Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.’s capital markets team in Montreal has suddenly resigned, leaving the commercial realtor just as the big-property market in Quebec heats up.
The five-person team, led by Scott Speirs, quit Friday and joined rival CBRE Group Inc. The exodus of brokers from JLL is taking place about seven years after the Chicago-based firm started beefing up its presence in Canada to compete with more established domestic realtors.
“This is actually the most significant strategic hire in Quebec within at least the last 20 years,” said Avi Krispine, CBRE Quebec’s managing director, who has worked in commercial property in the province for the past two decades.
Commercial real estate in the Montreal region has been booming along with the province’s economy. The volume of big-property transactions in the area reached $6.3-billion last year, compared with $3.5-billion five years earlier, according to CBRE data. Meanwhile, demand for employees has helped underpin increases in office rental rates and has spurred the development of new condos, offices and retail space.
The Montreal hires are significant because three of the five former JLL employees are deal-makers, Mr. Krispine said.
In addition to Mr. Speirs, CBRE also hired Maxime Foucaud, Guillaume Jacob, Christina Bachner and Jennifer Campagnolo. All either declined to comment or could not be reached for comment.
It is unknown whether JLL’s Quebec clients will follow Mr. Speirs and his team to CBRE. “As soon as they decided to leave, the client got a letter that says you can cancel, you can follow or you can stay with the agents you are with. That is unique to Quebec,” Mr. Krispine said.
Around the same time, JLL’s head of capital markets in Calgary also resigned. Peter Zorbas will be joining Bank of Nova Scotia’s real-estate investment banking team in March, where he will head the brokerage unit. The bank said it was “delighted to add property brokerage capabilities as an integral part” of its real estate business. Mr. Zorbas could not be reached for comment. JLL said his departure was owing to personal matters and said the firm was “actively working on finding a new lead” for its Calgary capital markets group.
The departures in Montreal and Calgary come shortly after JLL lost its capital markets leader in Vancouver. Jon Ramscar joined CBRE over the past few months and is a managing director in the firm’s Toronto office. Mr. Ramscar could not be reached for comment.
Since Friday’s resignations, JLL announced it had appointed one of its top performers, Mark Sinnett, to lead its capital markets team in Montreal. The firm said Mr. Sinnett’s appointment was a natural progression and a strategic decision.
JLL also recently lost its Canadian chief executive, Brett Miller, who left this month to lead privately held Quebec real estate firm Canderel Ltd.
Mr. Miller had said JLL’s goal was to become one of the top three firms in Canada in all real estate services, from leasing and project management to capital markets. The firm is currently searching for a new CEO.