CBRE celebrates half a century in Scotland

THERE was a golden anniversary celebration for property consultancy CBRE last week – marking 50 years since the first Richard Ellis office (as the firm was known then) opened in Glasgow.
CBREs Doug Smith. Picture: ContributedCBREs Doug Smith. Picture: Contributed
CBREs Doug Smith. Picture: Contributed

Doug Smith, chairman of CBRE Scotland, gathered employees old and new for a drinks reunion in the firm’s best-known Glasgow home, Pacific House in Wellington Street. CBRE “alumni” met to catch up and reminisce about the property industry in Scotland over the past five decades.

These days, with its two offices in Glasgow, one in Edinburgh and one in Aberdeen, CBRE has 270 staff north of the Border. When staff from CBRE’s sister company Norland are lumped in, the group employs more than 500 people in Scotland.

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Smith says: “Many of the former Richard Ellis employees continue to do business in the Glasgow and Scottish marketplaces, but a significant number are now spread around the globe so it was great so many of them were able to come along.

Sonia Schulenburg with her Battle of the Quants trophy. Picture: ContributedSonia Schulenburg with her Battle of the Quants trophy. Picture: Contributed
Sonia Schulenburg with her Battle of the Quants trophy. Picture: Contributed

“Contrary to the thoughts of some younger current colleagues, I was not in the business in 1965, but I have worked in each of the buildings which we have occupied since that first year – Trafalgar House, Pacific House, followed by a return to Trafalgar House in its redeveloped form of One Waterloo Street and most recently up to St Vincent Street.”

A charity raffle was one of the highlights at the reunion, raising £1,100 for Brick by Brick appeal to help build the new Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow.

Schulenburg wins the battle

Congratulations to Sonia Schulenburg, founder and chief executive of Edinburgh-based Schulenburg Capital, for scooping a prestigious Battle of the Quants award in New York. The accolade recognises the performance of the firm’s Maya Fund, which invests primarily in UK and US equities and exchange-traded funds.

As an academic and entrepreneur, Schulenburg has been recognised through numerous research projects, papers and publications in the area of machine learning. She was awarded the Santa Fe Institute Computational Modelling and Complexity Fellowship in 1999 and a Royal Society of Edinburgh Enterprise Fellowship in 2006.

The blurb on the Battle of the Quants website talks of bringing together “academia, asset allocators and quantitative focused hedge funds”, combining “the various quant disciplines in one location to explore and discuss the critical issues confronting the quantitative approach to finance”. Pretty 
heady stuff.

Start-ups ready for take-off

Skyscanner chief executive and co-founder Gareth Williams and many of the great and good of Scotland’s technology community showed up at Informatics Forum in Edinburgh last week for Informatics Ventures’ end-of-season “Pitch & Grill” event.

With 20 start-ups pitching to Williams et al, founders were then grilled on the investment case for their businesses. Afterwards, the tech crowd moved to the roof for a truly grilling time as the barbecues were fired up and the beer and wine flowed.

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The pitch winners were then announced, with Dimensional Imaging, Desk Union and Bubbal scooping the bottles of bubbly after catching the eye of investors. The upshot seems to be that Scotland’s start-up scene is in ruder health than ever before.

Watt takes the chair

Anderson Strathern partner Catriona Watt has been elected chair of the 1,000-strong UK Association of Regulatory & Disciplinary Lawyers (ARDL).

She is the first woman, first solicitor and first Scot to lead the organisation, and her first duty as chair was to address an audience of 500 lawyers, regulators, QCs and judges at the organisation’s prestigious annual dinner at The Savoy hotel in London.

ARDL was established in 2002 to bring together lawyers from all over the UK working in the fledgling field of professional regulation.

Watt leads the professional regulation group at Anderson Strathern, which acts for the General Medical Council, General Dental Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, Architects Registration Board, General Teaching Council for Scotland, Scottish Social Services Council, Royal College of Nursing and Institute of Chartered Accountants for Scotland, among others.

Following her appointment, Watt said: “It is a genuine honour to have been elected to this position. I aim to serve the membership of the whole of the UK and to bring the knowledge and expertise which ARDL has to the widest possible audience.”

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