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Annual Letter to Shareholders

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At Colliers, we are always at the forefront of our industry, backed by an exceptional record of success.

As one of the world’s leading diversified professional services and investment management firms, we are building for our future – and that of our clients and investors – one step at a time! 

In 2020, Colliers delivered strong financial results, despite the impact of the global pandemic. Our remarkable performance is a testament to our enterprising culture and the bold steps we have taken over the past four years to transform Colliers into a more balanced and resilient firm. We continue to build our business faster than others by augmenting internal growth with strategic acquisitions that increase market share, expand service offerings and extend our geographic reach for the benefit of our clients. Last year was no different as our unique, decentralized operating model undoubtedly allowed us to respond to challenges and seize opportunities faster than most.

In fact, we completed two of the largest acquisitions in our history, both of which are outperforming our expectations. The addition of these new services, now branded Colliers Mortgage and Colliers Engineering & Design, represent another important step in our strategy to add more highly valued, essential services to further diversify our business. Our high-quality, recurring services like Investment Management, Property and Project Management, Engineering & Design and Mortgage Servicing, now represent more than 50% of our revenues and more than 60% of our adjusted EBITDA.

The balance comes from transactional services, leasing and capital markets. While volumes in these areas were down somewhat, it is reassuring to see their resilience despite the challenges of the past year. It is important to remember that while these services may be delayed at times, they will continue to be essential to owners and occupiers of property around the world. Colliers benefits from being diversified by geography, service and asset class, which adds to our stability as market conditions may vary around the world.

Together with our competitive advantages, proven 26-year track record, strong balance sheet and significant inside ownership, we are confident that Colliers will emerge from this pandemic stronger and more balanced than ever.
 
2020 Highlights
Increased assets under management Key acquisitions
Our investment management business now accounts for 18% of our adjusted EBITDA. Comprised of two platforms – Harrison Street and Colliers Global Investors – we continue to add significant and enduring value to Colliers, with $40 billion of assets under management, up 20 per cent from last year. We completed four acquisitions and one green-field start-up, including Colliers Mortgage, a specialty real estate debt finance business primarily for multifamily, healthcare and senior housing real estate; and, Colliers Engineering & Design, a trusted provider of best-in-class, multi-discipline engineering, design and consulting services.

Our success is made possible by our 15,000 people around the world who dedicated their efforts to the business in a challenging year. As always, our people are our most important assets, and we continue to safeguard their health and wellness. Early in the pandemic, we responded swiftly to focus on safety, business continuity, people engagement and support. We were able to seamlessly transition our people to remote working environments, and as an essential service in many countries, we kept our offices open safely and in accordance with local regulations. I am deeply grateful for the commitment and enterprising spirit shown by our people all through the year.

In addition to health and safety, the pandemic has shed an important light on topics related to the environment and society. As leaders in our industry, we recognize the importance of driving positive impact and are committed to fostering Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) strategies that will align our business to maximize our positive impact. We are addressing this in 2021 by publishing our first global Impact Report, followed by the establishment of a strong impact position, strategy and targets to ensure that ESG is an integral part of how we  do business.

Also core to our business are technologies that deliver the best service and expertise to our clients. In 2020, we engaged leaders across our business to focus our approach to technology investments and shape our innovation roadmap to meet the needs of our clients and our people. As part of this, we continue to work with our Colliers Proptech Accelerator companies. In 2020, we partnered to develop virtual solutions that help navigate the impacts of COVID-19, including artificial intelligence, virtual office tours and workplace analytics to give our people and clients a competitive advantage.

Our highly recognized global brand and platform continues to be one of our competitive advantages. We have worked very hard to build the Colliers brand into what it is today: an undisputed global leader in professional services and investment management. This February, we launched the new Colliers visual identity, which is designed for today’s evolving digital era. It is a natural evolution of the iconic Colliers brand and reaffirms our commitment to accelerating success and leading our company and industry into the future.

Recognizing the powerful role that our people and brand play across the organization, we were proud to announce Becky Finley’s promotion to the newly created role of Global Chief Brand and People Officer. This is a testament to her many accomplishments with Colliers and I am confident she will continue to differentiate Colliers and strengthen our brand and people services worldwide in the years to come.

We were also pleased to appoint Jane Gavan to our Board of Directors in 2020. Bringing more than 30 years of experience in the real estate industry in North America and Europe, Jane is a distinguished leader with deep knowledge and global perspective on the industry and will help us advance our strategy and enhance shareholder value for years to come.

I am incredibly proud of our achievements this year and deeply thankful to our business leaders and professionals for their enterprising spirit and their dedication to our company values. As we continue to build our business in the future, I am confident we will emerge from the pandemic stronger than before. Together, we take pride in building a global, diversified professional service and investment management company that will continue to grow from strength to strength.

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Jay S. Hennick
Global Chairman & CEO

Download the 2020 annual report