Shaper: Neil Sinclair

Show aired on 25th March 2017


Neil Sinclair

Neil has over 50 years’ experience in the property sector. He was a founder of Sinclair Goldsmith Chartered Surveyors which was admitted to the Official List in 1987 and subsequently merged with Conrad Ritblat in 1993, when he became Executive Deputy Chairman. Neil was appointed Non-Executive Chairman of Baker Lorenz surveyors in 1999, which was sold to Hercules Property Services plc in 2001. He was appointed a Non-Executive Director of Tops Estates plc, a fully listed company, in 2003 and remained so until it was sold to Land Securities plc in 2005. Neil was one of the founders of Mission Capital plc, now Watchstone Group plc, which was admitted to AIM in 2005, and was Executive Chairman until February 2008. He was also featured in ‘Top 100 Property People in Property Week’ in 2003.

Neil was elected Chief Barker (Chairman) in 1991 for children’s charity Variety, which he is still a Trustee for. He co-founded ‘the PROPS’, one of the industry’s leading events which has raised nearly £9 million for Variety’s Wheelchair Program. He is also a member of the Nominations Committee.

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My late father said, I want you to go to work in a shop because I want you to learn the value of money and how to talk to people. I’ve never ever regretted it.

The world of property looked pretty fascinating to me. I thought let’s give it a go.

My dad died when I was twenty and so we had to all work and I became a partner of a firm at twenty one.  You know I was probably the youngest partner they ever had.

My mother said, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all: if you think you can go on your own and make it, do it.

I had this really friendly Bank Manager in Oxford Circus. I needed to borrow £1,000 and he asked, where’s the security?  I said, you’re looking at it.  He burst out laughing and said, okay.

There’s no better way to build a relationship with the people you’re hoping to do business with than humour.

The day I started, I got a letter hand delivered to my office from a very well-known property guy which said: Dear Neil, you don’t know me and I don’t know you. I need deals and you need commissions so let’s have a coffee.

That’s the business. You have to remember. It is your knowledge of buildings, of people and of property. You must have a memory like an elephant.

Experience is the word man gives to his mistakes. They say there’s no substitute for it.

I joined children’s charity Variety in 1972 for totally the wrong reason. I sat next to Miss Brazil at lunch when I was young and unmarried. After lunch my host said, do you want to join this charity?  I said, where do I sign?  I’ve been involved ever since.