When did you start at Savills?
I started at Savills 24 years ago in our Knightsbridge office selling flats and new developments in Central London. In 2000 Savills identified the need for an advisory service looking after our buying clients’ best interests across the whole market. I was one of the founding members and this led in 2002 to the establishment of Prime Purchase, a wholly owned but independent subsidiary of Savills. I worked for London clients before setting up Prime Purchase in the South representing buying clients advising on Country Houses, Farms and Estates. I moved back to London when I became Managing Director and ran the business until 2015 when I returned to Savills to head up the Savills International Residential team.
How has the business grown in the private client world?
Savills has over 600 offices around the world and I co-ordinate Savills Residential offering to both corporate and private clients. In London we have a specialist team providing marketing and PR, Cross-Border teams and Development Consultancy and Sales specialists. The business is growing strongly with regular new office openings and we represent some of the most exciting development projects in the world including the Ritz Carlton in Miami, the Mandarin in Barcelona and Six Senses in Courchevel.
We closely guard the identity of our private clients but corporate clients include Orion Capital, Lone Star, The Caudwell Group and Cerberus.
What are some of the biggest trends you’ve noticed in the past year?
The US markets were the first to recover after the Global financial crisis and have been strong since 2014. Europe lagged but the last 12 months have seen strong if patchy growth return across Europe, particularly Portugal, Spain and Germany with major cities Lisbon, Madrid, Barcelona and Berlin leading the way.
Post the financial crisis buyers looked for a very different home. They like urban living, modern design, convenience and ease of maintenance. Our role is to make sure our client’s properties meet these requirements and we target the appropriate markets efficiently and economically. We are very research driven.
Regulation around the world varies enormously. Many fear regulation but we support transparency and professional standards and operate with these principles in mind whatever location we are working in.
Has technology affected the property market?
The digital revolution has changed so much and we embrace the new opportunities that it brings. However, it does not replace experience. Our business is advisory and having the very best professional behind every deal is our USP and core to our values. Our markets have been targeted by many new entrants to who have amazing and flashy web sites but so many of these franchises are only skin deep.
What is your professional motto?
Hard work comes as an essential requirement for success but a half decent brain and the ability to listen to both markets and clients are underestimated characteristics.
What do you do to relax?
Relaxation is time with family and friends but boats add to the fun and when fishing the world’s stresses disappear. Travel allows me to experience new cultures and meet some fascinating people in amazing locations. However, the 05.30 Easyjet flight from Gatwick on a Monday morning is a levelling experience. I am lucky to travel a lot but it is difficult to beat the Alps for fun, glamour and an eye watering lunch bill!