Mr. Mike Davis, Managing Director, Asia Pacific of Occupier Services of Colliers International Group shared his insights and industry trends with ASIA PACIFIC BUSINESS in a recent interview. Mike is currently responsible for growing Colliers’ Occupier Services business in Asia Pacific across Office, Data Centres and Industrial sectors. Mike collaborates with our experts to bring forward-looking guidance and insights to multi-national clients, helping companies maximise the potential of their property portfolios in Asia Pacific.
Mike is an established industry leader known for his distinguished approach to client service and ability to drive growth opportunities. He has 20 years of industry experience in global commercial real estate leadership roles, responsible for managing and developing teams across service lines including advisory and transaction services.
APAC BUSINESS: In your view, what are the top challenges you see the banking and finance industry face today? And what are some of the latest trends that you’ve been observing across markets that you’d like to highlight?
Mike Davis: Foundational shifts across the banking and finance sector are presently underway, with a transformative focus on digital, workforce and ESG priorities. Real estate portfolio performance is central to powering industry priorities.
Opportunities presented by optimised real estate portfolio performance are immense. It ensures cost effective and value-creating digital transformation; powers experience-led best in class workplaces for organisations to be the employer of choice; and propels real climate action.
Having invested significantly in technology, people and workplaces, banking and finance companies today find themselves at an inflection point. Customer expectations are evolving at speed. Digital transformation has reset workplace dynamics. Workforce needs and daily work patterns have changed. And now, the net zero urgency is real and immediate.
Today, as the banks and financial services firms rethink their future with Artificial Intelligence and next-gen technologies, integrating a diverse workforce with new ways of working, real estate plays a massive role in influencing positive business outcomes, and holds the key to powering the industry’s digital, workforce and ESG goals.
APAC BUSINESS: From a global perspective, the Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse crisis is still affecting the banking & finance Industry, so for the banks and financial institutions especially those in the Asia Pacific region, how to improve organizational efficiency and achieve sustainability by optimizing their office space?
Mike Davis: Particularly on the digital transformation journey. The physical office sets the ground for innovation and new technology adoptions – a critical imperative for players in the hyper-competitive banking and finance industry.
Offices provide an absolute opportunity to ensure customer experience along with employee satisfaction and productivity, collectively contributing to the overall business performance while also pivoting climate action goals.
Strategic alignment of the real estate portfolio with business strategy supports more informed decisions to optimise investments and opportunities and minimise risks while fuelling long-term success across chosen markets.
Hybrid or remote work is adding new dimensions to the location strategy, with portfolios expanding and diversifying to include ‘hub’ and digital campus-type delivery models, as more occupiers are now exploring suburban and peripheral locations.
There are massive shifts in the way office lease transactions are done today. For instance, more occupiers are exploring shorter lease terms and flexible space to drive efficiency and construct diversified portfolios that cater to different ways of working.
Many are repurposing space instead of space cuts to meet changing demands, and quality of space – particularly in terms of alignment with sustainability, DEI and wellness. Striking the right portfolio mix is an absolute must to capture these trends.
APAC BUSINESS: Asia Pacific market is big and diverse, Colliers has a strong footprint in this region, can you give a brief introduction about challenges and opportunities in main markets in APAC? Where do you see the greatest potential?
Mike Davis: It has been a challenging year for the global real estate market, and the Asia Pacific region has not been spared. The biggest challenge is the continued global economic uncertainty. China, in particular, has not seen the market recovery that was expected following the reopening from restrictive Covid policies.
Beijing and Shanghai are also facing a supply of new office space totaling nearly 25 million square feet which will further pressure rental rates downward for the next couple of years. This will create opportunities for occupiers to reduce occupancy costs.
India has been a bright spot for the Asia Pacific region. 2023 has shown a continuation from 2022 with the trend of significant gross absorption totaling 38 million square feet through September. Bangalore and the NCR region are driving demand which is being seen most in the tech sector, followed by flex space, engineering and manufacturing, and banking and financial services firms.
Unlike the pre-pandemic period that saw this growth driven by foreign firms, the current market is being driven by domestic companies across a more diverse industry-base. While the office market has seen 33 million square feet of new supply year to date, demand has kept up.
The rest of the APAC region is seeing a flight to quality amongst office tenants, and we are faring better than the rest of the world with return to office metrics.
APAC BUSINESS: Can you talk a little bit more about your occupier services and how you add value to your clients, any interesting stories?
Mike Davis: At Colliers, we are all about delivering solutions that make a difference for our clients’ businesses and people. A well thought out real estate strategy can elevate a brand, streamline its operations, support in attracting leading talent and make a meaningful impact on a business’ bottom line.
We examine the dynamics of industry, business and markets to align a real estate solution with our clients’ specific objectives. Our experts advise occupiers and apply specialized knowledge and agile service offerings to provide a competitive advantage.
Our Occupier Services business encompasses everything from Tenant Representation, Lease Administration, Portfolio Management, Transaction Management, Project Management and Facilities Management Advisory, to Flexible Workplace Consulting, Workplace Advisory and Wellness Consulting.
What sets us apart in the market isn’t what we do, but how we do it. Our teams are built on a strong culture of collaboration. We act quickly to create and seize opportunities, embracing change and thinking differently to generate new and better solutions for our clients. As a partner, we will
challenge clients to consider new ideas and, with our transparent approach, deliver trusted
Our unique technology offering is focused on fast and flexible delivery, bringing innovative tools that solve data access, integration and confidentiality challenges, delivering valuable data visualization through customized dashboards.
We are experts in a diverse and growing range of sectors, including banking and financial services, office, industrial and logistics, retail and consumer products, life sciences and healthcare, data centres and technology, government contracting and defence, manufacturing and distribution, media, professional services and utilities, energy and public sector.
APAC BUSINESS: Mike, you are an established industry leader with 20 years of experience in global commercial real estate sectors, please tell us more about yourself and your journey in the real estate industry, also like to hear more about your current role as a regional head. And what is the strategic significance of the Asia Pacific business for Colliers?
Mike Davis: I started my career as local office tenant representation broker in Dallas, Texas before eventually expanding my skillset to represent corporate clients at a regional and global level. About 10 years ago, I moved into the leadership side of the business, first on the service level side then in a market leader role.
I was ultimately attracted to the Colliers platform because of the decentralized nature of the company and the entrepreneurial spirit fostered by that model. As the APAC regional leader for our Occupier Services business, I am responsible for overall delivery and growth of the business across Asia Pacific. This includes both the execution of transactions at the local market level along with our Enterprise Clients business representing occupiers exclusively across Asia Pacific.
Asia Pacific is key to the Colliers Enterprise 25 business strategy, as we have been the fastest growing region yet still have so much room to continue to grow. We forecast continued growth across the region for the foreseeable future, and I’m excited to help our brokerage professionals across the region grow their careers while delivering exceptional results for our clients.