1. How long have you been in the real estate industry and how did you come to join Colliers International?

I have been in the real estate industry for 28 years, focusing largely on development consultancy and the marketing of industrial facilities in Singapore. Prior to joining Colliers in July 2018, I had helped to drive the industrial property marketing business at several real estate consultancy firms over the last two decades. 

When I heard that Colliers was expanding its industrial services team in Singapore and looking to further strengthen its offerings to investors and occupiers, I jumped on the opportunity without hesitation. Colliers has a very strong profile and presence in the marketing of industrial properties in Singapore and I was excited by the prospect of working there. 

Tapping on my deep experience and wide network, I look forward to making positive contributions to Colliers. In my career, I have worked on closing several notable deals, including 72 Loyang Way sold to Soilbuild Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), 37 Jalan Pemimpin sold to Sarafield Investments, and 100 Pasir Panjang Road sold to CEL Development. I hope to drive similar success in the months and years ahead.

2. What is the outlook for the Singapore industrial property sector in the next 12 months?

The industrial real estate sector in Singapore has started to bottom out this year, amid the better performance in the manufacturing sector and brighter economic outlook. Rental rates are also stabilising given the slowdown in future industrial property supply from 2019 onwards.

Certain sections of the market remain soft, such as the warehouse segment which is facing some challenges as supply outstrips demand, as well as waterfront factory sites which are still affected by the downturn in the shipyard, oil and gas sectors.

There are several bright spots ahead. I believe food industries, self-storage and data centres would see greater demand for industrial space in Singapore. There is scope for more of Food Zone sites in Singapore, as well as data centre space with high specifications – such as dual power supply - to meet evolving market needs. 

Self-storage is another segment that could drive industrial space demand. As more modern, smaller format homes are built, many residents will likely seek to rent self-storage space to store their belongings, particularly bulkier items. This is certainly a segment to watch. 

3. What are the top three issues that investors and industrialists need to be consider before committing to an industrial property lease or purchase?

Leasing or buying industrial properties in Singapore is not as straight forward, and there are several key considerations that investors or industrialists should think about. One important guiding principle is that industrial activities should take place on industrial land, although selected supporting uses – including canteens, childcare centres and showrooms – can be allowed in industrial developments. However, these supporting uses must be kept within 40 per cent of the total floor area. 

There are different categories of industrial buildings, meant for different uses, in Singapore such as Business 1 (B1), Business 2 (B2) and Business Park (BP). For example, B1 spaces can be used for activities including computer software development, distribution services, printing and publishing, and assembly and repair of electronic equipment. Meanwhile, B2 spaces are intended for uses including biotechnology, manufacture of electrical apparatus and industry/power generation plants.

Other considerations include specifications and location of the site, its land tenure, and financing terms if the intention is to purchase the industrial property. It may be advisable for investors or occupiers to seek guidance from an experienced industrial property consultant to take them through the entire process.

4. What is your management style and what do you think are important attributes in an effective leader?

I believe in setting clear goals and objectives, and then taking strategic steps to ensure those goals are met. To me, an effective leader is someone who can rally the troops – a person who can motivate the team and guide his/her fellow colleagues towards achieving the overall objective. The ability to inspire and lead – in both good and bad times - is the mark of a good leader.

5. What do you find most exciting about your field of work?

The industrial property landscape in Singapore has changed significantly over the past decades, in tandem with the nation’s growth and transformation to an innovation-led economy. With the rapid advancement of technology and greater automation, we expect occupiers’ needs for industrial space to continue to evolve. 

It is exciting to see how things are changing and the new trends that are coming up. We have to constantly stay ahead of the curve so that we can provide industrialists and investors with relevant and customised solutions, be it sourcing for new industrial space or assisting them in divesting their industrial assets. I derive great satisfaction from being able to help clients to achieve an optimal outcome.