Lord Andrew Hay discusses working with exceptional people, property and markets


Overseeing Knight Frank’s global residential business is a huge privilege. Not only does my role entail representing and working with some exceptional people, such as our clients and my Knight Frank colleagues, it also enables me to advise on the most remarkable properties, both here in the UK and in the key markets around the world – a selection of which are portrayed in this edition of Private View. As I write, the EU referendum result is front of mind for many of our clients. It would be wrong of us to view its effects in isolation, as further policy changes, including successive reform of Stamp Duty Land Tax for the most valuable homes, have also impacted the summer market of 2016.

However, I feel it is important to reflect on the robustness of UK property as a leading asset class, which remains a first-rate investment. The quality of our housing stock is superb, protected by a guardian planning system, evolved by exceptional architects, enhanced by cutting-edge designers and underpinned by transparent legal and financial systems. That is before one considers our world-class attractions of education, culture, medical facilities and quality of life. Private View is a reflection of this quality and the ongoing global demand for the many good things the UK has to offer.

To illustrate some of the driving forces within the world of luxury property and to emphasise the best of British that draws more than 70 different nationalities to our market each year, we have included a set of fascinating articles incorporating what we describe in the Wealth Report as ‘investments of passion’.

I believe the next 12 months are going to be among the most fascinating of my 35-year career at Knight Frank, as no one can be sure what will happen following Brexit. But as I have said to our teams many times, “uncertainty is the mother of opportunity”, and there are undoubtedly going to be some extraordinary opportunities in the coming year for our clients. It is during these times that clients turn to Knight Frank as the world’s leading independent real-estate consultancy. As an independent organisation, we are able to put our clients’ interests first, delivering incisive research and long-term advice, with a strong emphasis on service.

We continue to strengthen our position overseas and expand at the fastest rate in our history, having opened 14 offices in the UK in the past 24 months – an illustration of our longterm confidence in the market. Our expanding global network provides local advice from more than 400 offices in 59 countries, giving our clients total coverage and also a depth of consistent service. We are capturing wealth flows from many territories – including our new office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – and also have new teams in Florence, Cannes and Val d’Isère, adding to our already comprehensive European network. Later this year will see the launch of our US Broker Rollout Scheme with Douglas Elliman Fine Homes, when more than 350 of its elite brokers will represent Knight Frank in the key US markets.

We continue to develop our technological platform to assist both our current and future clients. I am delighted to announce that our updated app, launched this summer, provides a focal point for our global residential and commercial offerings – I urge you to download it. Running a thriving international business keeps me and my partners on our toes 24 hours a day. It is essential that Knight Frank stays ahead of the curve so we continue to serve you, our clients, to the highest standard in all areas. If we are able to help you with any property matters in these fast-changing times, then please do contact us.

Having spent my childhood on a remote Hebridean island, when I am presenting to 300 clients in Sydney or 60 investors in Hong Kong, I sometimes have to pinch myself. I feel immensely lucky to be part of such a dynamic, fast-growing and successful organisation that has an exceptional client following. I hope you will enjoy reading Private View as much as we have enjoyed putting it together. 

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