Vincent Querton is the first non-Dutch national to take the helm at Jones Lang LaSalle in the Netherlands and the first without an all-property background. Asked whether the interview with PropertyEU should be held in French, English or Dutch, Querton opts for Dutch, in line with his new professional environment.
The new Belgian CEO of Jones Lang LaSalle in the Netherlands speaks all three languages, having previously served as chief executive of the international advisory firm in Belgium and Luxembourg. 'I learn something new every day,' he says modestly about his command of Dutch. 'Speaking Dutch also has its advantages - with French I tend to speak far too quickly,' he adds. Querton's new position puts him in charge of all three Benelux countries as he will remain responsible for Belgium and Luxembourg alongside The Netherlands, which in terms of staff and market size is the biggest of the three.
Querton takes up his new role at a time when JLL's customers are - almost without exception - in the doldrums. 'I see real estate as a long-term investment, one which is only suited to the strong players. They can sit out the crisis with lower leverage.'
According to the new CEO, the Dutch market will soon offer more scope for institutional capital as pension funds increase their allocation to real estate. Many investors such as market leader APG currently have less than 1% of their total assets invested in Dutch property.
'I think many elements of the Dutch market lend themselves well to institutional property. In addition, the Netherlands is a very entrepreneurial market with several local players. In Belgium we wouldn't have thought of opening an office in Ghent, but in the Netherlands JLL serves the market from five offices. Entrepreneurial markets distinguish themselves from others through their resilience.'
The full interview appears in the September edition of PropertyEU Magazine. Click on the link below to subscribe