Savills Recruits 3 Advisors, Opens 2 Offices

Savills, the London brokerage and advisory firm, is expanding its U.S. operation in anticipation of an influx of foreign investment capital.

The company has opened offices in Los Angeles and Washington to supplement its Manhattan outpost. And it has recruited three advisors who specialize in working with foreign investors. The executives — Robert Stamm, Joel Coren and Brandon McMenomy — previously worked on CB Richard Ellis' Global Property Advisors team.

In the U.S., Savills handles advisory assignments, brokers properties and arranges debt and equity. It expects an increase in foreign clients eager to invest in the U.S., partly because of this country's political stability and weak currency, which makes properties relatively cheap. “There are a significant number of foreign capital sources looking to invest in real estate in the United States,” said John Lyons, chief executive of Savills' U.S. division.

A recent survey by the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate found that foreign investors view the U.S. as having the most stable and secure properties, and also as having the best opportunities for capital appreciation. Another plus, said Lyons: the anticipated repeal of a 1981 law that imposed withholding taxes on property sales by foreigners.

The pool of prospective investors includes institutional buyers, sovereign wealth funds, property funds and wealthy individuals in European, Asian and Middle Eastern countries that have previously invested in the U.S., as well as new players from Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Israel.

While Savills has some 200 offices, mostly in Europe and Asia, until now its U.S. division worked out of a single office in Manhattan. Stamm and McMenomy are based in Los Angeles, while Coren is in Washington. Each has specialized in helping foreign investors find and oversee real estate investments.

Stamm and Coren, both managing directors, are leading Savills' cross-border advisory team, which also includes Guy Benn and Nataly Rothschild in New York. McMenomy, a director, is also on the team.

Stamm and Coren had led CB's global advisory team as senior directors since May 2007. Stamm previously was director of CB's investor advisory service in Germany, where he worked on large institutional portfolio transactions and joint ventures. He joined CB in 2002.

Coren joined CB in 2003 and initially worked out of London, where he was involved in large investment and development projects. He later worked in Washington and New York.

McMenomy was an associate director at CB, which he joined in 2005. He worked in New York and Washington to help develop the global advisory team's network of U.S. principals and brokerages.

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