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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Will Moscow's Forum Fit in With Europe's?

The recent arrival of the Moscow Research Forum is most welcome, but in its present form, it raises more questions than answers. There is little doubt that in today's market there is a need for standards and definitions on which market players can confidently rely. But while welcoming the initiative, market commentators might also question the motives of the firms involved in the launch of what should be a more technical exercise than marketing. The essence of the forum should be to inform rather than advise.

The property research forum is in fact a European initiative first developed in Budapest by the four largest global property advisory firms: DTZ, Jones Lang Le Salle, Richard Ellis and Healey & Baker/Cushman & Wakefield. The forum was then introduced in Warsaw, Prague and, most recently, Paris. There is already a commitment to introduce the formula of these European forums to other locations across Europe, including Moscow.

There are a number of reasons why such a forum is needed in the Moscow real estate market.

Clients would no longer need to establish their own market overview figures based on different information received from their real estate advisers -- even more essential in the light of the expected entry of foreign investors on the Moscow market.

The adoption of common standards is essential in the promotion of inward investment.

The shared data in relatively closed but developing markets will aid the move to greater transparency.

Following the successes of the research forums in Central Europe, it is essential that the improved accessibility of research material be replicated in other markets. While some of the forums' pan-European definitions have been adopted or partially used by the proposed Moscow Research Forum, there are serious omissions and anomalies. For example, the proposal to allow the forum's individual members to create sub-definitions within the context of standard definitions, seems to be rather self-defeating. Inevitably these exceptions will call into question the veracity of local information in a broader, European context. The adoption of definitions already widely in use throughout Europe would provide consistency throughout the region and greatly benefit users of information, both local and international.

Stephen Wilson is managing director of DTZ Zadelhoff Tie Leung's Moscow office. Svetlana Karlova is manager of business development and research.