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LONDON-There is a major crack down one of the pillars of the propertyprofession in the early 21st century.

On the subject “Businesses nolonger need to own and manage their own accommodation”, opinion remainsperfectly split among the property directors of companies in Britain. Thatwas the title of a debate on board the MV Arcadia, venue for the PropertyForum.

After an hour of debate, the audience of delegates voted 50:50for the motion.

Many of the arguments centred on whether propertycompanies should go to a one-stop-shop for property services, or whetherthey should pick-and-mix. The director of property for a large telecomscompany which went for the one-stop-shop option commented: “Having gonethough the process, we end up with something enormously complex thatrequires a lot of management time.”

What was universal was contempt forsale-and-leaseback deals. Even a banker said: “On the financial side, myexperience is that there was absolutely no meeting of minds between eitherside. We came away from the experience feeling that we had been used ascheap bridge finance. Once you get the deal signed, the two parties thenfall into their adversarial positions.”

Where there was agreement wasthat modern property portfolio management has become overcomplicated. Theproperty directors at the Property Forum agreed they were looking forgreater simplicity from the property solutions providers.

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