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New hires bolster Colliers’ operational capital markets capabilities


Colliers has welcomed two new recruits, both of whom will be focusing on operational capital markets, as the firm continues to build its presence in the sector. 

Lee Layton joins the Colliers Research & Economics team from Cushman & Wakefield as a director. Lee will focus on collaborating with clients on bespoke research pieces, supporting the operational capital markets team on strategy and insights across the customer and platform investment landscape.  Additionally, John Freker joins the National Capital Markets team as an associate director from Savills and will focus on transactions and capital advisory mandates.

Paddy Allen, Head of Operational Capital Markets at Colliers, comments: “There is no escaping the fact that the sector previously termed ‘alternatives’ has now become anything but. The past 12 months have seen a real weight of capital hunting for opportunities across the operational real estate investment spectrum including student accommodation, build to rent and co-living. 

“The relative nascence and complexity of these sectors provides many opportunities and challenges for which we are building a team with the appropriate skill sets to match our clients’ needs and to continually add value. 

“The addition of Lee and John will ensure we are providing market leading insights and data, alongside first-class service for our clients who are active in the sector.” 

The operational capital markets team at Colliers is focused on working with investors, developers and operators across the ‘beds’ sectors of student accommodation, build to rent and senior living, as well as the developing co-living sector. These sectors have seen significantly increased capital allocation in the last five years, which has accelerated since the start of the pandemic as investors seek increased exposure to the resilience of ‘beds’ backed real estate investments.

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Paddy Allen


National Capital Markets

London - West End

Paddy has over 16 years of real estate experience having spent his early career in European fund management before joining Global Student Accommodation as an early employee and leading the acquisition of £1bn of student accommodation across UK & Europe. 

Paddy advises a range of investors and developers on transactions, joint ventures and operations predominantly across student accommodation, build to rent and co-living. 

Paddy joined Colliers in 2021.

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John Knowles

Head of National Capital Markets

National Capital Markets

London - West End

A highly qualified real estate professional, John has extensive knowledge of direct and indirect real estate and finance projects in Europe and Asia.

Prior to joining Colliers, John was MD Corporate Finance at DTZ and Head of Capital Markets at LSH. He has worked extensively in distressed debt and NPL situations and has concluded transactions in the last 12 months for Cerberus, Starwood and LBG.

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Walter Boettcher

Head of Research and Economics

Research and Forecasting

London - West End

I am the the Chief Economist at global property advisors Colliers International based in London.  I am a research economist identifying timely research topics and directing research and forecasting outputs.

I have over 20 years UK and European property industry experience and extensive expertise across a wide range of property sectors and related industries.

I participate regularly in industry panel discussions, but am focused more on direct client engagement with institutions, property companies, banks, and private investors. A regular media commentator, I have a wide range of national and broadcast experience.

I joined Colliers International in August 2007 after several years at a private property company where he was responsible for managing a mixed portfolio of London residential, retail and office assets.

Previously, I worked in a few London property advisory firms, a geodemographic company as well as a few youthful sojourns in the US offshore oil industry, local government and entertainment business.

I am an economics graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and received his PhD from the Faculty of Science at University College London.  I am a member of Lambda Alpha International and the Society of Property Researchers.

Perhaps best known for my alternative take on property economics and investment, I am a keen proponent of UK regional development and infrastructure investment.

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Rebecca Allen

PR Manager

Marketing & Communications

London - West End

I have been working in commercial property communications for over 10 years  having previously worked at CBRE and Savills.

In my role at Colliers I am responsible for the PR of National Capital Markets, London Offices and Investment Property  Management teams as well as Scotland.

My role includes:

  • Creating and exectuing PR plans for business lines that span press, marketing and digital channels
  • Media monitoring and reporting
  • Advising on brand, tone of voice and profile raising 
  • Journalist relationship building through face to face meetings, phone calls day to day assistance with stories
  • Reputation management of the Colliers brand



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