Managing director of Chancerygate on cycling in China, career highs and his inspirational heroes.

Richard Bains

Where did you grow up and where do you live now?

Kingswood, Surrey, and I’m now based in Tunbridge Wells.

What do you value in people?

Integrity, loyalty and honesty.

Who do you admire most in business?

I love Richard Branson’s willingness to embrace and learn from failure on his way to success.

Richard Branson

Richard Branson

Who has been your business mentor?

I wouldn’t say I have one single mentor. I try to learn from everyone I deal with, be they my boss, counterparties on a deal or, indeed, people who work for me.

What do you like most about the property industry?

The people, camaraderie and dealing with an investment class that allows you to influence and improve the built environment at the same time as making a return.

And what do you dislike most about it?

One, ruthless landlords exploiting and taking advantage of tenants; and two, cynical use of the CVA or pre-pack legislation by tenants.

How do you feel about the future?

The immediate future is cloudy in the wake of Covid-19. However, the pace of change in the world remains exciting and the property industry will have a key part to play in shaping our future.

What change has had the biggest impact on property in the past five years?

The revolution in the way we shop has had far-reaching consequences for physical retail and logistics.

What makes you happy?

A pint of good beer with some old friends in a country pub or watching my sons play sport.

What’s your favourite way to relax?

Cycling somewhere with long hills and great food stops. I once did a four-week cycle through Kazakhstan, China and Pakistan. It may have been incredibly tough but it allowed me to switch off completely.

What would be your dream job?

I’d love to have [International Rugby Board chairman] Sir Bill Beaumont’s job. It’s a massive challenge but to help sort out world rugby and be involved in the game full time would be amazing.

How did you end up in your current job?

My predecessor Eddie Cook was looking to retire so I put myself forward.

What advice would you give to someone starting a career in the property industry?

Get as much experience in different parts of the business as you can before you specialise and get out on the road to see as much real estate as possible.


Who do you admire most in life?

The commitment, single-mindedness and dedication of many top-flight athletes, such as Jonny Wilkinson and Chrissie Wellington, inspire me. However, it is those who dedicate their lives to others that I admire most, such as NHS frontline staff, particularly given our current challenges.

What has been your best career decision?

To always move to somewhere that presents new challenges – and to move on once I have finished learning all that I can from that position.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

I’d give myself a bionic knee. Five operations on my left knee after a rugby injury has stopped me running and skiing to the extent I would love to.

If you could have a conversation with one person, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

I am fascinated by the explorers of the Victorian times, so it would be someone like David Livingstone or Edward Whymper.

What do you want to change about the property industry?

I’d like people to speak more on the phone rather than rely on email so much. This may be a bit old school, but I have found that this period of lockdown has really encouraged people to speak more. That is a positive move I sincerely hope is maintained once we emerge.