FRIS: ‘For us, real contact with our clients is crucial’



These days, offers by service providers to relieve clients of all concerns is all too common. However, FRIS Real People turns this offer into meaningful and practical service. Marc Poelmann (FRIS Investment Care), Marc van Kampen (FRIS Commercial Property Agents) and Jelle Straatsma (FRIS Valuations) explain how they make this happen. ‘We collaborate and partner with our customers, with the aim of giving them a real business advantage.’


We do this in the fields of residential and commercial real estate agency services, residential and commercial property management, research & consultancy, valuations, insurance and, since early 2023, recruitment and selection. In this, its Centennial year, FRIS can rightly be described as an extremely versatile service provider in the real estate world – to say the least! We’ll highlight three FRIS services here, starting with property management in general, and management for foreign clients in particular.

“We pay attention to the commercial, technical and administrative aspects.”

Marc Poelmann is managing director of FRIS Investment Care, servicing private and institutional investors in the field of commercial property management. He explains what FRIS means by ‘relieving clients’ concerns’. ‘We manage the technical side, ensuring that properties are, and remain, well maintained. We arrange installation, gardening and roofing services, for instance, to ensure that everything is technically in order. We also take care of the administrative side, for instance rent collection. And, of course, the commercial aspect, ensuring good-quality tenancies.’ And ESG is always fully in focus. ‘Both in our relationships with our clients and with our tenants. Our clients are, themselves, increasingly aware of ESG. It plays an important role, for instance, in their mission and vision statements, and it’s also increasingly a topic with tenants. It was once difficult to make a good business case for ESG, but nowadays everyone is on the same page, which makes things much simpler.’

Foreign clients

Interestingly, more than half of FRIS Investment Care’s turnover comes from foreign investors. They are from England, Sweden, Israel and France, but mostly from Germany. ‘It’s the way things have developed’, says Poelmann. ‘Hans Peter Fris and I have been visiting the EXPO REAL fair in Munich for more than 20 years. We’ve had conversations there with many people. And once you’ve acquired one customer, for whom things go well, more soon follow. As a result, we now count many German funds, insurance companies and banks among our clients.’

“We are one of the largest, independent property consultants in the Netherlands”

Zero margin of error

How does FRIS so effectively attract German clients? ‘Countries have different ways of reporting. So too Germany, where BaFin – the German regulator and the equivalent of our AFM – has set its own requirements and rules. We specialise in fitting our system to the German systems. In the process, we have automated our reports, reducing the margin of error to zero.’


According to Poelmann, FRIS independence also helps in expanding its foreign customer base. ‘We are one of the largest, independent property consultants in the Netherlands. And we are not part of an international chain, which makes us attractive to foreign clients who want to work with a local, Dutch player.’


Another division of FRIS Real People is FRIS Commercial Property Agents. Marc van Kampen has been its manager since 2022. ‘We serve all segments when it comes to finding and leasing out rental properties, and buying and selling commercial property’, he says. ‘From offices and other business premises to logistic and retail space.’ He explains that all of these market segments face hefty challenges today. ‘High inflation rates are a challenge to all tenants. In the past year, they have all been confronted with indexations from 4.5 percent to as much as 14 percent.’

Focus on sustainability

As if that, in itself, is not enough, they also all face high energy and personnel costs. ‘The focus on sustainability is also relevant here, with sustainable accommodation additionally impacting both total rental cost and total cost of ownership. Furthermore, each sub-segment is subject to its own, individual trends. For instance online retail competition, and hybrid working in the office segment.’ Investors are also suffering. ‘They are struggling with high interest rates, especially since the outbreak of war in Ukraine. This, among other things, makes financing difficult and may soon force refinancing, or even result in forced sales.’


“Our ability to be flexible derives from the fact that we are more compact than other companies”

Added value

According to Van Kampen, FRIS offers added value as a commercial property agent, and certainly in this highly dynamic market. ‘We have been around for 100 years. And over this period we have accumulated an enormous amount of knowledge and expertise. Not to mention a huge network. On top of that, we have our own marketing and research departments, which respectively provide support via, among other methods, the use of modern marketing tools, and the collection and analysis of market data. As a result, we know the market very well and can provide targeted, data-driven, proactive advice to our clients. For example, we can target potential tenants very specifically, based on target group and data analysis in a particular area.’

Network organisations

The clients that Van Kampen talks about are largely in the Amsterdam metropolitan region – in particular Amsterdam Zuidoost, the southern and northern banks of the Ij river, Diemen, Duivendrecht, and Amstel III – but also throughout the Netherlands – and far beyond its borders. ‘This is a function of network organisations, to which we belong as the sole Dutch member. These are, for instance, DIP (Deutsche Immobilien Partner), the German network organisation of renowned brokers and real estate specialists, and CORFAC, the international global network organisation of professional, independent real estate consultants.’

Valuation issues

Valuation is yet another part of the FRIS palette of services. Jelle Straatsma is one of our business appraisers. His explanation of the type of properties FRIS values is simple. ‘Basically, pretty much everything! FRIS has traditionally specialised in the valuation of residential investment properties, but we also value business premises, offices, retail spaces, private homes and recreational homes. The last-mentioned is a relatively recent addition, as we believe there are interesting returns to be had in this segment. We also value wholesale real estate.’

Large-scale projects

Wholesale property valuations are more complicated, involving, for example, properties worth more than EUR 5 million, large-scale development projects and properties with complex leasehold aspects. Straatsma is responsible for wholesale valuations. ‘I used to deal mainly with hospitality-related real estate, for a previous employer. I was pleased to be able to broaden my horizons at FRIS. Valuation may sound a bit stuffy, but for me it’s fun and varied work. It’s about numbers, but you also meet all kinds of people – from tenants to people with extensive property portfolios – and you get an insider view of a wide variety of property types.’

No valuation challenge is too complex for Straatsma and his colleagues. ‘We can solve the vast majority of issues in-house. And for highly specific questions, we can always draw on the expertise of our network. So, one way or the other, we always deliver a valuation solution.’


Personal approach

FRIS has a wide variety of specialised skills and resources, but the common thread that unites all of them is our personal, low-threshold, collaborative, customer-centric, flexible approach. (See box.) Straatsma gets specific,  ‘Phone FRIS and you get to deal with a real person, who makes time for you, collaborates with you, really tries to help you. To give an example from my department – suppose someone wants a simple valuation for refinancing an investment property. And suppose initial research shows that the property only just fails to qualify for rental on the open market.  Elsewhere, a customer will just get a valuation report accompanied by that disappointing message – and that’s it.  We go further. We look at what needs to be done to exceed the requirements for social rental and to qualify for rental on the open market.’ For example, it may be advisable that our client would be better off acquiring an energy rating (‘label’), before having the property valued. We like to view such situations from the point of view of what will most benefit our client.’

Poelmann also emphasises the customer-oriented, flexible attitude of his colleagues at FRIS.  ‘Our flexibility derives from the fact that we are more compact than other companies’ This allows us to easily and fully adapt to our customers’ needs. Whether a client wants a monthly report in format A, or a quarterly report in format B, for instance, neither are a problem for us.’

Real People

‘The greatest value in our organisation lies in people. Which is why we’re called FRIS Real People – as opposed to real estate’, says managing director Hans Peter Fris. ‘We do everything we can to strengthen the bond with our people, to make them feel at home, to make them part of the FRIS family.’ Marc Poelmann adds, ‘We invest heavily in being a good employer. FRIS Academy, FRIS Young Professionals and FRIS Senior Professionals, for instance, have been set up for the benefit of our employees. We also benchmark our salaries annually. Which all contributes to a below-average staff turnover.  In fact, FRIS benefits from a very high level of staff loyalty.’

However, for FRIS, being in the Real People business is not just about our employees, it’s also very much about our clients,  who experience the personal attention of FRIS staff, our proactive approach and the warm, long-term relationships that FRIS always strives to build. Says Marc van Kampen, ‘Real contact with our clients is crucial for us’.



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