Excellence & Integrity
Sat 31 Aug 2013
Annable Harrison meets Peter Rollings FRICS, Chief Executive of Marsh & Parsons, to find out more about the history of the company and its success under his management
In 2005, Peter Rollings purchased Marsh & Parsons and the company has since grown into a highly successful network of 19 offices in central, south and south west London with a focus on sales, lettings, property management, new homes and investments. Peter has an extensive knowledge of the London residential market and was recently invited to becomea fellow member of RICS, where he is recognised and respected for his excellence and integrity within the industry. Fellows are described as "leaders in their field, people who have undertaken notable projects or made a special contribution to their profession."
What did you know about Marsh and Parsons' history before you arrived and what attracted you to the company when you did come on board?
It was an old-fashioned but highly respected central London estate agency brand, which had been around since 1856. Six of the seven offices were in the Royal Borough, so it was unrivalled in that sense.
I'd often wondered why it hadn't been snapped up already so I jumped at the chance to invest when the opportunity presented itself.It had been owned and loved by David Marshall for 40 years, who was in his early 70s when we bought the company.
What changes did you make immediately?
How about everything?! When I arrived I was told my phone had more memory than the desk computers. The lettings offices closed earlier than sales, which was just madness, so I improved our opening hours straight away. We spent alot of money refurbishing and we quickly re-branded the company. The brand strategy was to be sensitive to the heritage and at the same time inject some energy. In October 2006, we bought Vanstons in south west London - Balham, Battersea, Clapham, Fulham and Barnes - which slotted beautifully into the geography of our existing network. But its all about the people; if you focus on getting the right teams on board, you've got a real chance of success. So with both Vanstons and Marsh & Parsons, we invested in getting the right people; it takes time but without a doubt one of the most important things that I, along with my co-directors, did - and still do.
In the 1989 recessionI learntthat building and nurturing another revenue stream is essential. The experience of workingthrough a recession means you know what you need to get through it. Lettings was an immediate focus, previously a 'nothing' bit of the business but it now represents 50 percent of the overall income. Turnover of sales property is now at an all time low, so this move into lettings continues to be a key strength of M&P.