Having a front-row seat in the transformation of commercial real estate empowers KengChiam to continuously add value to his client's real estate investment decisions across asset classes.
How long have you been in the real estate industry, and how did you come to join Colliers?
I have been in the real estate industry for over 30 years as a valuer in various-sized organisations, and I recently joined Colliers International. As Colliers International is a leading real estate professional services, it provides me with a very good platform, a wide scope of work and some great challenges at the same time.
Aside from overseeing real estate valuation services, I also oversee the real estate consulting and hotel & leisure valuation services Valuations and Advisory Services.collectively known as
"Valuation is an exciting professionI am exposed to the value creation or destruction with every change to the economic, social and political environment."
Tell us about your current role with Colliers. What do you find most fulfilling about it?
A valuer’s role is not just about dispensing numbers in the form of monetary values. We also have to be equipped with knowledge of real estate finance, law, planning and regulations, sciences, humanities, policies, building technologies, climate changesto name a few of the other skills.
We interpret the market information, trends and behaviour of real estate pricing, so as to provide our professional opinions to enable our clients to make rational investment decisions. We have to keep abreast of the changes to not only the local but the world economy, government policies, the latest trends, demographics, etc.
Valuation is an exciting professionI am exposed to the value creation or destruction with every change to the economic, social and political environment. My job enables me to put together the information and connect the dots to better understand the government’s development plan for Singapore. I am also at the forefront of the property market, sensing the pulse of development. I am glad and fortunate to be able to witness the transformation of our country into a first-world country.
"I have the privilege of working with both the public and private sectors, as well as people from all walks of life. The depth and breadth of the implications of my work make the work ever more fulfilling and enjoyable."
My job exposes me to some classic asset classes such as residential, office, retail, hotels and industrial, but also some less traditional such as education institutions, sports and recreation facilities, parks, marinas and healthcare. I have the privilege of working with both the public and private sectors and also people from all walks of life. The depth and breadth of the implications of my work make the work ever more fulfilling and enjoyable!
"Will [technology] then lead to the demise of the profession? The answer is no."
As we are entering the fourth industrial revolution, will your profession still be relevant? What is needed to make it so?
Real estate valuations and advisory services thrive on information. The rapid technological changes that are taking place and driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution shall facilitate the provision and transmission of time-sensitive information and enable more transparency. It is that transparency that challenges the skills and the knowledge of the professionals, allowing them to add value and ultimately enabling our clients to make well-informed decisions.
Globally, real estate is a reliable store of wealtheven more since Global Financial Crisis. We saw many companies collapsing and disappearing, but not real estate. Technology gives timely information for everyone to interpret and make a view of the worth of real estate from the trends and usage. Will it then lead to the demise of the profession? The answer is no. Every real estate investor has different interests, views, objectives and market knowledge
"It is... vital for valuers to keep abreast of the trends and stay ahead of the game by using technology as a tool to navigate through the complexity of the market, analyse and sieve through the information to provide independent quality advice."
Given the large amount of information available, it is not quantity but the quality of information that is important. This exactly why artificial intelligence (AI) technology will not wholly take over; valuers will still have a significant role to play. There will always be a need for that independent advice that will consider all the factors and not just look at the data. It is therefore vital for valuers to keep abreast of the trends and stay ahead of the game by using technology as a tool to navigate through the complexity of the market, analyse and sieve through the information to provide independent quality advice.
This pandemic has provided an excellent opportunity to review the use of technology for our work. It is a great catalyst to allow us to plug into the world of AI technology that is driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It augmented the need to redesign the workflow of a valuer to increase efficiencies and quality of our work. As it stands now, we are still at the infancy of this technological change, and the adoption requires much know-how and resources to make them a reality. The future of the profession is as bright as one can envision as the energy that the sun emits. It is bright and sunny!
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