Chris Cortazzo closed more than $554 million in sales last year and was the third-ranked agent in the country, according to Real Trends.

Chris Cortazzo, Coldwell Banker’s most productive agent and the third-ranking agent in the country by sales volume according to Real Trends, is making the move to Compass.

Chris Cortazzo

Chris Cortazzo

Cortazzo, also California’s top agent by sales volume, closed more than $554 million in sales last year for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Southern California, part of NRT, Realogy’s owned brokerage. He’s been the top agent in Malibu and Southern California for 17 straight years, according to Compass.

“I hold the level of my client service in high regard,” Cortazzo said in a statement. “The tools and support system that Compass has built will allow me to offer my clients innovative and valuable services, ultimately taking my business to an even higher level.”

The Malibu native is bringing a number of high-priced listings with him to Compass, including a $65 million waterfront home designed by Guy Dreir, a 4.47-acre home asking $62 million and a newly constructed home on Carbon Beach asking $34.5 million.

Cortazzo’s team of 12 agents and five-person support staff will be joining him in making the move to Compass. He’s only behind Ben Caballero of and Christian Angle of Christian Angle Real Estate on the Real Trends Thousand.

In a statement, NRT CEO Ryan Gorman said Cortazzo has been an integral part of Coldwell Banker for many years and wished him the best.

“Chris will always be part of the Coldwell Banker family, and we look forward to continuing to work with him on transactions in Malibu,” Gorman said. “Both Coldwell Banker and Chris Cortazzo have very bright futures – together, separately, and perhaps together again in the days ahead.”

Cortazzo will join the company’s Southern California office which is no stranger to Coldwell Banker agents. In October, a team of 17 jumped from Coldwell Banker to Compass.

“We are excited and honored to welcome one of the most respected names in the industry,” Compass President of Southern California, Kamini Lane, Compass’ president of Southern California, said in a statement. “[Cortazzo’s] success is rooted in his professionalism, exceptional client service, and charismatic personality. We are thrilled to bring Compass’ proprietary technology, tools, and programs to build [Cortazzos’] business even further.”

The addition of Cortazzo comes at a time when Coldwell Banker’s parent company, Realogy, is suing Compass, “unfair business practices and illegal schemes to gain market share at all costs.”

In the lawsuit filing, Realogy alleges, “Compass offers compensation packages to competitors’ employees and real estate agents that are so inflated that Compass is sure to operate at a loss, and not just in the short term.”

“Compass has leveraged more than $1 billion in funding from outside investors to make up for the losses it has incurred by grossly overpaying-and thus poaching-its competitors’ employees and independent real estate agents,” the complaint continues.

Compass declined to comment on the commission splits offered to Cortazzo and whether they are any different than what other Compass agents get, as well as any potential signing bonus it may have offered to Cortazzo.

The addition of the high-profile agent also comes a week after Compass announced a new $370 million funding round, bringing its valuation to $6.4 billion, according to a Compass source. The company has raised $1.5 billion from venture capital funds to date.

In a statement at the time, the company said the intention of the new funding round was to further develop the company’s end-to-end technology platform. It also clearly gives them an influx of new cash to go after high profile agents in its quest to gain 20 percent of market share in the top 20 markets by 2020.

UPDATE: Updated with comment from NRT CEO Ryan Gorman. 

Email Patrick Kearns

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