A quartet of top-producing sales brokers has left Cushman & Wakefield to join rival brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis. The brokers — Lizann McGowan, Michael Blunt, Robert Fahey and Michael Hines — all worked with Cushman & Wakefield’s Philadelphia office.

"The addition of this diverse team of investment property experts accelerates our position in the regional market and more importantly, it strengthens our ability to provide our clients maximum value and best practice services, " says Robert Walters, senior managing director of CBRE’s Greater Philadelphia Metro.

CBRE, which last week announced plans for a $150 initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, did not disclose how much it spent on signing bonuses for the brokers. According to CBRE, the team has consistently been among the highest-ranking national producers-completing transactions valued at more than $6 billion over the past 10 years, and they bring a diverse range of specialties, including CBD and suburban office, retail, industrial and multi-housing.

"Robert Fahey and Michael Hines are star investment brokers, both veterans in the industry with a combined 40 years of experience," says Gregory Vorwaller, president of investment properties for CBRE. "Their arrival, together with colleagues Michael Blunt and Lizann McGowan, catapults us to the No. 1 position as investment sales experts in the greater Philadelphia marketplace."

John Derham, senior managing director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Philadelphia office, says two of the four brokers were consistently ranked on Cushman & Wakefield’s list of top 100 producers. When asked how his office would regroup in the wake of the team’s departure, Derham responded that "both internal and external searches will take place."

Within the past year, CBRE has repeatedly tapped Cushman & Wakefield’s deep bench of sales brokers. In January 2003, CBRE hired star Dallas sales broker Jack Fraker from Cushman. Fraker — who spent 15 years with Cushman — reportedly collected a seven-figure signing bonus from CBRE. In 2002, CBRE netted two of Cushman & Wakefield’s top sales brokers in Manhattan, Darcy Stacom and Bill Shanahan, who also were rewarded with hefty signing bonuses by CBRE.

"The platform we have here is a magnet. We were the No. 1 sales organization last year," says Steven Iaco, a CBRE spokesman. Indeed, Real Capital Analytics reports that CBRE brokered $5.4 billion worth of office sales during 2003 alone. No. 2 on the list was Eastdil at $5 billion. Cushman & Wakefield ranked No. 3 at $2.5 billion.