Opteon wins big in the first National Excellence in Property Awards

International valuation company Opteon has taken out three honours in the Australian Property Institutes’(API) first National Excellence in Property Awards.

Held Friday evening in Melbourne, the Awards recognise innovation and outstanding achievement across all sectors of the property industry, nationally for the first time.

Opteon Chief Executive Officer, Chris Knight brought home the Property Industry Award, while Associate Director, Western Australia Claire Robinson won the Young Achiever of the Year award, and Regional Manager – Southern Victoria, Maria Berto received a commendation also in the Young Achiever category.

Mr. Knight said the recognition of Opteon’s young professionals was particularly gratifying, and highlighted the depth of talent across the whole organisation.

“The Young Achiever of the Year award celebrates an individual that has achieved an outstanding performance in the property industry, and it’s extremely rewarding to see Claire Robinson recognised for her contribution to Opteon and the wider property industry.

“I’m also pleased to see Opteon’s young professionals further recognised by the API with a commendation for Maria Berto.  As a leader, it’s personally rewarding to see your team excel at their work day in and day out, however, it’s a wonderful bonus to see industry also recognise their hard work and drive in this way.”, Mr. Knight said.

Mr. Knight’s leadership was acknowledged by the API, with the announcement of his Property Industry Award win.

Chris Knight accepting the API Property Industry Award

Chris Knight accepting the API Property Industry Award

This award commends the individual that demonstrates exemplary leadership and vision, leading to change in the property industry.

“Receiving the first national Property Industry Award is a true honour, and I thank the API for their recognition of Opteon as an industry leader, and their continued commitment to promoting excellence in the property industry.” Mr. Knight said.

API recognises Opteon with three finalists in the National Excellence in Property Awards

International valuation company Opteon has been recognised by the Australian Property Institute, with three finalists in the first National Excellence in Property Awards.

The Awards celebrate outstanding achievement across the national property industry, with entries open to individuals, groups and sector projects.

Among the 2017 shortlist are Opteon Chief Executive Officer, Chris Knight for the Property Industry Award and Regional Manager – Southern Victoria, Maria Berto, and Associate Director, Western Australia Claire Robinson in the Young Achiever of the Year category.

Commenting on the awards, Mr. Knight said while it was a career highlight to be personally recognised, industry acknowledgement in the Young Achiever of the Year category was a true honour.

“To be shortlisted in these categories not only reinforces Opteon’s industry leadership position, but illustrates the depth of talent in our organisation, and the dedication all our people bring to work each day.

“Congratulations to Ms. Berto and Ms. Robinson on becoming finalists in the 2017 National Property Excellence Awards. It’s brilliant to see their drive, vision, and work ethic celebrated in this way and I wish them luck on the big night.

“I also thank the Australian Property Institute for my place on the shortlist, and their continued support of the industry at large.”, Mr. Knight said.

Winners of the National Excellence in Property Awards will be announced on 6 October 2017, as part of the Gala Dinner and Awards Presentation at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne.

Opteon appoints David Rose as Chief Information Officer

Chris Knight and David Rose
Pictured: Chris Knight CEO and David Rose CIO

International valuation company Opteon has appointed experienced executive David Rose to the newly created role of Chief Information Officer (CIO).  Reporting to chief executive officer Chris Knight, Mr. Rose will be a part of the Executive Leadership Team.

Mr. Rose’s appointment comes after more than 20 years in leadership and management roles in both public and private sectors with his most recent position as CIO at Watpac Ltd. Working across multiple sectors and segments, he has held senior management roles for Macarthur Coal, Optus and Suncorp.

His appointment signaled an intention for Opteon to invest in an aggressive growth strategy for technology revenue and be a market leader for innovation in the property sector.

Commenting on Mr. Roses’ appointment, Mr. Knight said the creation of the CIO role will support the company’s five year strategy to diversify the business with organic growth and acquisitions of property services businesses, and to expand the global footprint.

“Opteon is a progressive professional services firm with an exciting strategy and trajectory.  We know that the valuation and property industry is being disrupted, and we want to create business solutions for our clients who are all looking for smarter and faster solutions” commented Mr. Knight.

“What Mr. Rose will bring to the role is to work with the team to create significant scale in providing our clients with access to more data rich and cost-efficient valuation products and services.

Commenting on what attracted him to the role Mr. Rose said “Opteon represented a great opportunity to be a pivotal part of a growing, ambitious and progressively led organisation looking for transformational change.  From a foundation built on industry-leading products and services, the chance to lead further technological innovation nationally and internationally was a significant drawcard.  An unwavering focus on our customers was also an important influence and I look forward to working with the team to achieve even more.”

Opteon recently entered the New Zealand market having acquired Landmass Technology in 2015, and forming a partnership with New Zealand’s largest privately owned valuation company, Sheldon & Partners Limited. Opteon launched both companies under the Opteon brand earlier this month and as Opteon, they have now become New Zealand’s largest property valuation company by revenue.

Opteon are experiencing a strong period of growth and will be recruiting more newly formed executive roles in the coming months.

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API Opteon Commercial Market Outlook

Is it worth the investment

Key dynamics of Australia’s commercial property market will be tied to interest rates movements from the second half of 2017, according to the Australian Property Institute – Opteon Commercial Market Outlook report.

 

 

Opteon Associate Director – Commercial and API Spokesperson, Nick O’Brien said that the increments of any increases would dictate the quantum of the property market adjustment.

“If it’s gradual then it should be managed, but if there is a succession of quick increases then it could be a concern,” he said.

“An upward movement in the cash rate would translate into a general readjustment through the property market – no sector would be unscathed.”

O’Brien said it would create an increasing debt service rate and cause a repricing of assets, and the equity wedge the investor had will be squeezed from two directions – the higher debt servicing and the price readjustment, which would in turn put pressure on rental growth to make up part of that gulf.”

He said initial movement would be in the development sector, including vacant land, and felt by those investors who have acquired commercial properties at low yields of sub-4%, which we are translating as surrogate yields for underlying development sites.

“They are last to move in a rising market and first to fall in a market downturn. Development properties with some form of improvements, previously considered an underutilisation of the site in the hotter market, at least have a contingency income potential, whereby they can be ‘parked’ with some form of holding income and a tenant paying the rates and utilities, and in some cases the land tax,” he said.

“Since the GFC, we’ve had an influx of offshore investment, and we’ve also had the ever-growing superannuation base – both categories trying to find a home for their money as equities are no longer delivering the returns, nor are the bank deposit rates.”

He said the result has been marked decrease in yields – inner-CBD areas are seeing retail shop and dwelling premises consistently selling at yields of 3% to 3.5% – large growth in prices, and a growing disconnect between the yield and rental rates for these properties.

“That disconnect is a bit of a concern, because the rental growth isn’t the same rate as the growth in capital value. The inference is that there is an underlying development value that’s growing behind the scenes.”

“The climate of low interest rates is far more dangerous than high interest rates.  Every incremental upward increase to the cash rate is magnified, coming off a low base.”

“It would be unlikely that the income returns would be an appropriate rate of return for the asset base, which value we would expect to also adjust downwards with increasing financing costs.

Owners that had taken high loan-to-value ratios at the onset, would be at a heightened risk of asset repricing that would cause them to go into LV breach, meaning their loan-to-value ratio will exceed the bank’s agreed rate, and they will be called upon to tip in more equity, or tip out of the property.

“One logical interpretation is that in a down turning market caused by increasing interest rates, disposable income will be reduced, dragging down discretionary spending. Sectors feeding off discretionary spending will feel the full effect, i.e. retailing and bulky goods retail, which generally align with a prosperous economy and property market.”

The owner-occupier market, which is strong at in the sub-$1 million range, would also be impacted with higher debt servicing costs.

“If the rise were significant we should see a corresponding improve in leasing activity – it has always been a seesaw relationship.”

He said there would be a return to property fundamentals, with assets with secure leases weathering the period more strongly.

“At the onset of the market rise, investment properties with strong lease covenants and long lease terms realised a noticeably sharper yield differential, which broadly ranged from 100 to 200 basis points. However, as the market activity intensified and competition for that product increased, some investors dropped their buying parameters and whereas those yield premiums reflected 7-to-10 year lease terms, 5-year terms became the new norm and in the later stages of this current cycle some investors are now gambling on shorter terms,” he said.

Properties with long leases will be better equipped to handle a transitioning property cycle. One of the categories with typically longer-term leases is that of childcare, which O’Brien said has been a perplexing sector of the market, particularly in the later stages.

“As an investment medium it offers long-term leases, often from 10 to 15 years, with CPI or fixed annual increases, and with several listed tenancies. The yields in that sector have plummeted to levels of 5%, and in some cases less, from the traditional 8% to 9% in 2010-2011. Investors have scrambled for these assets and developers have focused on that sector uptake,” he said.

“There is a real disconnect developing in this sector, and a proliferation of developments to the point that some localities are being saturated and over developed. We have been seeing 30%-plus profit margins in the development of these facilities i.e. where the sales of the finished products are yielding 30%-plus profit on the total cost base. In one case in the outer western metropolitan area a new facility sold for around $6 million, on a cost base of circa $3 million. That profit margin has been the catalyst for the overheated development frenzy of childcare. It will self-regulate soon, because we are seeing these new centres failing to reach appropriate occupancy thresholds to justify their business models.

“There is a lag effect but it will come to the fore in time.”

Opteon launches in New Zealand – set to become largest property valuation company by revenue

International property valuation company, Opteon, has today signaled an intention to play a lead role in consolidating New Zealand’s $100 million property valuation market – with a five year strategy underway, using a mixture of organic growth, acquisitions of and partnerships with local valuation businesses.

Following the company’s acquisition of Landmass Technology in 2015, Opteon last year entered into a formal partnership with New Zealand’s largest privately owned valuation company, Sheldon & Partners Limited.

Opteon today confirms it has now acquired a substantial stake in Sheldon & Partners, this week launching both companies under the Opteon brand to become New Zealand’s largest property valuation company by revenue.

Opteon’s Director of Operations in New Zealand, Derek Smith, said: “The two investments to date represent our first steps toward creating significant scale in delivering faster and smarter solutions for clients.

“We have brought together their respective operating and management strengths to deliver clients access to more data rich and cost-efficient valuation products and services, including Opteon’s award winning Cubetec platform.

“We are now operating a very client-first philosophy that our people, clients and suppliers are responding well to. The changes have also created development opportunities for our people, and it is exciting to see a lot of careful planning coming together,” Mr Smith said.

Opteon’s Australian based Chief Executive Officer, Chris Knight, says: “We are motivated and energised to be expanding into New Zealand. We can see a number of attractive investment opportunities – our approach is to build partnerships where both culturally and professionally there is a natural fit for Opteon.

“Sheldons and Landmass are both good examples of this – they are market leaders here, and the rebrand to Opteon will strengthen our partnership moving forward.

“The strength of the New Zealand market presents a great opportunity to further develop best valuation practices across the business, enabling Opteon to diversify and grow our property services and technology revenues.

“The changes we are introducing here are also consistent with emerging dynamics within the Australian property valuation market. Our plan is to get out in front of changing client needs, and the feedback we are receiving indicates we are absolutely on the right path here,” Mr Knight says.

 

Opteon Strengthens Brand

Opteon Re-Brand 2017

Opteon has today launched a refresh of the Opteon brand to become “Opteon”.

The Opteon board and executive team are committed to delivering strategic business solutions for our clients, and so to successfully integrate the business strategy, the team requires flexibility with the brand to remove ‘Property Group.’

Chief executive officer Chris Knight said that “ the refreshed brand position will enable Opteon to reach for new opportunities as outlined in our strategic plan in a more simple and streamlined manner, whilst continuing to seek to provide greater service propositions to our existing clients and markets. We are very excited about promoting a solutions mindset in everything we do, to unlock greater opportunities for our clients and our people”

The Opteon brand refresh is the key to delivering the company Vision 2021, and to unlock innovative products and services to be the preferred strategic business partner for our clients.”

Opteon (Victoria) announces retirement of Alison McLeod

After 16 years as a partner, Opteon (Victoria) announces the retirement of Alison McLeod from the practice.

Alison has been instrumental in the formation and growth of Opteon (Victoria), from the establishment in 2000 of a country valuation and advisory practice servicing Western Victoria, through business mergers with similar practices. Her most recent role has been as Technical Policy and Risk Manager.

When asked about her achievements over the journey Alison said “It has been a pleasure to be part of the formation and establishment of Opteon (Victoria) and I thank all those who have worked together on the journey. I have been able to combine my commitment to the provision of a quality valuation product and risk mitigation for our business and clients, together with the development of valuers in the early stages of their careers.” Chris Knight Opteon CEO said “I take this opportunity to personally thank Alison for her commitment over the 16 years. Alison combined her commitment to technical excellence, quality, attention to detail and passion for property to drive continuous improvement throughout our business.  On behalf of the management and staff we wish her well in her future endeavours.” When asked about her motivation for retiring from Opteon (Victoria) Alison advised she will be taking up a “lifestyle change which will enable her to focus on her specific property interests.”

Her plans (after a well-deserved break) include pursuing her interests in the affordable housing sector and the development of public policy leading to improved social housing outcomes. Alison can be contacted via LinkedIn.

Alison Mcleod

Pictured: Alison Mcleod

Media Enquiries directly to Alison on 0408 300 746.

Opteon CEO Leads Group to Business Merger

Opteon chief executive officer Chris Knight has successfully led the Opteon group of companies to form a new integrated business model with agreements completed on February 28, 2017. This is a significant achievement for the group of Opteon companies who have been working towards this for some years in an industry that has seen amalgamation over recent times with more to follow.

“These changes are made with our clients front of mind to assist our company to meet the demands of current and future business environments. It will enable us to provide more streamlined and consistent outcomes for our clients, culminating in the successful delivery of the Opteon Vision” said Chris Knight.

Speaking in Sydney today Knight added “Structurally, our new business model positions us extremely well for a more holistic and dynamic future; and positions the Opteon brand well to evolve to greater recognition in providing cost efficient services and innovative products for our clients. We have advised our clients they will be working with one group and their response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The new Opteon business model consists of companies merged into a single business entity with others having agreed upon terms of a new franchise agreement. There has been unanimous support to move the business forward from all stakeholders so that Opteon is well poised to take the group forward with confidence. Chairman Michael Renshaw has bolstered the skills and experience of the Opteon board by adding new independent members to ensure that the board has the experience to advise on governance, growth and M&A transactions.

Knight has created a senior management team to support the new business structure for growth and client delivery across the banking sector, and across all business verticals that require valuation and property advisory services. Opteon will make key senior appointments in the coming months that will include a Chief Information Officer, Head of Residential and Head of Commercial.

With the merger now completed, Opteon is focused on business growth to expand the business to become a data driven company and provide software solutions to its clients including the residential, commercial and government sectors. M&A activity will continue to focus on property services businesses that will align with the existing operations. More recently Opteon have acquired two New Zealand businesses Landmass and Sheldons, and discussions with further potential target partner companies are already underway.

International Valuation Standards Board Appoint Opteon’s Phil Western

Phil Western - appointed to Board of the International Valuation Standards Council

Opteon National Government and Asset Services Manager, Phil Western, has been appointed to the Board of the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC).

The IVSC is a globally recognised independent organisation that produces and implements universally accepted standards for the valuation of assets across the world.  The IVSC consists of representatives from a wide range of sectors, including professional valuation institutes, global accounting firms, valuation practioners, standard setters, regulators and academia.

Western was nominated by the Australian Property Institute (API) for a three year term to the newly constituted Membership and Standards Recognition Board. The role of the Board is central to the recognition of International Valuation Standards (IVS) throughout the world and will play a key role in providing insight and strategic leadership in developing and helping implement a strategy for the recognition of IVS worldwide. There are eight international Board members with representatives from China, Japan, Britain, Canada, Singapore, Romania, Netherlands and Australia.

“My appointment coincides perfectly with Opteon’s Vision 2021 strategy for international growth and will provide significant exposure for the Opteon brand and the development of international opportunities.” He said. “I look forward to working closely with the Board to develop strategies to ensure that IVS provide the foundation, consistency and a quality approach to all valuations undertaken globally, regardless of category.”

Phil Western

Opteon appoints Chris Knight as CEO

Chris Knight - Opteon CEO

The Opteon Board, is pleased to confirm the appointment of Mr Christopher (Chris) Knight as Chief Executive Officer of the Group.

Chris will transition from his current role as Managing Director of Opteon Victoria, taking the helm at Opteon from 11 July. Chris led a major transformation of culture and performance in Opteon’s largest business, Opteon Victoria, over the past five years. This resulted in substantial revenue and earnings growth, and a material expansion of shareholder value.

Chris first joined Opteon prior to the merger of Landlink and Market Line, before being appointed as the Residential Director and Operations Manager of Opteon Victoria. He has extensive property industry experience encompassing both real estate and valuations as well as qualifications in Accounting, Real Estate, Valuations, a Master of Business majoring in Property. He is a member of the Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a Certified Property Valuer with the Australian Property Institute.

Opteon is one of Australia’s leading providers of property and valuation services with 800 employees across a national footprint of 75 locations, and current annual revenue exceeding $115m.  Chairman, Michael Renshaw said, “Opteon has an ambitious vision and growth agenda and the Board has appointed a CEO with the proven ability to drive business performance through strategic planning and delivery.”

“Chris’ experience clearly aligns with our strategic goals; specifically, in the areas of organic growth, mergers and acquisitions, and international expansion.  He also brings a commitment to innovation through technology and diversification of business lines, key levers that will stimulate and create growth in the context of our business, its industry, Australia and internationally.”

Chris Knight’s first order of business as Opteon CEO will be stakeholder consultation as he builds a robust strategic plan to realise Opteon’s vision.

CEO, Chris Knight said, “In coming weeks, I’m looking forward to meeting with shareholders, our clients, and our team. It’s insights from these meetings, and ongoing collaboration that will facilitate delivery of our plans for international expansion, business line diversification and innovation through technology. I’m honoured to be taking the helm at such an exciting time.”

The Board would like to commend and thank Natalie Fairlie, for her exemplary performance and support in the role of Acting CEO since October 2015.

Michael Renshaw Appointed Chairman of Opteon

Michael Renshaw has been appointed Chairman of Opteon replacing acting chairman Matt Baxter who remains on the Opteon board.

Renshaw was formerly the chief executive officer and managing director of global engineering, environmental and management services company Cardno.

Opteon chief executive officer, Greg Wickham, says the new Chairman is coming into the business at a time when there will be significant change for the Group. “Michael’s strategic expertise will support Opteon’s move forward into a new operational structure and explore global opportunities” says Wickham. “Over the last two years we have gained market share to become one of the top three national valuation and property services companies in Australia, however our expansion plans to diversify the business will only strengthen our position domestically”.

Renshaw said that Opteon have had phenomenal growth over a short period of time in a challenging business environment.

“Opteon responded to the changes within the industry and have transformed the business. What has attracted me to working with Opteon was their investment in technology and the significant growth opportunities for property services and geographic expansion.”

Over the last two years, Opteon has had significant growth expanding to 75 office locations and increasing their national workforce by 15% to over 800 staff.  With Wickham as chief executive, Opteon have rebranded the business, and strengthened the eight national business units and the capabilities of their proprietary valuation management platform to become the market-leading platform in the industry. Opteon revenue increased over the last two years, surpassing $110million in the last financial year.

Available for an interview: Greg Wickham/CEO and Michael Renshaw/Chairman.

Opteon Media & Public Relations Contact:

Melissa Higgins
National Marketing & Communications Manager
Mobile:  0409 432 277
Email: melissa.higgins@opg.net

Pictured from left to right: Greg Wickham, CEO & Michael Renshaw, Chairman – Opteon

greg-wickham-michael-renshaw

Opteon Appoints Head of Government Services for NSW & ACT

Opteon has announced the appointment of Phil Western as Head of Government Services for New South Wales (NSW) and Australian Capital Territory (ACT).

Western’s appointment follows the announcement of Opteon’s rebrand evolution, which encompasses eight new national business units.

Western held the position of NSW Valuer General from 2003 to September 2014, where he was the Principal Valuation Advisor to the NSW Government with responsibility for ensuring the state Government met the needs of landowners, ratepayers, land tax clients, and local government and the broader community.

Chief Executive Officer for Opteon, Greg Wickham, said the group was excited to announce the appointment of Western as the Head of Government Services for NSW and ACT.

“Phil is a well-known and respected in the industry and is a regular speaker at state, national and international property forums on issues facing the industry today.”

“As a former national President of the Australian Property Institute (API) Phil has developed strong relationships and industry insight to help take Opteon’s evolution to the next level” said Mr Wickham.  “Phil’s involvement with the national Government Services team will support our strategic focus to strengthen Opteon’s position as market leaders for valuation and property advice in the industry and provide a greater service to our clients.”

As Head of Government Services for NSW and ACT, Phil will manage and develop the business unit within group, with his role focusing on engaging with internal and external stakeholder’s and developing strong relationships within the industry and across all levels of government.

 

Media and public relations contact:

Lauren Kelly
Opteon Public Relations Manager
T – 0421 866 863 E – PR@opg.net

The New Face of Property in Australia

Opteon today unveiled a major brand and business evolution. Implementing eight new business units across its national network, a new brand identity and revamped website, Opteon is cementing its position as Australia’s market-leading valuation and property advisory firm.

Opteon has the largest network of professional property valuers and advisors in Australia, with 70 offices nationwide. Previously operating under the banner Opteon, Opteon has changed its name to more accurately reflect its extensive national capabilities and the group’s growth. Opteon now employs 770 staff members including over 450 accredited valuers and property advisors.

Chief Executive Officer for Opteon, Greg Wickham, said the group was excited to unveil the new brand, which will encompass its eight national business units: Commercial, Residential, Agribusiness, Plant & Equipment, Advisory, Government Services, Tax Depreciation, Quantity Surveying.

“We are very pleased to announce today that Opteon has a new brand,” said Mr Wickham. “The Opteon brand has undergone a significant transformation and today we are revealing a new logo and website, as well as the inclusion of eight national business units into our business. This will support our strategic focus to strengthen our position as market leaders for valuation and property advice in the industry and provide a greater service to our clients.”

Opteon’s professional valuation and advisory team provide independent advice for all types of property assets on a national basis.

Mr Wickham said: “We are very excited about this change and the opportunities it will bring to the group and for our clients. Our extensive network of established and respected valuation companies have a reputation for delivering trusted and reliable services to our clients to assist them make informed decisions about their property.”

 

Media and public relations contact:

Lauren Kelly
Opteon Public Relations Manager
T – 0421 866 863 E – PR@opg.net