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One to One: Richard Sexton, director, e.Surv

Combining new technology with property risk expertise, training graduate surveyors, thoughts on stamp duty changes – and an intriguing musical talent

What can the market expect to see from e.surv this year?

We will be working hard to exceed the expectations of our existing clients, combining new technology with property risk expertise.

We also anticipate helping new partners in due course, working with them to develop product and process solutions that add value to their business, particularly with regard to risk management. It is encouraging to see that challenger lenders are entering the marketplace after a significant hiatus.

Inside e.surv, we’ll continue to focus on the personal and professional development of all colleagues. We’ve invested heavily in our Graduate Residential Surveying programme in recent years, proudly welcoming new blood and demonstrating to the next generation the considerable benefits of working with one of the UK’s leading valuation businesses. Our goal is nothing less than to be the employer of choice for new and existing surveyors.

What has been the biggest overall challenge for surveyors so far this year?

Mortgage lenders are constantly exploring new sectors and refined ways of working, while remaining mindful of governance obligations. In response, successful surveying firms need to be able to demonstrate their ability to manage and mitigate risk, as well as value property.

It’s clearly great news for applicants and brokers that the industry is evolving.

As surveyors are central to the underwriting process, they must keep pace with these rapidly changing expectations and ever-rising governance standards. This is an area in which we pride ourselves on a proactive approach, and our clients (and recent contract wins!) tell us we are rising to that challenge well.

As a child, what was your dream job?

I wanted to be an astronaut.

If you were not in your current role, what would you like to be doing?

Either be an astronaut or play international rugby.

Do you have any secret talents?

I can whistle and hum at the same time.

What are your hobbies?

I’m a big rugby fan and, like many, have just survived another Six Nations tournament.

Sadly, I was spectating rather than playing, although with Wales’s current form there is some hope for me next year.

What is the best advice you have received?

Know your own weaknesses and recruit people around you who are experts in those areas.

Also, whatever you end up doing, never forget to make it fun for yourself and others. Life is too short, and a happy team is a productive team.

Who is your all-time hero, and why?

Antarctic explorer Captain Robert Scott, who has a connection to my home town of Cardiff.

He demonstrated unbelievable courage and ingenuity in appalling circumstances in his attempt to reach and return from the South Pole. Like a tenacious mortgage broker, he never gave up looking for a successful resolution to his various challenges!

What is the toughest decision you have ever had to make?

Lending my brother money is always nerve-wracking…

If you were chancellor for a day, what would you do?

There is an argument that the current stamp duty obligations on purchasers don’t help the market overall. A redistribution between both parties may be more equitable, so I would call in Sir Humphrey for a chat about that.

I’d then ring the housing minister and quiz him on how he planned to deliver an extra 100,000-plus houses every year.

Finally, a quick visit next door for a chat about something called ‘Brexit’ might be interesting.

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