Global conference in Manila strengthens PH position in Asia property scene

The Philippines recently hosted the Knight Frank Asia Pacific Conference, the largest international property gathering held in Manila by a real estate services company. Organized by global property consultant Knight Frank and its Philippine partner Santos Knight Frank, the conference was held at Okada Manila with 500 attendees from 60 countries and territories, many of whom have never been to the Philippines before.

“It’s the first time that a real estate services company in the Philippines has hosted a global conference of this scale, which speaks of the level of trust and commitment of the Knight Frank network in the country. We were very excited to welcome our partners around the globe and showcase the unprecedented level of expansion that has happened in the local real estate sector over the last two decades,” says chairman and CEO of Santos Knight Frank Rick Santos.

Top-tier developers DM Wenceslao & Associates CEO Buds Wenceslao and DoubleDragon Properties Inc. chief investment session.

Held once every two years in different cities across the region, the Knight Frank Asia Pacific Conference was an opportune moment to highlight the real estate development in the Philippines and celebrate Santos Knight Frank’s 25th anniversary in the country.

The Manila event featured prominent personalities in the real estate scene, including Blackstone Group’s senior managing director Kishore Moorjani; NTT Group’s global head for procurement Arvind Kumar; DoubleDragon Properties Corp.’s chief investment officer Hannah Yulo; and D. Wenceslao and Associates’ CEO Buds Wenceslao, who talked about their outlook for property investments in the Philippines and Asia.

The conference’s guest of honor was Dr. Andrew L. Tan, chairman of Alliance Global Group Inc., who was recognized with the “Global Achievement Award” during the event. A veteran in the property sector, Dr. Tan has built a conglomerate that not only shaped the real estate scene locally but also made important investments in Europe and Asia, specifically Spain, the UK and China.

Blackstone Group’s Kishore Moorjani (third from left) with Knight Frank Asia Pacific managing director Kevin Coppel, Knight Frank senior partner and group chairman Alistair Elliott, and Santos Knight Frank chairman and CEO Rick Santos.

For a full week, Manila welcomed many of the drivers of the global real estate industry, especially in areas of commercial real estate and capital markets. In attendance were Knight Frank’s global board led by senior partner and group chairman Alistair Elliott, Asia Pacific managing director Kevin Coppel, and the heads of global and regional offices and business lines.

“Knight Frank works on behalf of many of the world’s key multinationals and real estate investors. Bringing the conference to Manila was a strategic choice as the Philippines increasingly appears in the radar for global capital,” says Santos.

Suffice to say, the attendees were impressed with the level of development in the Philippines. “Manila is a relatively new office market but with the business process outsourcing industry driving demand for jobs internationally, office space will continue to be in high demand,” observes Kymbal Dunne, joint national head-private office at Knight Frank Australia. “It was great to see the Knight Frank business at the heart of the office market in the city and helping the growth of the country.”

The Knight Frank conference at Okada Manila

Coppel agrees, saying, “We see the Philippines as a significantly attractive market especially for commercial real estate. Across the Asia Pacific region, we have 9,000 people and 150 offices, but no question that the Philippines is one of the most promising. With a population of 110 million, a median age of just 24, English as a language of education, and a booming BPO sector — we think this is a pivotal market to be in.”

“Knight Frank is commercial, residential, international, and independent. That independence and flexibility allowed us a few years ago to have the privilege to explore what Rick and his team as a business can contribute to the Knight Frank network. In Santos Knight Frank, we have a best-in-class operation. The arrangement is based upon our shared values of being committed, enduring, respectful to each other, and above all else, striving to be inspirational for our clients and our colleagues. In this partnership, we have an amazing platform to build upon and the relationship has only just started,” says Elliott.