2016 was another year of strong progress for JLL, continuing our sustained growth trajectory. We achieved record annual fee revenue of $5.8 billion, up 14% on the previous year. Political uncertainty impacted our profit in a number of key markets, notably in the UK following June’s Brexit referendum vote, as did increased spend on technology. Adjusted net income for the year was $370 million, compared with $463 million in 2015.
Our long-term strategy to build and continuously enhance a comprehensive and balanced global platform to deliver resilient performance in diverse market conditions is bearing fruit. Cyclical declines in global leasing volumes and investment incentive fees were offset by growth in other business lines, notably Property & Facility Management and Project & Development Services, while LaSalle Investment Management grew advisory fees and also accumulated record assets under management of $60.1 billion.
We continued to invest in growth, completing 28 business acquisitions in 2016, contributing to a total of 48 over the past two years. As a consequence, a key point of focus for 2017 is to leverage the full potential of these acquisitions, which include several leading-edge technology and data-led business models, in order to drive new revenue and profit opportunities across borders and service lines.
Thinking Beyond: Achieve Ambitions
This is my first annual report as Chief Executive Officer following my appointment last October. As I said at that time, it is a great honour to be asked to lead JLL through the next chapter of its impressive and long history. Looking forward, I am truly excited and motivated by the continued growth prospects for our company around the world for many years to come. In particular, driven by our strategic vision of Thinking Beyond and our brand promise to Achieve Ambitions, we are committed to leading the digital transformation of real estate services to the lasting benefit of our clients and all of our stakeholders.
Reflecting on 2016, I would like to thank our clients for their trust in allowing us to represent their interests around the world, and also our people for their unswerving commitment to JLL’s core values of teamwork, ethics, and excellence. We are proud to have seen this acknowledged most recently by two prominent accolades: in February, Fortune magazine included JLL on its annual list of the World’s Most Admired Companies, and then in March we were named for a 10th consecutive year on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of the World’s Most Ethical Companies.
While these are collective achievements by all 77,000 JLL people around the world, they have been inspired by the exemplar y leadership over the past twelve years of one individual. On behalf of everyone at JLL, I would like to take this opportunity to again record our special thanks to Colin Dyer, who retired as CEO at the end of September 2016 and remains on our Board of Directors through May of this year.
Our global leadership team
With Colin’s retirement, we made a number of senior leadership changes over recent months, including four new appointees to our Global Executive Board (GEB). In June, Guy Grainger and Anthony Couse stepped up as CEOs for our EMEA and Asia Pacific regions, respectively, and became members of the GEB in October. Our Chief Human Resources Officer, Trish Maxson, also joined the GEB in October, followed by Richard Bloxam, Head of Global Capital Markets, in January. They join existing members Greg O’Brien – CEO Americas, Jeff Jacobson – CEO LaSalle, John Forrest – CEO Corporate Solutions, and Christie Kelly – Chief Financial Officer. Our internal promotions reflect the strength and depth of our talent pool and I would like to congratulate everyone involved on an exceptionally smooth transition. I am delighted by the quick progress being made by our global leadership team in working together to implement our Thinking Beyond strategic vision, with a clear view of the required actions and goals.
Changes on our Board of Directors
We continue to be very well guided and advised by our Board of Directors, chaired by Sheila Penrose. In July 2016, we welcomed Bridget Macaskill to the Board. Bridget is the Non-Executive Chairman of First Eagle Holdings, Inc., and formerly the Chief Executive Officer of both First Eagle and Oppenheimer Funds, Inc. Also effective July 2016, Ann Marie Petach, a JLL Director since 2015 and formerly the Chief Financial Officer of BlackRock, Inc., was appointed Chairman of the Audit Committee. Ann Marie replaced Dave Rickard, who retired from the Board during 2016, as did Roger Staubach, who continues as Chairman of our Americas region. We are grateful to both Dave and Roger for their long and valued commitment to our firm.
A confident outlook
We have seen good business momentum through the opening months of 2017, supported by encouraging pipelines of work for corporate and investor clients across all three regions. While political landscapes may continue to shift, affecting some client decision-making, we believe the general outlook for the year ahead is positive. We expect to combine continued strong revenue growth trajectory with a clear focus on maintaining our margin profile despite the strong pressures on fees and ongoing investment into technology.
The long-term trends in global corporate and investor real estate markets will create new opportunities for us to add further breadth and depth to our premium-range service offering. Our balance sheet, investment-grade ratings, and financial flexibility will enable us to maintain our growth momentum. The consistent projection of our brand promise to ‘Achieve Ambitions’ and our ongoing investments in our people and platform will further strengthen our reputation and market reach, enhancing our ability to provide our clients with the best advice and services.
At the same time, in all that we do, we will continue to partner with our clients and all our stakeholders on our commitments to Building a Better Tomorrow as part of our broader responsibilities to the communities within which we all live and work. This is another example of our strong and distinctive culture and values, which is also reflected in the selection of awards from around the world included here .
Thank you for your continued interest in JLL.
Chief Executive Officer
Chief Executive Officer
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