300employees in New Jersey and Connecticut as well as Manhattan. Alongwith focusing on their individual areas of expertise, such asleasing and investment sales, they'll also be key players in thedecision-making process, says Jaccom.

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The idea of integrating Colliers International's global platformwith local expertise, Jaccom says, is to service clients "on alocal, regional, national and global basis." Globally, the combinedColliers International has 15,000 employees and 480 offices in 61countries, and a services platform that includes global corporatesolutions and institutional asset and property management. Theseplatforms were launched amid FirstService REA's expansion a fewyears ago; in a release, the combined company describes these as"tactical infrastructure enhancements that integrated essentialservice offerings in the United States and aligned with those ofColliers International offices globally." The company says itgenerates worldwide revenues of $1.9 billion annually.

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Jaccom is bullish on that global platform and on his company'sgrowth prospects in the current market. "At a time when ourcompetitors are cutting back and reducing headcount, we'reexpanding," he tells GlobeSt.com. He points out that the ColliersInternational umbrella also includes PGP Property Valuation, PKFHotel and Hospitality Consulting and MHPM Project Leaders, allacquisitions that Jaccom says expand the company's reach.

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The PGP, PKP and MHPM acquisitions occurred during an aggressiveexpansion into commercial real estate that began in 2004, withparent company FirstService becoming majority shareholder in whatwas then known as Colliers Macaulay Nicolls, the largest member ofthe Colliers network that began in 1976. The Toronto-basedFirstService then expanded globally with significant equityinterests in Colliers operations in the UK, Ireland, Spain, Russiaand several other countries in Western and Eastern Europe and AsiaPacific. It acquired what was then known as GVA Williams in2008.

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With the Jan. 4 announcement that FirstService REA and ColliersInternational were joining forces, FirstService REA increased itsownership of Colliers globally to about 70%, with local operatorsowning the balance of the equity. "The strategic integration of ourbusiness and service brands not only facilitates maximum servicelevels to our clients, but also helps us attract the best andbrightest in the industry--those who are entrepreneurial andclient-centric by nature and who seek opportunities that matchtheir industruy goals," Dylan Taylor, newly named president ofColliers International in the USA, said in a release announcing thecombination.

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Paul Bubny

Paul Bubny is managing editor of Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com. He has been reporting on business since 1988 and on commercial real estate since 2007. He is based at ALM Real Estate Media Group's offices in New York City.