Real estate is a traditional component of the Hong Kong landscape and economy. However, adopting a slightly unorthodox route to work at Colliers - pivoting from running his own real estate business - Shaman Chellaram, Senior Director, Capital Markets and Investment Services, reflects on his time so far at Colliers as he discusses how collaboration has helped him integrate into the business, not just in Hong Kong, but Globally.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Previously based in London and Spain and growing up in Gibraltar, I’ve now lived in Hong Kong for the last 11 years, with my family having roots here for nearly 100 years. Outside of real estate, my interests range from Wing Chun Kung Fu, playing the guitar (although not particularly well!) and scuba diving, to setting up YAMA Foundation with my wife - a charity focused on bringing yoga, art and meditation to Hong Kong's underserved communities.
Why real estate and what are your highlights so far?
I’ve been interested in real estate since I was young, especially the international investment angle. Hong Kong’s skyline has always fascinated me and being part of this industry is exciting. The chance to meet new people from diverse backgrounds and to identify and connect clients and opportunities motivates me.
My background includes 15 years’ experience running my own advisory service here in Hong Kong and before that in Europe, but the time had come to challenge myself in a different way. I wanted to feel connected to a bigger vision and a team that shared my ambition; Colliers fitted this description so when Nigel Smith and Antonio Wu presented the chance to be a part of the firm’s growth, I couldn’t say no.
Highlights include being a part of the team that closed out a major GBP 200+ million transaction in London and securing a major project in China for a luxury hotel group.
Since joining Colliers, what have you found most enterprising?
Collaboration between teams in the office, cities and even regions. There's a strong level of connectivity that's accelerated by geography with people reaching out to know more, wanting to work with you and see how we can develop opportunities together.
An example is last month's joint webinar with the London team to share overseas opportunities with our Hong Kong based clients, and later this month we have a similar session with the Australia team. And it's paying off. We’re seeing interest from local investors in international markets both on the acquisition and divestment side. This is showcased by a recent project where we helped Rykadan Capital dispose of an asset in London. The ability to identify opportunities and collaborate with my colleagues in key markets to provide the local knowledge to support our clients here in Hong Kong shows breadth in our connectivity.
Where are you focusing your attention and what are you saying to your clients?
Right now, my focus is on Hong Kong and outbound opportunities across the office and hotel sectors. In addition, with limited sites being offered by the Hong Kong SAR Government, redevelopment sites from the private market are also driving interest.
Patience is important. Market conditions are testing the resolve of both potential buyers and sellers with multiple factors layering the decision-making process. The next 3-12 months could be very interesting. Although, the market is slower than what we’ve become used to and we feel there will be a measured bounce back that will create opportunities for our investors, especially across the office and hotel sectors in Hong Kong and key gateway markets.