We are going to be very clear about our value proposition to the marketplace.
GlobeSt.com ATLANTA—Last month, Trimont Real Estate Advisors, with more than $99 billion of client assets under management in the US and Europe, announced a corporate reorganization intended to emphasize its core competencies. CEO Brian Ward tells GlobeSt.com the move comes in response to a growing demand for specialized solutions to increasingly complex transactional needs. Complex transactions are a Trimont specialty, but a complex platform, as Trimont had become, was a prime candidate for streamlining.
“What we wanted to do was take what was once 24 separate service lines and boil them into a very clear, very consise strategy that was not only easy to execute but also for people understand internally and externally,” says Ward, who joined Trimont as CEO this past January, a few months after its acquisition by Minneapolis-based Varde Partners. In his first few months with Trimont, “I found that we had clients who didn’t really understand what we did—our capabilities, the depth and breadth of our services. In fact, we had sort of lost our value proposition to the marketplace. So what I’m trying to do is take our message back and build a very clear business model that was built for success through this next part of the real estate cycle.”
The Atlanta-based firm’s core services are now organized under six headings: special asset management, primary asset management, core servicing, construction administration, bond administration and due diligence. It’s the world’s largest S&P-, Fitch- and Kroll Bond Rating Agency-rated construction loan administrator, Ward says. Trimont also provides third party accounting and information management services, as well as CMBS trust advisory services.
In the services business, everybody is “chasing after the next shiny thing—that next business that they can bolt on or somehow cobble together to create even more services,” Ward says. “What we decided to do instead was to take a hard look at what we’re really good at, as well as those businesses that don’t play to our strengths and value proposition in the marketplace. We see ourselves as the high-touch, high-expertise, complex transaction solutions provider when it comes to asset management, servicing and due diligence.”
The reorganization, he says, was intended “to play to our core strengths and not be distracted by all the other stuff going on out there. And while we’re certainly conscious of being in a commodity-priced type of business, we’re not going to chase the lowest common denominator. We are going to be very clear about our value proposition to the marketplace, and we’re going to do a better job of explaining to our clients why we cost more, and then showing them the value that they get from paying more as a result of our service.”
To that end, Trimont is focused on “mastery development, and making sure our teams are really clear on how we’re trying to improve the skills and services that we provide our clients.” Ward cites Trimont University, a training program launched in cooperation with New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, as an example of the new approach.
The idea behind the reorganization, says Ward, was “to get simple, get clear and have a repeatable, scalable business model. That’s our thesis for going forward; that’s how we think we excel when times get tough in this market.”
Another area in which Trimont distinguishes itself, Ward says, is in being “totally independent and non-conflicted in the services that we provide. One hundred percent of our competitors have proprietary capital capabilities: they offer their own debt, they’re involved in B-piece acquisitions and so on. Trimont does none of that. It’s hard not to do it when everyone else does. But we think as things start to get gnarly, being disciplined and non-conflicted really matters. And I’ve been around in this business long enough to know that things will get gnarly again.”
About Trimont Real Estate Advisors
Trimont Real Estate Advisors (trimontrea.com) is a real estate financial services provider with more than $130 billion of client assets under management, providing services to commercial lenders and investors since 1988. Trimont is the leading provider of asset management, servicing, due diligence and advisory solutions to commercial real estate clients around the world. The firm has approximately 230 employees among six offices in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, London, Los Angeles and New York. From these offices, Trimont has managed more than 22,000 assets and provided services to clients in 64 countries.
Trimont is a highly rated primary, special, and construction servicer, with particular expertise in repositioning and development deals. Trimont is rated by Standard & Poor's as a Commercial Mortgage Special Servicer (Strong) a Construction Loan Servicer (Strong), and Commercial Primary Servicer (Above Average). It is rated by Fitch as a Primary Servicer (CPS2+) and a Special Servicer (CSS2), and by Kroll Bond Ratings, Inc.