WATCH: Compass CEO on “weaponized narratives,” takeover rumors and cash burn

"We've had competitors leading with negativity," Reffkin says at TRD forum

Just an hour before Robert Reffkin had to update investors about Compass’ third-quarter results – a quarter in which the brokerage lost $154 million and its revenue fell 14 percent year-over-year – he appeared on stage with The Real Deal to discuss his company’s financial health and his approach to agents, rivals and investors.

Reffkin addressed the fact that Compass’ market cap was several hundreds of millions of dollars under what the company had raised from investors, by saying that “the world has shifted overnight.”

“We went from investors saying ‘I want companies to grow, grow, grow, grow’ – and we did what they wanted – and now investors want you to focus on profit, and so we’re shifting,” he told TRD‘s Amir Korangy at the publication’s South Florida Showcase + Forum Thursday.

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And he emphasized, to a room chock-full of cheering Compass agents, that the company would remain obsessively focused on improving the agent experience.

“Every time you read a headline that says Compass lost money,” he said, “what it is saying that Compass decided to invest more in the future of the agent than other companies – that’s all it’s saying.”

Korangy asked Reffkin about how he dealt with being the residential industry’s boogeyman – the individual that all the other firms’ leaders and agents love to hate on.

“Every day of the last 10 years we’ve had competitors leading with negative narratives,” Reffkin said. “This industry is full of a level of vitriol and negativity that I’ve never seen.”

Watch the video above for the full conversation with Reffkin. And see more highlights from the event here.