60 second interview with Chris Horler, Sandaire

Date: 04 Aug 2020

Bumblebee Design

Chris Horler, managing director of Sandaire Real Estate shares his day-to-day with Citywealth readers.


Tell me about your role.

I am Managing Director of Sandaire Real Estate, responsible for a small team of real estate professionals that provide our clients with bespoke advice on commercial and residential real estate, offering a full suite of services from acquisition and strategic asset management, through to portfolio strategy and disposals.


Walk us through your daily routine.

What makes real estate an enduring and rewarding profession is that there is never a typical daily routine. Each day brings its own workflow and set of challenges. My day begins with a team meeting, either virtual or face-to-face; to discuss the market, current mandates and any updates on any issues within the portfolio that need addressing. This could be anything from a head lease re-gearing, a rent review or rights of light issue, through to a comprehensive asset allocation strategy into direct real estate. Some days I can be out undertaking site visits for new acquisitions and another day meeting clients to discuss planning applications, contractor selection or reviewing development or investment appraisals. Within my role, I am also responsible for business development within real estate and, in conjunction with our Family Office Services and Private Equity teams, meet with a lot of individuals and families of wealth. Owing to the recent COVID-19 restrictions my daily routine has altered somewhat and this has meant face to face meetings now being undertaken via video conferencing rather than face-to-face meetings, which brings a whole set of new challenges which, along with the wider business community, we are adjusting to.


Tell us about a recent client instruction.

A client has mandated us to conduct a search for an office investment in the West End. This is where we undertake a confidential search for the property, make the acquisition and then undertake a full refurbishment of the property to the client’s specification for owner occupation.


What is the most challenging issue your clients are facing currently, and how are you helping your clients to overcome it?

COVID -19 and its immediate effect to our health and the very sad and devastating impact on loved ones for some. Beyond these health concerns the challenge will be the effect on the global economy and that of the UK and those businesses that survive and others that will inevitably collapse. Once this pandemic is behind us, property will still be a major factor of production but certain sectors will prove more resilient over the medium to long term. It is clear that as businesses get more used to home working, and the technology that allows this, there will be an ongoing shift in the way business is conducted in the workplace and the retail space that was already suffering the challenges of online shopping, will accelerate the structural shift in how we continue to use bricks and mortar retailing. We are reviewing our clients’ portfolios and will be looking at opportunities that will emerge out of this economic shock, as well as advising how to maintain value on existing portfolios.


What is your proudest professional achievement to date?

A property strategy that I proposed to a client that was executed and subsequently disposed making a solid 75% IRR over an 18 month hold period.


What do you consider to be the most important attributes for a leader?

Without wishing to sound glib, “Leadership” which to me means listening to the business and its advisors but ultimately making strong and decisive strategic decisions with conviction and seeing them through. Post COVID-19 strong leadership will be the defining quality of any business to guide it through whatever the economic landscape looks like at that time.


Who do you most admire and why?

It has always been Winston Churchill. Despite his many flaws he was a truly great leader in Great Britain’s last truly dark period.


Where was the last place you travelled to for work or pleasure?

I live in Switzerland and commute each week. I find myself here while restrictions on travel are in place.


If you weren’t in the wealth management industry, what else might you be doing?

I am a Chartered Surveyor and one of my passions in real estate is development. Perhaps a Grand Designs project as something different to the commercial projects I have done in the past.


How do you relax after a long day?

Going to the gym or cooking a nice meal. After a very long day perhaps uncorking a bottle of Minuty Prestige.


Best piece of advice for Generation Z

In one word “resilience”.