Dear Peerage Partners, Colleagues and Friends,

What better way to mark the end of the year – and the decade – than with one of those annual family update letters? While we may not have a group snapshot of the Peerage family wedged into festive cardigans clutching  miscellaneous pets we do have a proper round-up of 2019 Partner news to share.

There is a great deal for all of us to celebrate this year. In often-turbulent markets, our three pillars –residential real estate, self-storage and wealth management – have grown and flourished. We are positioned to consolidate and build on that foundation over the coming year and beyond.

So, what were some of the highlights of 2019 in the Peerage family? We thought you’d never ask…

Self-Storage

The Canadian market for bright, secure, technology-enhanced self-storage facilities where people – and businesses of all sizes – can store their goods for the short or long term, is under-served. That’s why Peerage Capital is ramping up the resources allocated to the burgeoning self-storage sector through Vaultra Storage.

Working closely with Peerage, Vaultra founding partners Shawn Shanmuganathan and Prakash Gunasingham now have nine self-storage assets under management: one in B.C. and eight under development in the GTA. Vaultra broke ground on a new, state-of-the art facility on Fairbank Avenue in Toronto and it will be ready for occupancy in mid-2020. One of the key differentiators at the Fairbank Avenue site, according to Shawn, is the inclusion of conference and meeting facilities to enhance the storage experience for small and medium-sized enterprise clients.

Financial Services

On the financial services front, Echelon Wealth Partners focused on the growing client demand for insightful and independent investment advice in a market that is increasingly driven by bank-owned brokerage firms. Echelon’s assets under administration grew to $6 billion, the result of two acquisitions as well as strong market performance. Echelon CEO, David Cusson, notes that he is especially proud of the firm’s “tremendous growth with Advisor recruitment as well as the integration of Dundee Securities Ltd., Vestcap and Financiere FCL Inc. Our 2020 outlook remains focused on our defined purpose; to be our clients’ most trusted partner.”

The firm’s management team was further strengthened with two key additions:

  • Dominic Chow joined the firm in the role of Chief Strategy Officer from a senior role at Deloitte.
  • Mark Henderson became the new VP Sales and Trading following leadership roles at Barclay’s Canadian and U.S. operations, as well as Citigroup New York.

At ARS Investment Partners, 2019 brought strong investment performance across a broad range of strategies, especially for the ARS Focused All Cap and ARS Core Equity Strategies for year-to-date and three-year performance. To better engage its clients and showcase its thought leadership content, ARS launched a new website. But for Managing Director Stephen Burke, the promotion of Kristen Niebuhr to the position of Chief Operating Officer was a real highlight:  “Kristen has done an exemplary job as our Chief Compliance Officer over the past two years. She’s kept us on the cutting edge of compliance and made a valuable contribution to our Operating Committee.”

Heading into 2020, Stephen sees a sales and referral pipeline that is the strongest for ARS since 2010. He attributes that to growing client and prospect demand for a high-conviction, alpha-oriented investment approach.

Real Estate

2019 was another banner year for Baker Real Estate.  For company President, Barbara Lawlor, the September launch of 11YV at the ROM “comes to mind as the most spectacular Broker event in Toronto’s history with over 1,500 agents in attendance.” Baker, as the exclusive listing broker of record for the Yorkville development, facilitated the sale of almost 500 units at $1,750 per square foot in a matter of weeks – which took the industry by storm.

As the year draws to a close, the Baker team is preparing to continue its domination of the Toronto condo scene by bringing a new wave of buildings to the market. Included in these launches, slated for early 2020, are the Pharrell Williams building by Reserve and Westdale called Untitled, 411 King with Great Gulf and Liberty Market Tower for Lifetime Developments.

At Chestnut Park Real Estate, 2019 brought a year of strategic growth. It remained among the Top Three GTA brokerages, posed a record year of agent recruitment and broke previous records in the Collingwood, Ontario market.

Among the milestones for Chestnut Park this year:

  • Improved use and visibility of the Forest Hill office – and extension of the brand – became a key recruiting tool in the Toronto market.
  • The successful integration of the Chestnut Park office in Kitchener/Waterloo further expanded the brand in the K-W region.
  • The firm’s position as the top brokerage in Muskoka, was reinforced by the successful completion and construction of a preeminent new office in Port Carling.

Fifth Avenue Real Estate President Scott Brown pulled no punches in reviewing the past year. “The metro Vancouver market was the worst it has been in nearly a decade,” he says. “Despite this, Fifth Avenue was profitable and out-performed the market with a number of notable, sustained sales success stories.” He also reflects that with the support of Peerage, Fifth Avenue was able to strategically strengthen its position in a market – and in a year – where a number of competitors re-trenched. This included enabling Fifth Avenue to strengthen its retention and recruitment of talent through investing – despite the down cycle. The firm is confident it is now poised to generate optimal results in 2020 as it enhances service and execution – and the market recovers.

At the start of 2019, Peerage took its first step into the U.S. market, partnering with Madison & Co. Properties of Denver, Co. “In Peerage, we found an ideal partner with the resources to continue our investments in enhancing our service platform for our agents, and to accelerate our ambitious expansion and growth plans, while preserving our operational independence and culture,” says company founder, Todd Narlinger.

Over the past decade, he has developed a team of 150 brokers and staff who serve both the residential and commercial markets. Madison holds the number two spot with the second highest production per agent in Denver, and has been recognized as one of the Top Workplaces by the Denver Post for five consecutive years. That is one of the reasons why agent recruitment has been consistently strong: In 2019, Madison welcomed Tupper’s Team to the company. This team of seven has been one of Colorado’s top-ranked teams for the last twenty years.

The mid-year purchase of the Sotheby’s International Realty Canada (SIRC) franchise transformed Peerage Realty into a truly national presence in the domestic residential market. Don Kottick moved from the Peerage Realty Partners team, bringing his deep experience in the sector to the position of President and CEO. He singles out the opening of “two new beautiful offices in White Rock, BC, by the Pacific Ocean and another office in the high-demand, trendy area of Leslieville in Toronto” as highlights of 2019.  Those new offices, with the ongoing strengthening of the SIRC team, have positioned the firm to exceed its previous record of $5 billion in sales volume in 2020.

2019 was a year of growth and change at Streetcity Realty. President Costa Poulopoulos says the introduction of a scalable business model allowed the firm to “grow in multiple locations providing full service to our realtors, by reducing overhead costs while sharing expenses with in-house mortgage professionals.” Those savings are earmarked for re-investment in products, services and technologies that will ensure a superior experience for realtors and customers.

Looking ahead to 2020, StreetCity is preparing to open a new virtual branch office in Niagara Falls with more locations to come.

If you have made it this far we dug up this gem of a snap from our office holiday party.

But for all the changes that shaped the past year, there is one constant: The remarkable calibre of Peerage Capital family members. Through our Partners, we are blessed with talent, opportunity and a shared commitment to excellence – all the elements we need to succeed in 2020 and over the next decade.

We fully understand that the key to our business is people – those who partner with Peerage; those who work here; those we support in a growing roster of grassroots charitable commitments – and, of course, our clients, whose trust in all of us is essential to everything we do.

Thank you for your contribution to all we achieved together in the past year and we look forward to building on that foundation in 2020 – and beyond.

Happy Holidays!

Miles S. Nadal