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DALLAS-A recent survey of dozens of brokers around the country shows that smallfirms are doing better than expected in the last two years of a tougheconomy.According to TCN Worldwide of Dallas, which heads a group of independentbrokers in many states, the survey shows that most local and regional firmsreported growth in recent months, and expect to be growing even more by nextyear.

Company President H. Ross Ford said many in commercial real estate expectednational firms to enter markets and take over, leaving smaller brokerages towither.Just the opposite has happened, Ford said, according to the recentmembership survey.

“We conducted the survey during our spring conference in Chicago,” Ford toldGlobeSt.com. “They all said they’ve seen a growth in market share in thelast year, and that they’re doing quite well. They also said they’re lookingto add brokers and support staff.”

Specifically, results from the company’s poll of its principals concluded:

• Approximately 90% of its firms plan to add brokers to their rosters overthe next six months and 100% have already hired new team members in the pastsix months.

• Nearly half of the firms will add additional support staff in the next sixmonths and approximately 75% plan to do so in 2004 and 2005.

• Regarding changes in market share, 72% of the participants stated thattheir firm had grown in the past year. Others reported that market share hadremained constant and only one firm reported a slight decline.

• All of the membership reported that they were profitable last year andforesee the same for the coming year.

“It was supposed to be, at least the line was, that the local and regionalfirms would be forced out because of the costs of technology and research,”Ford said.Instead, it’s been the opposite, he noted.

Technology costs went downsignificantly, he said, and national firm consolidations left local firms ina better position to provide personalized solutions to customers.”Instead of raising barriers to entry to specific deals and markets, thebarriers were lowered, allowing more smaller firms to open shop,” Ford said.

Formed in 1989, TCN Worldwide is comprised of 42 independent commercial real estate service firms in more than 200 markets worldwide with over 1,200brokers and salespeople in both primary and secondary markets throughout theworld.

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