Finance  ·  Analysis

Newmark Snags Another Big Fish: Industry Vet Bill Fishel Jumps Firms

Longtime head of JLL’s LA office has joined Newmark’s debt, equity and structured finance group

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The shark of Newmark (NMRK) strikes again. 

Capital markets veteran Bill Fishel has left his longtime team at JLL (JLL) to join Barry Gosin’s Newmark, which seems to be poaching industry all-stars from the brokerage community almost annually. 

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After 14 years at JLL, where he served as senior managing director and co-headed the firm’s Los Angeles office, Fishel has joined Newmark’s debt, equity and structured finance group, where he will serve as executive vice chairman. He began July 10. 

“I knew that this team was really, really good … and I knew as a competitor of theirs for years that they were going to have acumen and ability at the very highest level,” Fishel told Commercial Observer. “But what I, candidly, didn’t know — and couldn’t fully appreciate until I was in the room, piercing that veil, having these discussions — was how team-oriented and collectively excited this culture is at establishing No. 1 market share in every constituent line.

“I was blown away by that and deeply humbled by people I didn’t know and hadn’t interacted with before,” he added. 

The move is yet another indicator of Newmark’s growing influence in the commercial real estate industry and its ability to attract top talent from its competitors. The firm has previously poached other leading brokers in recent years: Dustin Stolly jumped to the firm in July 2017 after nearly a decade at JLL, while Douglas Harmon and Adam Spies left Cushman & Wakefield in free agency to sign with Newmark in February 2023.  

Both moves served as inspiration for Fishel prior to his own departure this summer. 

“Thinking about Newark, and the professionals they’ve been able to recruit and retain for a long time — these are legends of the business,” he said. “When you think about the market share that the team they’ve had for a very long time and the new additions have made in each of their constituent practices, it speaks for itself.” 

Moreover, Fishel noted the new opportunity gives him time to focus more on his clients and individual deals and less on corporate culture and internal development. In his previous role at JLL, Fishel not only specialized in debt and equity placement and institutional grade assets across North American markets, but he also managed the firm’s L.A. office and co-chaired JLL’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives since 2019. 

“[I’m going] from a role in my previous job that was player, coach and partial [general manager], you name it, to being a player first,” he explained. “I think we’re going to be in a world that requires players, and that’s not over the next six to 12 months, but I think that’s going to be the next several years as our economy resets and our business transitions into whatever this next phase will be.” 

He said that Newmark’s leadership sold him on the idea of being primarily deal-focused in a chaotic market, and that the sentiment was backed up by his clients, who supported him in the jump to a new firm. 

“When they’ve told me, ‘I really want you running this deal, I want you day-to-day the one executing it,’ that’s where I want to attribute more of my time versus management and more corporate functions,” he said. “I want to be in the game because I think the game will be as interesting and dynamic as it’s ever been.”

Fishel also made sure to note that the personal touch of Newmark CEO Barry Gosin played a part in his decision. He was also lured by Newmark’s diversity credential, which he says was endorsed by others in the industry, including one of his closest mentors. 

“Barry Gosin and Newmark were at the very top of the list [of diverse firms],” he said. “To me that was meaningful.”

As someone who built his career on being an expert generalist — a broker who is equally comfortable arranging buyers with lenders as he is in managing debt and equity up and down the capital stack — Fishel is excited to tackle a challenging market, one hampered by the highest interest rates in 40 years, intractable inflation, broad liquidity pullbacks, and an unprecedented amount of distress in the national office sector. 

“[There’s] real dislocation in terms of valuation, there’s real dislocation in terms of capital pricing, and it’s dynamic and it’s scary to a lot of people,” he noted. 

“But what I’ve always appreciated and enjoyed in moments like these is information,” Fishel continued. “Information allows me to secure an opportunity to work on someone’s behalf and bring that opportunity to fruition. You don’t have information without volume, you don’t have information without transactions, and in those transactions, those individuals doing them, if they are collaborative and if they have the type of culture we have at Newark, then you have an opportunity to learn what happens behind the scenes of an opaque business.” 

Fishel points to buds of opportunity. He emphasized the trend lines that show how much institutional capital, notably high-net-worth individuals and family offices, has increased its investment share into CRE capital markets over the last 15 years. He also pointed to the rise of both nontraded and publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) as additional indicators showing real estate investment is a wave of the present and future, despite the current distress. 

“We have a business that happens to have been institutionalized at the time it was democratizing, and you put those two together and what it translates into, in today’s environment, is liquidity,” he said. “I know that we will get through this.” 

Brian Pascus can be reached at bpascus@commercialobserver.com