Skip to content
Follow us
Contact us
Robert Irving Burns

An Interview with Chris Towner: RIB’s Head of Property Management & Client Accounting

November 14, 2019    |   Panny Antoniou

We are delighted to announce that Chris Towner – previously our Head of Client Accounting has been promoted to Head of Property Management and Client Accounting.

There was a rigorous process in place to find a new Head Of Property Management and we were delighted that the role went to an existing Team Member who has embraced RIB’s mantra since joining the company. Following Chris Towner’s well deserved promotion, we spoke to him about his future plans here at RIB as well as a bit more about how he got to where he is.

What was your first job and how did you get into property?

“My first job was at Telereal Trillium, which at the time was a ground-breaking property company whereby the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) transferred ownership and management of its estate to Telereal Trillium under a 20-year contract known as PRIME. Telereal Trillium was eventually purchased by Land Securities.  It was straight after my A-Levels, I got a temporary role within accounts payable, paying utilities, I‘ve been in property ever since!”

Where do you see the future of the property industry?

“There is so much uncertainty at the moment due to the on-going situation with Brexit. However, I strongly believe that due to our prime location in the heart of Central London, there will always be a strong demand for our transactional services as well as a responsive and efficient Property Management Department. I see prices continuing to rise in the future with foreign investors from all over the world seeing London as a safe place to invest their money.”

In what areas do you see the Property Management Department growing and improving in the coming years?

“I think we need to improve our overall service delivery and establish more consistency in the service people can expect across the board within Property Management & Client Accounts.

There needs to be the same service across the board for all clients and across all asset types. In addition, we will look to add to the quality of our existing management instructions, with an aim to managing more trophy assets and coveted buildings around the UK.”

How does your experience with big companies help you know what we need to do here at RIB?

“The big companies already have everything established and have a number of systems in place which we do not yet have. It is a gradual process to bring in the systems we need to provide a holistic service which looks at all of the property’s individual needs within its lifecycle. It is a step by step process to get us to where we need to be in the future.”

How exciting is it to be able to put these systems and new ways of doing things in place?

“That was one of the reasons I left JLL and the bigger corporate companies. It is very rare that you get an opportunity to be able to create your own systems/processes and implement them. Obviously, I wasn’t quite starting from scratch here, but I broadly have a blank sheet of paper and more importantly the autonomy and support to drive RIB as a company forward to where we need to be.”

How do you see the two departments which you now head up cooperating in the future?

“The two departments are already very much aligned and depend on each other in a variety of ways. I think the key is to create a culture of being one team so that there isn’t a split between the Property Management Department and the Client Accounts Team. They should be seen as one department which cooperates to service the needs of our clients.”

What do you think we can do here at RIB which the other bigger companies you have worked for in the past cannot do?

“One of the things which we can continue to do well is to provide a personal touch or personal service. Our clients appreciate that they have a dedicated Property Manager who deals with their issues and that we call them and speak to them like a human being. During our expansion plans we do not want to make the mistakes which bigger companies have made of treating clients as numbers. Each client is an individual and each of their properties should be dealt with in a way which is consistent with their long-term objectives.”

How do you think our CLEAR (Collaborative Learners Engaged Accountable Respectful) ethos and the way the company is run has helped us develop in the last few years?

I think our CLEAR ethos has been incredibly important and successful both from an internal expectation’s perspective and from an external branding perspective. The most important thing now is that all team members live and breathe the CLEAR ethos and it permeates everything which we do as a company.”

What challenges do you see RIB facing with our ambitious growth strategy and what do you think the best way to overcome them is?

“The biggest challenges will be posed by our competitors both from a commercial and residential agency perspective as well as from a property management perspective. There are companies who are trying to do everything we do so we need to make sure that we stand out in the market. We have to ensure that we continue to improve our service offering, even in today’s digital world, word of mouth and reputation is incredibly important and clients being willing to recommend us is vital for us as a company. In addition, we need to be looking at increasing our client base as well as broadening our management portfolio to include more trophy assets.”

What advice would you give someone who is looking to get into the property industry?

“I think the most important thing when trying to get into the property industry is just to get stuck in and work your way up. The learning process starts from day one and as long as you are hardworking and willing to work you will succeed in the industry. The most important thing in the industry is attitude and desire, with these two traits you can achieve anything.”

If you weren’t in the property industry what would you be doing?

“Property is all I have ever know from a working perspective, I think if I wasn’t lucky enough to have found property when I did, I would have probably been interested in Retail Operations or working within the leisure industry.”

Outside of work, what are the hobbies and activities you enjoy doing?

“Outside of work I play for a veteran’s football team on a Saturday, but it doesn’t keep me very fit! I also have two young daughters, so I spend a lot of time with my family, going on family days out and generally doing activities with them.

I also enjoy good restaurants and wine but failing that there is nothing better than relaxing in front of the TV with a good box set and a nice glass of red!”

Similar Articles