Founder

You began your career as a dividend arbitrage trader at Morgan Stanley – very different to property management! What inspired you to ‘create’ Warwick Estates?

 

I came out of University with a degree in Maths and always thought that I would follow that path of analyst/trader for my whole career. I fell on hard times during the recession in 2005/6 and quite simply took a job locally as a property manager. Having gone from an American bank in Canary Wharf to a provincial managing agent there was definitely a culture shock and I really felt that the property management industry could do so much more to engage with their leaseholders. That really was the inspiration to start Warwick Estates. I think to be successful with starting a business yourself you really do need to feel that you can do better than the rest.

 

What do you enjoy most about working in the property sector?

 

I like buildings so it’s rewarding to take on a building that has been neglected for years and make it nicer, safer and more valuable. I’m constantly telling my staff that we do not manage buildings – we manage people’s homes. There’s a big difference.

You have a custom-built technology platform – how beneficial has that been to the business?

 

It’s the single greatest thing that we ever did. I don’t understand how you can be different from your competition if you all use the same software. Our platform is tailor-made to how we run our business and how we interact with our customers. It’s won us so much new business over the years – it’s just a shame it seems like we will never stop improving it.

Are there any areas of proptech you’re particularly interested in?

 

I saw a demonstration 3 years ago about smart buildings and how in the future property managers will be able to sit at their desks and be informed when things go wrong with their buildings, and how they could simply order a replacement part or material immediately. This type of tech would definitely improve standards of management.

You offer bespoke products for your clients through the Premier and Lite brands – why did you decide to provide two additional services?

 

Our core product was very comprehensive from the outset and for our smaller buildings it was actually more than our leaseholders required. Our Lite product started about 5 years ago and we now have nearly 500 buildings enjoying this level of service.

Having a Lite product obviously gave us the idea of an enhanced service level and so Premier was started. After a slow start we decided to push this side of our business recently and it’s led to an insane amount of instructions

 

Can you tell us about your buy-and-build strategy?

 

Our industry is very fragmented with even the largest player only having around 2% market share. There are only about 20 companies of any size and hundreds of smaller regional or family run competitors. Our buy and build strategy is very straight forward; we are acquiring businesses with turnover between £0.5million and £2million where we can offer leaseholders many of the services they require internally. This generates extra revenue for the small business (by not sending it all to external suppliers) and also means the leaseholders should see savings in their service charge.

 

You provide staff with the Warwick Academy which provides them with industry-leading training throughout their career – what inspired you to launch these courses and how has it impacted the business?

 

The Academy is my way of giving something back to an industry that’s been very kind to me. The lack of training offered to property managers in England and Wales is absolutely shocking. If we were called Asset Managers (which we are) and we didn’t list the number of flats we managed but rather the value of the buildings then Warwick Asset Management would advertise £7billion of assets under management. You would expect that company to have staff that were extremely highly trained I’m sure.

The academy will produce the best trained people in our industry year after year and the whole industry will benefit from this as the graduates move around to other companies in the years ahead.

 

What has been the game-changing moment in your career so far?

 

When I finally realised that I’d rather Warwick Estates were considered the best at what they do ahead of making more profit. Over the years we have done so many things that are counterintuitive to increasing profits so that we can stay ahead of the crowd (just last month we introduced an 0800 number even though we take over a thousand calls a day) and yet every year our profit goes up and our margin slightly increases. It’s as if being conscientious really works!

 

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?

 

Being told I should marry my wife

 

Finally, a bit of fun – please can you tell us your favourite app, book and holiday destination?

 

My favourite app is Curve. It’s an amazing improvement to my life and I can finally carry just one payment card. I still think Shazam is the most amazing app ever though.

My favourite book is Rich Dad, Poor Dad. I love its ethos of committing to something that you are not sure you can achieve because you damn well have to once committed.

My favourite holiday destination is Ibiza. That island has changed my life – it’s the place that instantly relaxes me and keeps me sane. It’s an island of beautiful beaches and coves, equally as enjoyable with my wife and children as it is with a group of friends looking to party.