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Catella: How smaller players can survive

Catella Property Group is used to punching above its weight. By investment bank standards – and Catella models itself as a "mini-investment bank" – it is tiny, with just 260 people in eight European countries focusing on high-quality property transactions services and property-related corporate finance. But for its clients and peers, Catella is in the big league, with a quality of service to rival the best.

The Stockholm-based company operates in Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and UK but is unsurprisingly strong in its home Nordic region. And, although it still operates traditional property service interests such as letting in Belgium, Germany and France, the company is in the process of reinventing itself. Six months ago it sold property off its asset management business in Belgium and the Netherlands and made small adjustments in Norway.

What makes Catella interesting is not its legacy operation but its vision of creating an investment bank-style operation. It believes that by applying the investment bank model while retaining deep local knowledge it is able to compete with – if not outsmart – the international big hitters when it comes to investment banking and financial services.

"Compared with other sectors, the property real estate sector is very much local – not necessarily in terms of ownership structure – but legislation-wise and in how the deals are physically transacted," says Johan Ericsson, chief executive of Catella Property.

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