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Colliers International Group Inc (CIGI) Q1 2021 Earnings Call Transcript | The Motley Fool

Colliers International Group Inc (NASDAQ:CIGI)
Q1 2021 Earnings Call
May 4, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Welcome to the Colliers International First Quarter Investor Conference Call. Today’s call is being recorded. Legal counsel requires us to advise that the discussion scheduled to take place today may contain forward-looking statements that involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Actual results materially — may be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements contemplated in the forward-looking statements. Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to materially differ from those in the forward-looking statements is contained in the company’s annual information form as filed with the Canadian Securities Administrators.

And in the company’s annual report on Form 40-F as filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. As a reminder, today’s call is being recorded. Today is May 4, 2021. And at this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to Global Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Jay Hennick. Please go ahead, sir.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, operator. Good morning, and thanks for joining us for this first quarter conference call. As the operator mentioned, I’m Jay Hennick, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and with me today is Christian Mayer, Chief Financial Officer. As you know, we recently announced that John Friedrichsen, one of my closest allies has decided to retire after 23 years of service. For most of those years, John has been right here by my side during these conference calls. Today will be different. I want to take this opportunity to thank John once again for his tireless efforts, his dedication and his support in helping us build the company and its predecessor company First Service into the operations. They are today, true market leaders in their respective industries. John played a critical role in helping us create massive shareholder value.

He has always been a pillar of strength, the ultimate culture carrier. Thank you, John, for all you have done for us. Now let’s get on to business. As always, this conference call is being webcast live and is available in the Investor Relations section of our website. A presentation slide is also available to accompany this call. Let me begin today by saying how pleased we are with the first quarter results and the encouraging signs of momentum for the balance of the year. Strength in recurring services, stabilizing transaction revenue and our highly diversified business model continue to transform Colliers into a more balanced and resilient professional services and investment management company.

Although pandemic uncertainty remains, we are increasing our outlook for the balance of the year as you will hear from Christian in just a few minutes. Today, I’d like to touch on four highlights from the quarter. First, as you know, we recently published our global impact report, highlighting our commitment to embedding environmental, social and governance or ESG strategies across our company. This report can also be downloaded from our website. As leaders in our industry, building a better future for our stakeholders has never been more important. In the coming months, we will complete a materiality assessment to better understand our greatest opportunities. Then we will publish a responsible ESG strategy with measurable goals to ensure that ESG continues to be an important part of how we do business in the future.

Second, Harrison Street was the proud recipient of four PERE awards this year, including alternate — alternatives investor of the year Global and North America, while capping off its largest fundraising quarter in the firm’s history. Harrison Street has a long and successful track record of investing in education, healthcare, storage, life sciences and social infrastructure, specialty areas of focus that benefit from favorable demographic trends and low volatility. Assets under management in our Investment management segment now exceed $41 billion, a full 19% over the prior year. Third, our newest service line, Colliers Design & Engineering completed its first acquisition, a specialty transportation and design firm that adds scale and growth opportunities in the U.S. Southeast. We continue to be very excited about the opportunities in outsourcing and advisory as well as our Investment Management segments.

Over the past 12 months, 51% of our revenues and 60% of our EBITDA came from recurring services, demonstrating the progress we have made in becoming a more resilient company. Our unique partnership philosophy resonates with leadership teams who want to retain significant equity in the businesses they operate while taking advantage of the many benefits, a partnership with Colliers can deliver. Finally, during the quarter, Colliers was named one of the top three global commercial real estate brands in the world by the Lipsey Company in its annual survey of industry professionals. And for the 15th consecutive year, we earned our place as one of the top global outsourcing providers from the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals.

Both of these accolades demonstrate the growing power and scale of the Colliers brand as well as our growing global platform. With our proven track record of more than 26 years, a balanced and diversified business model and an enterprising culture with significant inside ownership, Colliers is in a better position today than in any other time in its history to continue to create value for shareholders. And now let me turn things over to Christian. Christian?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Thank you, Jay. As announced earlier today, Colliers reported strong financial results for the first quarter. My comments follow the flow of the slides posted on the Investor Relations section of colliers.com to accompany this call. Please note that the non-GAAP measures referenced on this call are as defined in the press release issued today. All references to revenue growth are expressed in local currency. For our first quarter of 2021, revenues were $775 million, up 18% relative to the prior year and included the positive contribution from acquisitions completed in the past year. Internal revenues were up 4%, primarily due to the stabilization of transactional activity, especially in capital markets.

This marks our first quarter of positive internal growth since pre pandemic Q4 2019. Consolidated adjusted EBITDA for Q1 was $92 million, up 69% from $55 million one year ago, with margins at 11.9% versus 8.6% in the prior year quarter. Our margin benefited from the stabilization of transactional revenues and a continuation of prudent operating cost management, considering the ongoing pandemic. Margins were also favorably impacted by acquisitions. In the Americas region, first quarter $476 million, up 27% over the prior period. Outsourcing & Advisory revenues were up 34%, driven by recent acquisitions. Capital markets revenues were up 49%, driven by strong debt origination of revenues from a recent acquisition as well as significant increases in industrial and multifamily sales transaction activity.

Leasing revenues were up 4% and in part due to a recent acquisition and in part due to stronger industrial leasing activity across the region. Adjusted EBITDA was $57 million, up 82% versus last year with significant contribution from acquisitions and ongoing measures to manage costs. Our EMEA operations generated first quarter revenues of $126 million, down 3% from one year ago, with activity returning to near prior year levels in each service line. Adjusted EBITDA for the region was $4.5 million, relative to a loss of $3.6 million last year, with the improvement attributable to cost savings from measures implemented due to the pandemic. Asia Pacific, fourth quarter — Asia Pacific revenues were $128 million, up 19% relative to the prior year period. Capital markets revenues were up 70%, with notable large sales transactions occurring throughout the region, while leasing, including office leasing, was up 20%. Transactions were driven by a rebound in activity relative to the sharply reduced levels experienced during the early stages of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020.

Adjusted EBITDA was $16 million compared to $5 million last year. Investment management revenues were $45 million, reflecting growth of 2% excluding the impact of pass-through carried interest. The prior year quarter included transaction fees in Europe, which positively impacted prior year results. Assets under management were $42 billion at quarter end, up 19% from one year ago and reflected the strongest quarter for fundraising in Harrison Street’s history. Management fee revenues from the increased AUM will start being realized in the second quarter. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $18 million, similar to the $18 million generated in the prior year period. Turning to cash flow. Cash flow before working capital for the first quarter of 2021 was $74 million, almost double the prior year level, while exceeding the growth rate of adjusted EBITDA.

After considering working capital, cash usage in the seasonally slow first quarter was $38 million, a significant improvement from the usage of $120 million in the comparative period for two major reasons: higher earnings and incremental working capital flows from our recently acquired mortgage operations. Capital expenditures for the first quarter were $22 million, a significant increase from the prior year and reflected investments in facilities in several markets, including in certain markets where we deferred relocations and expansions, given the events of 2020. For the full year 2021, including the amount deferred from last year, we expect capex to be in the range of $65 million to $75 million. About 1/3 of this capex will be landlord funded leasehold improvements. Spending on acquisitions during the quarter was modest and included only one business acquisition and two contingent payments related to prior acquisitions that exceeded underwriting expectations.

We target ongoing investments in acquisitions across our global service lines to complement internal growth. Acquisitions are, by their nature, opportunistic, and we continue to pursue high value-add transactions that meet our criteria. Colliers has always maintained a conservative financial profile. Net debt to pro forma adjusted EBITDA was 1.1 times as of March 31, 2021, a slight increase relative to year-end. At quarter end, we had $724 million of unused credit on our $1 billion revolving credit facility available to fund future acquisitions and ongoing operations. Given our strong results for the first quarter, we are updating and increasing our financial outlook for 2021. The updated outlook for both revenues and for adjusted EBITDA, is an increase of 15% to 30%, which reflects a 5% increase to both the upper and lower bounds of the previously provided range. This outlook is, of course, subject to risks and uncertainties as outlined in our accompanying slides. That concludes my prepared remarks. And I would now like to turn the call back to the operator for questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

[Operator Instructions] And the first question comes from George Doumet with Scotiabank.

George DoumetScotiabank Global Banking and Markets — Analyst

Yeah, good morning guys! Congrats on a really strong quarter.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, George.

George DoumetScotiabank Global Banking and Markets — Analyst

We saw an exceptional 47% growth in the capital markets side. I understand this might be a difficult question to answer. But how much of those volumes might have trickled in it from the kind of the seasonally stronger last quarter? And now are you seeing maybe that trend in deferrals materializing as we continue into Q2?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. George, there is certainly an aspect of capital markets transactions that have been developing in our pipelines and certainly some from Q4, what could have tripled into Q1. I think we feel very comfortable and confident in our certain aspects of capital markets, industrial is an area where we are strong and we have seen strong activity in the fourth quarter and in the first quarter. And if trends continue, that they may continue into future quarters.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

George, it happens every year. There’s always deals that didn’t get closed by December 31st that leak into the following year. It’s — I don’t think, Christian correct me if I’m wrong, there wasn’t any unusual amount of that happening this year versus previous years.

George DoumetScotiabank Global Banking and Markets — Analyst

Okay. And it feels like the larger part of the revenue growth for this year is pursuing the higher-margin transactional business. But it seems like our guidance implies flat margins at the midpoint. So kind of just wondering what you guys are thinking?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. Certainly, George. On a full year basis, the margin, we expect to be around 13% [Indecipherable] Last year, we had a benefit of very significant cost reductions in the business, about $145 million of variable cost reductions and salary reductions and bonuses that weren’t paid because of the performance. Some of those costs, many of those costs are going to return in 2021, and that’s part of our thinking as we look ahead and provide this outlook.

George DoumetScotiabank Global Banking and Markets — Analyst

Okay. And just one last one, if I maybe for Jay. Kind of moving over to the leasing, it seems like one of our competitors said that they expect a 10% to 15% reduction in demand for office space because of the pandemic. I’m just wondering, do you echo that? And what are your thoughts there?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Well, I think we generally agree that the demand for office will be — will fall off, let’s call it, 10 to 15 because I think that seems to be sort of the common view. There’s a lot of reasons for that. There was an abundance of office in the marketplace through operations, like WeWork and many others. So there’s a lot of activity or a lot of space that has to be brought back to market. But fortunately, for Colliers, our office — our leasing practice is spread among office. And I would say we’re typically stronger in industrial and in other areas that have actually done very well over the past 12 months, you’ll see it for sure in the quarter. Office is always the largest fee-paying portion of leasing.

So obviously, if offices are down, it does impact the overall number. But we’ve enjoyed some very strong performance in industrial office and a variety of other non CBD or high end office in suburban areas.

George DoumetScotiabank Global Banking and Markets — Analyst

Great, thanks for your answers.

Operator

Our next question comes from Stephen MacLeod with BMO Capital.

Stephen MacLeodBMO Capital Markets Equity Research — Analyst

Thank you, good morning guys! I just had a couple of questions about the outlook. You talked about the margin expectation for the full year and understanding that you have some costs coming back in 2021. Can you talk a little bit about sort of what you view the long-term margin outlook to be? I mean, you finished the year 2020 at a 13% margin, exceeding — higher on a year-over-year basis. Can you talk a little bit about where that can get to over time?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. I mean over time, we would expect to have modest increases in our margins. We think that brokerage, obviously, there’s operating leverage opportunities there. In future years, given the rebound, we expect to occur in areas like office leasing that we just talked about. So certainly, operating leverage in our leasing business and in our capital markets business. Our investment management operations have the opportunity for margin. And — but we are investing heavily in people and in growth at the moment, and we’ll continue to do that, but there is operating leverage in that service line over time.

Stephen MacLeodBMO Capital Markets Equity Research — Analyst

Great. Okay thank you. And then I just wanted to talk a little bit about the outsourcing advisory investment management, recurring revenue base versus the transaction revenues. And as you went through the pandemic, the recurring business was quite stable and certainly did a very good job of offsetting some of the weakness in transaction. Do you expect, as now you get into 2021, will, the Outsourcing & Advisory and Investment Management businesses, sort of return to or begin to take on a growth bias into 2021 and 2022?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I mean, the first thing is first, that the — as we return to whatever the new normal is, you should see transaction services move up in terms of activity, whether capital markets or leasing. So I think the tailwinds there are very interesting for us. But Outsourcing & Advisory and Investment Management are exciting growth areas for us. And also and our growth in those two areas has made a real difference in transforming our business to one that I think is frankly different than some of our peers. And I think that, that transformation is going to continue so that we have a different balance. We already have a different balance. 60% of our EBITDA seems to consistently now come from these areas over time. We’re hoping that, that will continue to grow as we add activity in those other areas.

So yes, I think we’re going to see growth there, both internally as you could see this quarter, but also through acquisition opportunities. And there’s a lot of leverage that we haven’t even included in our future thinking around the ability to sell and cross-sell many of these services to the same client base. So for example, Harrison Street can use Colliers Engineering & Design in all of the infrastructure work that they do for clients — for Harrison Street investments. Because Colliers Engineering & Design has an expertise in hospitals and education and some of the other areas that work with Harrison Street clients. All of my comments really take into consideration any assumptions relating to the leverage we can get between those areas. And the same applies at Colliers Mortgage. Colliers Mortgages you know, is focused on multifamily, seniors, student financing.

That’s the work we specialize in with agency lenders. Needless to say, Harrison Street is a leader in that area. We’ve just scratched the surface of the opportunities to cross-sell that service. And again, it creates another great opportunity for us to enhance the overall Colliers proposition globally actually.

Stephen MacLeodBMO Capital Markets Equity Research — Analyst

Yes, that’s very interesting. Is that something that you would expect maybe like is that more of a medium term opportunity from where you sit today? Those cross-selling opportunities?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

I think so, Stephen. I didn’t even mention project management, which is another. As we have curated our business, and we’ve done this for many years, curated a business, a market-leading professional service companies that have leverage between them and project management is just another example. When a construction site, whether it’s a hospital or whether it’s a seniors or whether it’s an academic facility, they need somebody to manage the construction project, which may take three years or five years, and it’s a great opportunity for our project management people. We’re seeing that in Asia in several markets. We’re starting to see it in North America.

All of those, I would say, are near-term opportunities. Our people are actively working together. We have gone through the laborious task of rebranding in a bunch of areas, as you know. All of that just strengthens the possibility of cross-selling these services. So we’re excited about it and think over the next 12 to 18 months, we’re going to see more of those synergistic opportunities start to translate into greater revenue streams on higher margins.

Stephen MacLeodBMO Capital Markets Equity Research — Analyst

That’s great color. And then maybe just one final one. With respect to — it might be too soon to think about. But with respect to the dividend, is it possible to expect a return to growth on the dividend as you sort of exit the pandemic? Or is it maybe too soon to talk about right now?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

It’s an interesting question, Steve. We’ve been talking about just that. And I’m probably getting ahead of myself here a little bit. But as a more recurring and resilient company, one might think that a small — and any dividend, as you know, that we would pay would be a modest dividend, but we’ve had the same [Indecipherable] the past five years.

And should we consider increasing that dividend, it’s something that I think our Board has already begun discussing and something that we’ll look at later in the year as we progress, but it is very much on our radar.

Stephen MacLeodBMO Capital Markets Equity Research — Analyst

Okay, that’s great. thank you Jay.

Operator

Our next question comes from Frederic Bastien with Raymond James.

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

Hi good morning guys. First question, probably for Christian. I was wondering if you could provide the organic growth that was achieved in the Americas for the quarter, you used to break down what was acquired and what was organic. So I was wondering if you could provide that amount of color.

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

In the Americas?

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

Yup.

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Around 3%.

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

Okay. That’s good. With respect to Colliers Mortgage, I think one of the opportunities you were targeting was increased share of Fannie Mae business down the road. Can you maybe discuss how that initiative is going?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. I mean, Colliers Mortgage had a very strong first quarter. Total volumes were up 40%, and that includes Fannie Mae volumes. Colliers Mortgage, we’ve been a very small player in the Fannie Mae space. There’s 26 [Fannie Mae] delegated underwriter servicer partners in the U.S. and Colliers Mortgage is one of the smaller ones. So it’s tremendous upside for us in terms of being able to leverage the scale of the Colliers platform, the multifamily sales professionals that we have in Colliers to cross-sell debt services. And then we’re working on that.

We’ve been successful in a few cases already. So I think in terms of your original question, increasing our market share. Certainly, something we’re focused on. I think we’re moving the needle already, although it is early days on that. I’d also add that we’ve been successful in having some cross-sell with Harrison Street and Harrison Street sourced some debt financing through Colliers Mortgage. So again, early days on that, but we are pursuing that and excited about the possibilities for future growth through that channel as well.

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

Okay. And just for context, you mentioned 40% growth. Do you have stats for the industry as a whole? Or is this too broad of a sector to track?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

I don’t have stats at this time [for Q1.]

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

Okay. Last one for me. I mean, you bought a small engineering design business in the South. Based on my math and my knowledge of the sector, it feels like it’s a $5 million business annually. I mean, what sort of potential do you see for Colliers E&D on a go-forward basis? Are we going to see more of those little tuck-ins? Or should we think about something larger down the road?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

I think that there’s going to be — it’s a mixed bag. There are some very large ones. They’re all over the map. We’re interested in smaller ones that can really augment our operations or give us additional scale in a market. But Fred, I know you cover the industry. Any good ideas that you have, you know my phone number. So we’d be active, and we would look at it very closely.

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

All right. Noted. Thank you. And best of luck to John. Hopefully, I mean, he’s not on the call, but please pass on the my best wishes.

Operator

Our next question comes from Stephen Sheldon with William Blair.

Stephen Hardy SheldonWilliam Blair & Company L.L.C. — Analyst

Hi, thanks. First I wanted to pass along my appreciation to John for all his time over the years and well wishes on his retirement. I guess going back over the last four years, for adjusted EBITDA and kind of the normal seasonality you see, the first quarter, I think, is typically represented on average, 13% of the full year number, you go back to last year, I think it was 15% first quarter representing the full year 2020 adjusted EBITDA, even when activity fell up drastically over the rest of the year. If I — even at the high end of your guidance, the 30% adjusted EBITDA growth, your first quarter adjusted EBITDA that you just reported would represent almost 20% the full year estimate.

So I guess, are there onetime items that may have boosted profit in the quarter or return of some cost that will have a bigger impact over the remainder of the year? And just generally, I guess, how conservative have you been in the profit guidance?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. Stephen, it’s a great question. There isn’t one item that not — there’s no nonrecurring or unusual items. The only thing I would tell you is that we have two significant acquisitions, Colliers Engineering and Colliers Mortgage that were not owned in Q1 of last year. So that is a significant effect. And those required in June of last year and July of last year. So you guys got to keep that in mind, if you look at the seasonality of the business because those businesses are more recurring in nature. The Engineering business has long-term contracts. The Mortgage business has loan servicing activities that are recurring in nature. And of course, as we talked about the origination volumes at Colliers Mortgage have been strong as well. So those are impacting the results.

Stephen Hardy SheldonWilliam Blair & Company L.L.C. — Analyst

Got it. So as those continue to scale, it might influence the normal seasonality that you’ve seen at least historically? Is that kind of?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. I think so. As we add businesses like that, the [Indecipherable] business overall, I think will diminish because we’ve got a larger base of recurring revenues and recurring cash flows.

Stephen Hardy SheldonWilliam Blair & Company L.L.C. — Analyst

Got it. Okay. Makes sense. As we think about AUM and investment management in the second quarter, you might have said something about this, I missed exactly what you said, but would a lot of the benefit from the record fundraising in the first quarter spillover into the second quarter? And I guess, just ask another way, should we be expecting another strong sequential uptick in AUM in the second quarter?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. I think the the fundraising activity comes first, then the fee revenue comes second as that capital is deployed into active and working investments. So we definitely expect a strong second quarter in terms of our management fee revenues and in turn our — and also our EBITDA in that segment based on our success. Raising — increasing AUM over the past 12 months.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

But what I would add to that is that the momentum — fundraising momentum has continued at Harrison Street post the end of the quarter.

Unidentified Participant

Good to hear, congrats on results.

Operator

Our next question comes from Rick Skidmore with Goldman Sachs.

Richard Wynn SkidmoreGoldman Sachs Group, Inc. — Analyst

Thank you. Good morning. Just a follow-up on the leasing question around office. You’ve been hearing from office landlords that activities picked up significantly over the last couple of months, specifically in urban markets like New York City. Are you hearing, seeing the same thing? And is that showing up in your leasing pipeline as you go forward?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Well, I’m not sure we’re seeing that. It’s interesting data, though, and I’d love to hear it. But there is a lot of uncertainty still. Now it’s market for market. It’s industry for industry. There’s people in the marketplace that are looking at opportunities to secure low renewals at current rates. There’s other people are just sitting on their hands. So it will be interesting to see what happens to leasing for us in the second quarter. But as you can see in the first quarter, it’s still relatively flat or it’s up, it’s up, but it’s not where it should be and better, but not where it should be. So I think with leasing, I’m not sure I’m ready to make the prediction that you’re hearing from some of the office landlords.

Richard Wynn SkidmoreGoldman Sachs Group, Inc. — Analyst

Got it. Thanks. That’s helpful. One other question circling back on the Engineering & Design business, I believe that you talked about in a prior call that, that business could scale from $100 million to something much more meaningful than that? And under the Biden plan, stimulus dollars, infrastructure spending, how are you seeing that business sort of — the pipeline build in that business as you look forward? Thanks.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

So that business today is circa $300 million in revenue on a run rate basis. The pipeline is very strong, and everybody is talking about the increased allocation to infrastructure around the Biden plan. And what they’re also talking about, and this is impacting acquisitions everywhere is the capital gains rate changes, and that’s encouraging many to — that had discussed things with us historically to come back and talk seriously. So we are actually very busy in our M&A area and expect to be so for the balance of the year. And that’s coming from virtually all segments of our business.

And this is a perfect time for us. And for Engineering and Project Management, the Biden plan is a great benefit. And capital gains rate changes are encouraging those people and others to really take another look at crystallizing a transaction earlier than normal.

Richard Wynn SkidmoreGoldman Sachs Group, Inc. — Analyst

Great. Thank you for those comments. And then one last question for Christian. You mentioned the $145 million of costs that were reduced in 2020. How much of that do you think could be permanently removed? Or does that 100 — entire $145 million come back? Thanks.

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. I mean, our expectation is that we’re not going to return all those costs of the business. That is something that I think I mentioned before was a goal of ours. If we can be successful in returning 80% of those costs, and not returning 20%. More importantly, not returning those 20%, that would be our objective.

Richard Wynn SkidmoreGoldman Sachs Group, Inc. — Analyst

Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Daryl Young with TD Securities.

Daryl YoungTD Securities Equity Research — Analyst

Good morning guys. Just two quick questions for me. The first would be, and I’m not sure if you can answer this, but you’ve done a lot of people moves in the last year and some high-quality hires. Just wondering, are you changing at all the strategy for how the various regions operate. Is there more decentralized going forward with more levels of management? Or maybe you could just provide a little bit of color there.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Yes. So decentralization has been a core of ours forever. So the decentralization aspect of your question isn’t going to change. We — one of the silver linings of the pandemic has been the opportunity to top grade some of our key leadership. Unfortunately, we had a great guy pass away from cancer in Asia. It gave us a great opportunity to merge our Asia Pacific operations under an incredible leader and a 30-year player with Colliers, a guy by the name of John Kenny. And we’re seeing tremendous enhancements and top grades of people in Asia Pacific. The same holds true in EMEA, market for market, we’ve used the opportunity to reevaluate people and elevate some internally in Europe and bring in other proven leaders to help drive our business to the next level.

And so I would say that top grading leadership is a current and ongoing role and responsibility that we have but COVID created an accelerated opportunity to top grade, people were really reevaluating their life. They were reevaluating their current employer. They wanted to come to an organization that was entrepreneurial and enterprising and less bureaucratic. And probably most importantly, as you started with decentralized. So great leaders could make decisions on the front line every day. And that’s been the core of the Colliers way in building our business. So we think that we’re coming out of this pandemic, stronger than ever in terms of our leadership teams and excited about the next round of growth and getting back to normal.

Daryl YoungTD Securities Equity Research — Analyst

Excellent. And in the past, I think, on the broker side, specifically, you mentioned there can be a bit of a lag from the time that you bring over top talent to when it turns into transactions. Would we expect sort of a similar in this environment? Or would that have changed where it would be maybe more rapid?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Well, I mean, typically, it’s mostly in North America, phenomenal, a little bit in EMEA. But typically, when you bring over a producer, it does — there is a lag of having them generate revenue streams. They would have come from an environment where there was a lag already, given the pandemic. We took — we’ve taken that as an opportunity to restructure our recruiting deals to smooth it out over a longer period of time. But yes, I mean, whatever you’re bringing in proven performers, there is a drag, which is an expense to our current results. But an expense that we think warrants the high-return we get on bringing in some of these great people.

Daryl YoungTD Securities Equity Research — Analyst

Got it. Great results. Thats it from me, thanks guys.

Operator

Our next question comes from Matt Logan with RBC.

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Thank you and good morning. Christian, the midpoint of your 2021 guidance calls for revenue growth of about 23%. Can you talk a little bit about the split between the organic and the acquisition components?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. Yes. I mean I think in rough terms, 1/3 to 1/4 will be acquired and the balance will be organic growth when you look at it at the midpoint.

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

And if we bifurcate that a little bit further, how should we think about the organic growth between recurring services and the brokerage businesses?

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

Yes. I mean, the brokerage service, obviously they are going to have higher rates of growth as they recover from last year. And the recurring services are, I would expect low to mid-single digits from those on a full year basis.

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

And when we kind of look at your — when we look at your leading indicators such as confidentiality agreements, letters of intent. Would you say those leading indicators are up relative to Q4 or holding more or less steady?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Are you talking about acquisition pipeline?

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

For brokerage.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Brokerage. I don’t think we track NDAs in our brokerage operations centrally. Obviously, they’re in place on every transaction. But I don’t — I don’t think we track — and we’ve ever tracked that.

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

No, not like that. I mean certainly, our pipelines that we have some visibility to in the short term, and that is factored into our forecast and outlook for the year. At the same time, the further out you go, to looking at the transactional pipeline, the less certainty there is, and there’s still a great degree of uncertainty. There are in various parts of the world. So that’s what leads to this relatively broad range of revenue expectations that we have in the report that we published this morning.

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Understood. But suffice it to say, the pipeline that you have remains more or less unchanged since Q4?

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

No. I think it’s more powerful today than it was at the end of Q4, which is natural given that we hope, especially in markets like the U.S. and some of the others that we are coming back to more of a business environment that’s conducive to more capital markets and more leasing transactions. So our pipelines are much better, actually.

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

I appreciate that. And maybe just changing gears. You talked about the growth in the run rate revenues for your Engineering & Design business, how would that compare for your Mortgage business relative to when you acquired it?

Operator

The Mortgage businesses had significant growth since we acquired it. We have benefited from, as I mentioned, cross-selling to our Colliers multifamily sales professionals to Harrison Street in the funds where they need debt financing on assets. So those things have helped. The economic environment has helped as well. In the last quarter of 2020, Colliers Mortgage had record activity levels because of the refinancing activity that was occurring because of low interest rates. So the run rate — revenue activity in mortgage has increased materially since we bought that business on June 1st of 2020.

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

Ok I appreciate the commentary i’ll turn it back thank you. And I’m not showing any further questions at this time. I’d like to turn the call back over to Jay Hennick for any closing remarks.

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, operator, and thanks, everyone, for participating in today’s call, and we look forward to having a positive result in the second quarter as well. Thank you for participating.

Operator

[Operator Closing Remarks]

Duration: 47 minutes

Call participants:

Jay Stewart HennickGlobal Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Christian MayerChief Financial Officer

George DoumetScotiabank Global Banking and Markets — Analyst

Stephen MacLeodBMO Capital Markets Equity Research — Analyst

Frederic BastienRaymond James Ltd. — Analyst

Stephen Hardy SheldonWilliam Blair & Company L.L.C. — Analyst

Unidentified Participant

Richard Wynn SkidmoreGoldman Sachs Group, Inc. — Analyst

Daryl YoungTD Securities Equity Research — Analyst

Matt LoganRBC Capital Markets — Analyst

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