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A veteran five-person squad specializing in international transactions at Brown Harris Stevens has defected to Engel & Volkers, which plans to open its first Manhattan brokerage at 430 Park Ave. by year end.

After announcing its foray into the New York market in May, a real estate brokerage based in Germany has poached its first team from one of New York City’s top outfits. Engel & Volkers, an international brokerage that deals in residential and commercial properties as well as yachts, has hired the Howard Morrel team from Brown Harris Stevens, the German firm announced Tuesday. The five-person squad is led by Howard Morrel and Leslie Hirsch and will focus on leveraging its new employer’s global connections.

“Being international is a lot more than just pins on a map,” said Stuart Siegel, who signed on as chief executive of Engel & Volkers New York Real Estate in February. “It’s about infrastructure and how to tie [the Howard Morrel team] to other top agents around the world.” To do that, Engel & Volkers uses a central database that connects its offices around the world, including company-owned brokerages such as the firm’s upcoming New York City location, and its independently owned franchises, which make up the bulk of its operations. Mr. Siegel, for example, keeps in regular contact with offices across the globe, such as in Hong Kong, to see if there are any leads that might produce deals stateside.
Members of the Howard Morrel team bring with them years of experience working heavily with the international crowd during their time at Brown Harris Stevens. What’s more, the team includes bilingual brokers who can deal with clients from China, Russia or South America, among others.
“In the majority of our transactions, one of the two parties is not based in New York,” Mr. Siegel said, noting that the team has collectively sold more than $1 billion worth of real estate over a 15-year period, including two transactions this summer that topped $15 million. Engel & Volkers is set to open its office at 430 Park Ave. by the end of the year.