Knight Frank, the world’s largest independent property consultancy, is headquartered in London, with a deep British heritage and an outward-looking global service. Founded over 120 years ago, the partnership was built on creating solid, long-term relationships with clients whose property interests span the globe.
The business now numbers over 19,000 people across 60 territories and 500 offices: a truly worldwide operation covering residential and commercial property – including farms, new-builds, historic estates, lettings, senior living villages, student accommodation and even marine consultancy. Despite this scope, the firm still strives to maintain the ‘family feel’.
Long-term legacy-planning for private and corporate investors is a key component of Knight Frank’s service. Through its latest Private View magazine, the firm has recently explored developing the theme of legacy, aligning with British heritage brands like Boodles, Huntsman and Purdey, and dynasties like the Hindujas, the (‘Downton’) Carnarvons and Formula 1’s Williams Martini Racing. ‘Clients are increasingly looking to us to advise on their succession strategies,’ says Lord Andrew Hay, Global Head of Residential.
It’s about being a good ancestor, planting trees you’ll never see. Knight Frank is now in its seventh generation and, like all institutions with a legacy, it is essential we evolve
Looking to 2020, Knight Frank’s investment in staff has never been greater. Nor has its investment in the technological platforms that empower staff to be tirelessly client-focused. Above all though is the firm belief that technology must not overshadow the human element, still pivotal in the emotional world of real estate transactions.
Knight Frank has remained steadfast to being a partnership. Lord Andrew Hay cites this as a key differentiator: ‘Clients like the idea that we’re invested in our own success. It’s really powerful. And it’s come right back into fashion. We’ll turn over approaching $1 billion this year, so not only are we reaping the benefit of previous generations, but we’re making certain that the next generation is taken care of.’
Due to retire in 2020 after 37 years, Hay considers his personal legacy: ‘The lesson I’d like to pass on to my colleagues and for the benefit of our clients is, “Do the maximum”’.