Insignia shifts European operations into high gear

Insignia is staging a major European invasion, vastly expanding its platform in Germany, Sweden and Denmark and going all out in Spain. An expansion into Central and Eastern Europe is the firmÂ's next move.

Thierry Bougeard, formerly vice president at Auguste Thouard, has been appointed head of a new Barcelona office and will run all transactional services throughout Spain. Christian Menasse will run the firmÂ's retail business in Madrid and Thierry Julienne will head investment, also in Madrid. Stephen Hubbard will act as chairman of Insignia in Spain.

In addition, Insignia has brought on board 18 employees from Arthur AndersenÂ's former Spanish property advisory team, all of whom will be based in the InsigniaÂ's Madrid office. Mikel Echavarren, formerly a partner at Andersen, has been appointed CEO and will head the consulting team. The groupÂ's hospitality team will be charged with expanding InsigniaÂ's presence in the European hotel and leisure markets.

Alan C. Froggatt, chief executive of Insignia in Europe, tells that the Spain initiative and the addition of the Andersen group are the most significant aspects of this phase of the firmÂ's European growth. 'The Andersen team deals with high-level strategy consulting, transaction management and corporate work,' Froggatt says. 'So, we will achieve a blend of advisory and transactional capability which reflects the way we are with our clients.'

Insignia has also formed an affiliation with Tufvesson & Partners, a niche institutional investment practice based in Sweden. The firm, which will operate out of Stockholm as Insignia Tufvesson, has immediate expansion plans in Sweden including the addition of tenant rep capabilities.

In Denmark, Insignia has formalized its relationship with Copenhagen-based Henrik Cederholm A/S. The two firms have collaborated over the last three years. The unitÂ's capabilities will include investment sales and acquisitions, agency leasing, lodging, development consulting and residential services.

'What we intend to do is to have strategic affiliates with good quality teams in the small economies of Europe,' Froggatt tells 'The Denmark and Sweden moves reflect that strategy.'

The firmÂ's strategy in Germany includes expanding its team in Frankfurt with the addition of Peter Pilz as chief executive in October. Pilz was formerly with fund managers Oppenheim and previously served as senior director at Jones Lang LaSalle in Germany for seven years. He will work with Peter Driessen, chairman of InsigniaÂ's Germany operations, on expanding the firmÂ's German presence. 'Our next move in the major economies is to find teams to represent us in other German cities beyond Frankfurt,' Froggatt tells, adding that target markets in Germany for the next 12 months include Düsseldorf, Berlin and Munich.

The firm will follow up these developments with 'strategic affiliates in Central and Eastern Europe,' Froggatt notes. 'Poland is a very important and growing economy,' he adds.

'WeÂ're finding the investment market for property is still very strong in all these countries,' Froggatt concludes. 'And whilst the occupancy market is still relatively weak, thereÂ's still a lot of advice needed by multinational corporations.'


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