Rory was previously an investment manager at Grosvenor (the Duke of Westminster's private property company) before moving to private equity real estate investor Palmer Capital, who manage real estate funds for major institutions including Schroders, Aviva, Henderson and the Wellcome Trust.
Rory has advised and transacted on some of the most prestigious high value properties in the London market.
It’s super prime time: Rory Penn reveals what it takes to make it in the luxury real estate market
In this episode of devcast… Andrew Deverell-Smith is joined by Rory Penn – Equity Partner & Head of Knight Frank Private Office. In this exclusive interview, Rory imparts his wisdom on the super prime real estate market, revealing what captivated him to make the move to Knight Frank, and how he defines a wealthy client.
Here’s a sneak peak of the newsworthy topics Andrew and Rory discussed in the episode.
What is the private office of Knight Frank?
Everyone knows Knight Frank…
Known as a high-end agency business; it also spreads across the global residential and commercial market. 4 years ago, Knight Frank identified an opportunity to improve in the private capital, family office and wealthy client space.
This is where Rory comes in.
Rory set up the private office as just a two-man team, they are now 16 people strong in London with offices in New York, Middle East and Singapore! Rory is there to wrap his arms around their wealthy clients, providing them with long-term, consistent advice supporting them through transacting around the Knight Frank network.
Whether they are buying a house in Kensington or penthouse in New York, they are the central advisory team to care for wealthy clients.
An unconventional start to a career in real estate, from residential to commercial. How have you shifted from one area to the other?
It wasn’t a conventional start at all. Rory reveals his routes began in economics which he studied at university. Aside from this, Rory thought real estate was an awesome sector that he wanted to be a part of.
He applied to a plethora of graduate schemes and found himself a job at Grosvenor which was absolutely the place he wanted to be back in the 2000’s. They were building a massive urban regeneration scheme, a billion-pound project in Liverpool, and it was an extremely fun place to start.
Advancing his skills and knowledge there, Rory achieved his property degree and became an official qualified chartered surveyor. In the informative years of his career, he worked for two different real estate fund managers, and helped set up VanHan London and eventually ran Palma Capital for 5 years!
Then – knock knock - Andrew Deverell-Smith came knocking on his door and boom, he was at Knight Frank growing a private office for the business.
How would you define a wealthy client?
A tricky question to answer, as Rory explains they try not to categorise their clients. He illuminates that the general market recognition of ultra-high network is having a net worth of more than £30 million.
Astonishingly, Knight Frank have a sizable database of people with a net worth of £500 million and even a billionaire database. Rory makes it clear that every client will get an incredible service, but some bigger get a bit more attention because of their large global portfolios and commanding requirements.
What does it take to be an exceptional super prime agent?
One thing that Rory puts above everything is drive. You’ve got to have true drive and enthusiasm, stand out massively above the rest and go that extra mile – these are all paramount.
Being able to sell super prime property worth north of £10 million takes building trust, navigating global markets and an entrepreneurial and professional mindset.
Do you think you have what it takes?
Listen now to learn more about what it takes to become a successful luxury real estate agent and insight into what the broader brokerage community need to attract more of in terms of top talent.