Meet Buzzacott's new Head of Real Estate, Phil Westerman

Member News
September 9, 2021 - Buzzacott

PrimeGlobal member firm Buzzacott from the United Kingdom are proud to introduce their new Head of Real Estate, Phil Westerman.  Phil joined Buzzacott in February 2021 and heads up their real estate sector specialism. In this article, he shares why he’s so passionate about the sector, a few of his career highlights, and how real estate businesses can best prepare for the year ahead.

Tell us more about Buzzacott's new real estate sector specialism   

Buzzacott has lots of real estate clients and expertise within the practice, though to date, this has never been brought together as a wider service offering to the sector. By creating a new real estate specialism, Buzzacott will bring together their services to provide joined-up commercially driven advice to the sector.

Buzzacott's objective is to be known as the first choice and stand-out advisor to small and medium-sized real estate businesses. We combine commercial understanding and appreciation of the challenges businesses are facing with deep technical expertise, and our relationship focussed approach is specifically tailored to meet the needs of our individual clients. This approach ensures we provide an excellent service in our own unique way to make sure working with the Buzzacott real estate team is a really positive experience for our clients.

Now that you’ve been at Buzzacott a few months, how does it compare to being part of a larger firm?

The environment is very different both culturally and operationally. At Buzzacott, we have a pragmatic and straightforward approach to working with minimal red tape that enables us to deliver high-quality services in an efficient manner. The team are very close knit, so collaboration and communication are easier and better. This allows us to spend time getting to know clients’ businesses and build relationships, something that was becoming harder and harder in a larger corporate environment. I have really enjoyed my first few months with the firm and have been really impressed with the quality and professionalism of the team and with the support I have received to develop the real estate specialism. 

What do you like most about working in the sector?

An important part of our role as advisors is to understand the business, its plans, and current projects. Being able to actually go and take a tour around live property developments as they progress, visit construction sites to understand the status of projects and issues they are dealing with, and then see the finished “product” is something that I’ve always enjoyed. It’s a nice change from being in the office at a computer and adds valuable insight to help us give better more relevant support.

What are the biggest challenges facing the sector?

There is still a lot of uncertainty as the world rebalances post pandemic. This uncertainty is driving change in demand for real estate, for example, commercial office space, and in some areas reduced rent or increased vacancies, which is presenting challenges for landlords. Access to finance for new commercial developments may be restricted and there is still a shortage of residential housing supply. These challenges also present opportunities for businesses who are prepared to be flexible in how they work and adapt their historic practices to be fit for the future. Businesses that embrace the changes which have impacted the real estate sector over the last 18 months and accept the changing landscape are more likely to be successful.

Three top tips for clients over the coming year

  1. Engage and communicate with your advisors – there is a lot going on in the UK at the moment and advisors are well placed to support you, and to give views and opinions on what they are seeing in the wider market place.
  2. Times are uncertain but this is presenting opportunity as well as challenges – be confident in your business and business model and be prepared to take advantage of opportunities that arise.
  3. Retain focus on the medium/longer term despite the inevitable immediate pressures for some businesses in managing through the current challenges – this will enable you to set yourselves up for longer-term success.

Tell us about a career highlight

There are lots!  Becoming a partner in 2007 and winning my first audit engagement that year with a small start-up business and developing that relationship over the last 14 years, to working with some of the most well-known names in the high street and winning the audit of a large FTSE 250 construction business. And of course having the opportunity to join Buzzacott in February 2021 - my career highlights are yet to come. 

Who would be your ideal client and why? 

I enjoy working with businesses that have ambitious growth plans, a strong brand and a clear vision. And with business leaders who involve you in that vision and planning, value the services we provide, and who I can have an open and honest dialogue with. Put those things together and you have the makings of an excellent client relationship that is both professional and enjoyable.

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At Buzzacott we are trusted for the experience we have, the specialisms we understand, the relationships we build and the values we live by. We define ourselves by the needs of our clients, large and small, and we work hard to build and maintain relationships that are personal, collaborative and enduring – to be a partner you can trust. We blend pragmatism and front-line experience with the insightful knowledge of an industry leader. Our 400+ staff work cooperatively in specialist teams under one roof to tailor-make solutions for you. We’re big enough to display deep knowledge over a broad range of specialisms, and small enough to understand the power of personal connections.

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