Property Leader Moves into Management

One of the property industry’s most successful and respected figures is launching a new arm to his multi-facetted business network, with the intention of providing the opportunity for others to follow his entrepreneurial path.

In 2006, having earned his reputation for entrepreneurship through founding the digital banking division HSBC, First Direct and then the online bank Egg, Paul Gratton returned to a business he had founded 17 years previously, entitled Direct Valuations, a company that carries out valuations for some of the UK’s biggest banks and insurance companies.

After a merger with chartered surveyors J&E Shepherd to become ‘Shepherd Direct Ltd’ in 2011, Gratton led a whirlwind of business development, acquiring the UK arm of global estate agent franchise ‘Century 21’, launching services in lettings and embarking on a series of buyouts and mergers with companies involved in mortgages, insurance, auctions and estate management.

Now the SDL Group is launching its first ever home-grown franchise for Property Managers looking to follow in Gratton’s footsteps and strike out on their own.

SDL Property Partners came as a result of a well-timed meeting between the SDL Group, who were researching opportunities for expansion, and Nick Faulkner, a well-known and highly respected figure in the property management industry. Having built management businesses independently and for other property brands, Faulkner agreed to merge the Alexander Faulkner Partnership with the SDL Group to strengthen SDL Property Management and launch a franchise which had long been one of his professional ambitions.

‘Coming from a similar professional approach, Nick and I both understood what we wanted to create,’ says Gratton. ‘In the current climate, there is not enough support for entrepreneurship within the property industry and the creation of new businesses is key to the sector’s growth and prosperity. People understandably find the prospect of starting out on their own a daunting and risky proposition, so SDL Property Partners has been designed to address those concerns.’

Franchisees are offered a seven day intensive training course, Qube licence, company set up and VAT registration with ongoing advice and support directly from experienced professionals within the SDL Group. They can also access a full range of marketing materials, including online presence and digital marketing.

‘I am very excited about SDL Property Partners, because it takes me back to when I was first given the opportunity to create a new enterprise from scratch,’ explains Gratton. ‘I had resources at HSBC that I could tap into when I needed them, and the association with an established industry brand, so I am delighted be in the position to create something similar for the next generation of the Property Industry.’

For more information on SDL Property Partners, visit, call 03336 663 111 or email