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Real estate gender splits outdo TSX benchmark – REMI Network – Real Estate Management Industry Network

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Women are somewhat more conspicuous in commercial real estate’s executive suites and boardrooms than is the average for Canadian companies that disclose such information to regulators and unit/shareholders. A newly released report on diversity disclosure practices in public companies, from Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, draws findings from 629 companies that revealed the gender breakdowns of their boards and 575 companies that enumerated women executive officers as of July 31, 2021. Results show that women are gaining presence in these top echelons, but are still very much the minority.

“The Canadian public company boards continue to add more women directors at a steady pace. The rate at which women are being appointed this year reached its highest level yet, with women filling 39.1 per cent of the newly created or vacated board seats, a significant increase compared to a rate of 35 per cent last year,” observe the report’s authors, Andrew MacDougall, John Valley and Jennifer Jeffrey. “Women are making very little progress at the executive officer level. The proportion of women executive officers increased slightly to 18.2 per cent from 17 per cent last year, but is largely unchanged since 2015 (when it was 15 per cent), and only 10.7 per cent of TSX-listed companies have targets for women executive officers (largely unchanged from last year).”

This is the seventh year that TSX-listed companies have provided numbers aligned with the comply or explain rule. It requires venture issuers to report whether they have written policies, procedures and targets for bringing women onto boards and into executive officer roles or to explain why they do not.

Acute absence of visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities

Additionally, beginning in 2020, amendments to the Canada Business Corporation Act (CBCA) expanded the field of designated disclosers to cover all distributing corporations — i.e. to include those that trade on other exchanges inside or outside of Canada — with requirements for separate reports related to visible minorities, Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities. For the first seven months of this year, 318 companies offered data that indicates the modest to miniscule presence of these three additional groups within their top leadership.

Visible minorities filled 6.8 per cent of disclosed board positions, while Indigenous peoples and people with disabilities each accounted for 0.5 per cent. Visible minorities hold executive officer positions at 71 companies, while just eight companies count people with disabilities in their executive offices and a mere two companies have Indigenous executive officers.

The analysis reveals greater evidence of stated intent. More than one third of disclosing companies report that they have written policies committed to expanding the diversity of boards, while “a substantial portion” confirms that diversity is one of the decision-making factors for executive officer appointments. However, for now, companies are more likely to have stated policies pertaining only to women.

“In order to make progress on diversity beyond gender, public company boards will need to change their approach to the identification and appointment of directors from these designated groups,” MacDougall, Valley and Jeffrey conclude. “While we acknowledge that issuers must generally rely on executive officers to self-identify as being a member of any of the prescribed designated groups, the low numbers reflected above indicate that there is nonetheless significant room for improvement.”

Real estate makes relatively more space for women

Real estate ranks fourth among 13 identified sectors for the percentage of women holding executive officer positions. That’s pegged at an average of 2.06 women per disclosing real estate company or 24 per cent of executive officer positions versus an average of 1.69 women per company or 18.2 per cent of executive officer positions across all disclosing companies.

The report cautions that differing approaches to leadership structure and the size of executive ranks can skew sector-to-sector comparisons. “This explains why in the real estate industry, for example, the average number of executive officers is close to the overall average, but women represent a relatively high percentage of the executive officers,” it notes.

Accordingly, 3.19 female executive officers per company translates to 23 per cent of such roles in the financial services industry, while 1.72 female executive officers per company translates to 11 per cent of such positions in the energy services sector.

Real estate ranks fifth, tied with consumer products and services, for the 25 per cent female component of disclosing companies’ boards of directors. That breaks down to an average of 1.91 women directors per board. Meanwhile, women fill 22.1 per cent of board positions across all disclosing companies, equating to an average of 1.83 women per board.

Real estate companies are also highlighted in the report’s best practices section. Artis Real Estate Investment Trust, Dream Impact Trust and Dream Unlimited Corp. are among 10 companies cited for boards of directors with at least 50 per cent female representation.

Canadian Apartment Properties Real Estate Investment Trust (CAP REIT), Killam Apartment REIT, Timbercreek Financial Corp., MCAN Mortgage Corporation., Chartwell Retirement Residences, Melcor Developments Ltd., Melcor Real Estate Investment Trust and Dream Impact Trust are among 22 companies flagged for executive officer contingents of at least 50 per cent women.

Plodders don’t always explain lack of action

The percentage of public companies that lack diversity policies and practices continues to shrink, but remains a stubborn to sizeable fraction. As of mid-year 2021, about 67 per cent of disclosing companies have written policies specifically tied to identifying and nominating women board candidates and about 32 per cent have set targets for female board membership. Nearly 83 per cent of companies confirm they take female representation into account when identifying and appointing executive officers, but fewer than 11 per cent have set targets.

Despite the disclosure rule’s moniker, MacDougall, Valley and Jeffrey note that a significant minority of companies do not explain their inaction. For example, more than 40 of the 209 companies disclosing that they do not do not have written policies pertaining to the diversity of their boards were silent on the reasons.

Meanwhile, the majority that do not set targets for women on boards or in executive positions, most commonly cite misgivings about how targets could affect selection processes perceived to be based on merit. “Other reasons included the concerns that targets are ineffective and/or arbitrary or are inappropriate when considering the small number of directors on the board,” the report summarizes.

Generally, larger companies in the TSX-60 index appear to more proactively pursuing gender balance. For example, 98 per cent report at least two women on their boards and 31.5 per cent have at least five women directors. The number of women executive officers — an average of 3.3 per company, filling 21.6 per cent of disclosed executive officer positions — surpasses the overall average, while 20 per cent of TSX-60 companies have set targets for increasing women’s representation.

As with other environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives, MacDougall, Valley and Jeffrey hypothesize that institutional investors are helping to push the agenda forward.

“Only two companies in the S&P/TSX Composite Index that reported the number of women on their boards had all-male boards, perhaps reflecting a response to ISS’ (Institutional Shareholders Services) decision that, starting in 2022, it would recommend withhold votes on the chair of the nominating committee of such companies if women make up less than 30 per cent of the board and the board has not adopted a 30 per cent target,” they state.

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Biden Eyes Tighter Rules for Shell-Company Real Estate Purchases – BNN

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(Bloomberg) — The U.S. Treasury Department will begin developing regulations that could expand reporting requirements for all-cash real estate purchases as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to cut down on global corruption, according to two senior administration officials.

The new rule could force title insurance companies to turn over information about cash purchases funneled through shell companies in additional metropolitan areas, or implement new disclosures for commercial purchases in addition to residential sales, according to the officials, who requested anonymity to detail the effort before it’s formally announced.

The rule-making process is an outgrowth of a new strategy to counter corruption that the administration is expected to unveil on Monday ahead of President Joe Biden’s democracy summit this week. Federal departments and agencies are expected to unveil additional steps as part of the strategy, including the creation of senior anti-corruption jobs across federal departments. 

The Pentagon has committed to including risk analysis about possible corruption as it determines the distribution of security assistance to other nations, while other departments are expected to more heavily weigh the issue as they consider foreign humanitarian aide.

But the proposed real-estate rule may have the biggest domestic impact. Currently, title insurance companies are required to identify to the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network the persons behind shell companies used in all-cash purchases of residential real estate — but only on homes costing over $300,000, and only in a dozen metropolitan areas.

“Increasing transparency in the real estate sector will curb the ability of corrupt officials and criminals to launder the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains through the U.S. real estate market,” Himamauli Das, Acting Director of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, said in a statement. 

“Addressing this risk will strengthen U.S. national security and help protect the integrity of the U.S. financial system,” Das said.

Officials said the new rule could expand that reporting requirement beyond existing geographic areas — which include cities like New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco — to cover the entire U.S. The regulation could also be written to demand information about those using shell companies to buy commercial real estate. 

The goal, administration officials said, was to prevent those who obtained their money through corrupt or illicit acts from parking their gains in U.S. real estate, driving up prices for ordinary consumers. Still, the officials said, they want to develop the new regulations while minimizing the impact on the real estate sector as a whole.

Congress passed legislation this year requiring shell companies with 20 or fewer employees and less than $5 million in annual sales to report ownership information to the Treasury Department. The law has come under fire from small business advocates, who have said the expanded reporting requirements create additional legal costs. The law also includes carve-outs for larger corporations and certain charitable trusts.

The Biden administration is expected to formally unveil the beneficial ownership reporting requirements mandated under that legislation as part of a series of additional regulatory efforts and financial sanctions slated to be announced this week ahead of the democracy summit that begins on Thursday.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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Spotlight: A people-first approach to real estate – GuelphToday

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Real estate transactions are personal, emotional, and sometimes stressful experiences for many people—and what makes a great REALTOR® is their ability to competently guide clients through these momentous experiences.

REALTORS® are at their best when they’re out working with clients, not sorting through mountains of administrative tasks. 

For agents who are driven to provide a truly great experience for their clients, the right brokerage can act as a launching pad for successful transactions. Home Group Realty is equipped with an administrative and marketing team that offers responsive and encompassing service, in-house coaching programs, and a truly collaborative culture among team members.

In an environment like this, skilled agents can thrive and constantly grow. Unburdened by administrative work, their businesses run much more smoothly and they are free to spend more time with their clients. 

Home Group Realty, an independent brokerage in the Guelph Junction, is made up of 45 REALTORS® supported by six administrative staff. The tight-knit team are each specialized in their own departments—whether it be checking all the boxes for a last-minute listing, making sure deals are ready for closing day, or helping agents stay connected with their sphere, the team is poised to ensure a smooth experience from start to finish. Education is also a central part of the brokerage’s success—Broker of Record Paul Fitzpatrick provides 1-on-1 coaching to the team, as well as regular training sessions with industry experts and collaborative team meetings, which have proven to be crucial in the last several years, as we all faced both isolation and a rapidly-changing marketplace. 

A specialized staff like this is key, as marketing, admin and lead generation tasks typically take up about 60 to 75 percent of an agent’s time and energy, leaving little resources to actually work with clients.

“The bulk of most agents’ time is spent trying to find business and stay on top of all of their paperwork,” explains Fitzpatrick. “The way we’ve set our brokerage up, our admin people do the bulk of that work. We really try to take as much off their plate as possible so that they focus their time on taking care of their clients.”

When the brokerage first opened ten years ago, Fitzpatrick made several strategic decisions. He decided it was going to be a very open concept office. “We don’t have any private agent offices.

That’s on purpose, to create a collaborative environment,” he says. It was also important to him that they offered coaching. There are currently three mentors on his team—senior, very productive agents; they take new and new-to-the-brokerage agents under their wing and guide them through industry best practices.

Particularly in a fast market like the one we’re currently in, real estate marketing can feel a bit like the wild west; the Home Group team maintains a high bar for marketing their listings, even when sellers are on tight timelines. Their team knows that going the extra mile is always worth it, even in a hot seller’s market. They also pride themselves on providing ongoing education and resources, in the form of a weekly blog covering the ever-changing market, exclusive partnerships with local businesses and tradespeople, and even family-friendly community events.

“We’re big on coaching our team to look at everything as a relationship versus transactional,” he says. “Historically, most agents out there are independent contractors. They essentially work for themselves, but they work under a brokerage, whether it’s one of the franchise brands or an independent brokerage like ours.”

In most brokerages, agents are responsible for everything they have to do, whether it’s getting coaching, marketing materials, or customer relationship management software. Home Group Realty provides a set standard for all of those components, so their agents don’t have to keep reinventing the wheel.

Because most agents have to spend so much of their time hunting for business, doing administration and marketing, they tend to become general practitioners—and they can lose sight of the importance of the interpersonal aspect of the work. 

“We’ve been coaching our agents that if you’re doing business in a relationship manner, it’s easier to maintain those relationships and grow your business. Business will find you organically; your clients will want to refer the people in their lives to you, because they’ve had such a positive experience dealing with you. The referral business that comes to them is more consistent and allows them to be more productive,” he says. So rather than having agents focus on lead generation, instead they focus on staying in touch with past clients and contacts.

Fitzpatrick would know. He has been in real estate for 35 years—25 of them with a franchise. The brokerage he’s built has a smaller group of agents that are more productive.

“That’s the approach we’ve taken. We don’t want to be the biggest brokerage in terms of headcount. Our goal is to have the most effective and service-oriented agents in the marketplace,” he says.

He worries about the commodification of real estate. Just because most people know at least one REALTOR®, it doesn’t mean they’re all the same and provide the same service.

“If there was one thing I could educate consumers about, it is that they have a responsibility to interview and find the agent that works best for them, because we’re not all the same. Agents offer different levels of service, experience, and qualifications. It’s the same with brokerages,” says Fitzpatrick. “We’re a full-service brokerage and we feel that we offer a consistently higher level of experience for the agents and the clients who choose to work with us.”

Most people move every five to seven years, and the market changes considerably in that timeframe. Even in today’s market, there’s a lot of education that needs to happen with clients before they begin the process of buying or selling. The Home Group team excel at this piece: educating clients on the market, what’s happening with it currently and where they see it going, as well as explaining how the whole process works. 

A real estate transaction is ranked right up there in terms of the top five stressful life events. Says Fitzpatrick, “We make sure that we make a real estate purchase or sale not just frictionless, but actually enjoyable.”

For more information, visit Home Group Realty or call 226-780-0202.

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Save Max International Announces Commercial Real Estate Division – Financial Post

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TORONTO, Dec. 05, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — By thinking “Outside the Box”‘ SAVE MAX INTERNATIONAL has garnered Seven Billion ($7,000,000,000) Dollars in transaction volume during its 11-year history. The Save Max Brand is serviced by a team of 550+ Realtors® plus intricately joined through a Franchise network of over 50+ offices across Canada and India.

Our Investors have been looking to Save Max International management to actively strengthen their financial portfolios through investing in the Commercial Real Estate sector.

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Save Max International has responded to this ‘Call to Action’ by establishing a dedicated Commercial Real Estate Division. This Division will be headed by Mr. Lawrence Taylor, an experienced Commercial Real Estate Broker with over 35-years of first-hand commercial real estate experience covering a wide array of commercial property situations such as Industrial; Office; Retail/ Store-Front Retail Franchise; Mixed-Use and Single-Use Office Buildings; Multi-residential Investment; Waterfront Properties; and Vacant Land.

Mr. Taylor said that he will be focusing on strengthening Save Max client’s investment portfolios by bringing ‘properties of interest’ that targets the strategic growth of the clients’ portfolio.

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Mr. Raman Dua, the CEO, Save Max International said, “The time is right to launch the Save Max Commercial Division and segue into the Canadian commercial real estate market. What we’ve seen in the last seven years is incredible growth in the Residential Market and Investors would like to diversify their Real Estate Portfolios and add Commercial Properties and Businesses to strengthen their portfolios by having support from a team of professional and experienced commercial Realtors® who are backed by a Strong Real Estate Platform.”

Save Max Commercial as it is to be called, promises to be one of Canada’s largest dedicated commercial divisions servicing the potential investors and members of the business community wanting to seize the opportunity to Buy, Sell, and/or Invest in Commercial Real Estate using a Strong and Experienced Dedicated Team of commercial practitioners who service this specialized client base through the Save Max Franchisee network.

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“We at Save Max are convinced that the positive turn in the economic cycle will be Supportive of our belief to capture significant market share in the under-serviced Canadian Commercial Real Estate industry,” mentioned Mr. Dua in his interview with the media.

About Save Max:

Save Max is one of the fastest growing companies and opened its first real estate office in Brampton in 2010. From making history in the field of real estate by achieving $100 million sales volume within 16 months of inception to achieving  +$7 billion sales volume until today, Save Max has always strived to stay true to its beliefs to deliver an exceptional real estate experience to all its valued clients.

Save Max has had the opportunity to serve its clients and provide incomparable real estate services for past 11 years with a strong & Professional Team of 550+ Realtors® and will keep doing the same in the future.

MEDIA CONTACTS
Loveleen Dhiman
Director of Marketing, Save Max Real Estate
905.459.7900 Ext.122 | loveleen@savemax.com

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