Meet the Team: Rory Merchant

Rory is the newest member of the SAY team, joining in February 2021 as a consultant. We spoke to him for this speedy Q&A to find out more about his career to date and his thoughts on what the biggest housing challenge is today.

Why did you choose to work at SAY?  

SAY are very well known within the industry and have an established reputation.  Having spoken to colleagues and other professionals within the sector, it was clear that SAY had a clear vision, a strong ethos and an exciting future, which I wanted very much to be a part of.

I joined SAY to gain exposure to the varied and diverse challenges that derive through a consultancy position. This was definitely a logical role for my career progression.

 What did you do before SAY?  

Before working at SAY, I worked within both the public and private housing sectors. I started my career working for a medium size housing association based in Watford (Watford Community Housing Trust) where I was responsible for managing four homeless hostels on behalf of Watford Borough Council. This challenging role provided me with a good overall knowledge of housing management, which has assisted me throughout my career.

Following this, I made a successful move into London, where I adopted a role for another public housing provider before transitioning to a private sector Managing Agent. From there, I went on to work for one of the UK’s largest professional landlords, Grainger Plc, where I was responsible for managing Leasehold and Build to Rent properties.

After this I moved to Knight Frank, as Estates Director where I was responsible for the day to day running of a large residential portfolio based in central London, W2.

Tell us something your colleagues might not know about you?  

In 2011, myself and two friends cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for Motor Neurone Disease Association, a charity very close to my heart. The gruelling bike ride took us just over 8 days to complete raising over £20,000 for the charity.

If you could choose anyone to be your mentor, who would it be?  

Known for being one of the greatest boxers of the 20th century, I would have to choose Muhammed Ali to be my mentor.  His success and commitment to the sport make him an outstanding role model and his passion and dedication outside of the ring support his determination and drive to be the greatest boxer of all time. 

What is the biggest housing challenge today?  

I think the biggest challenge in housing today relates to the need for substantial investment in the country’s existing housing stock. Considerable sums will be needed to make sure all housing is safe to live in, also to meet the government’s zero carbon agenda and to improve housing to meet a new decent homes standard.