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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Purplebricks' founders reveal new project to re-enter the agency industry

The brothers who founded Purplebricks - Michael and Kenny Bruce - have returned to the agency industry for the first time since leaving the hybrid company a year ago. 

They have set up Agents Together, a foundation currently seeking charitable status, with some £1m funding provided directly by the brothers.

The foundation says its mission is to help the agency industry “steer its way through the unique challenges of today and to take full advantage of the opportunities for the future, that will create and preserve a healthier, well run and respected industry.”

The Bruces have been meeting, virtually, with some key industry players in recent weeks, including training and compliance expert Mike Day of Integra Property Services, trainer Stephen Brown of the SJB Consultancy, and Christopher Watkin, the former agent and now consultant who is well-known for video interviews with industry figures; these have provided their input free of charge.

The foundation’s chief executive is Sarah Edmundson, formerly an estate agent and now of the Agency AllStars training body.

A statement from the new foundation says: “Through its founding pillars of Healthy Business and Healthy Mind, Agents Together will provide expert advice, mentoring and coaching to estate agents who are keen to grow their business, develop their people and steer their way through the inevitable challenges they might face. It will promote the wellbeing of estate agents and encourage a culture of open communication and collective support.”

It is offering:

- a free to join mentor programme for agency owners;

- a speed mentoring series “offering 30 minutes of focused mentoring with business and industry leaders”;

- a series of videos called Winning Ways “led by thought leaders from the industry and beyond”;

- an information hub and videos aimed at promoting the mental and physical wellbeing of estate agents.

“Our ambition is to help estate agents, to support our industry and together change minds to bring about a brighter future for everyone. Our vision is for a healthier industry – and we know that healthy minds and healthy businesses will create a healthy industry” says Sarah Edmondson. 

The board of trustees include the Bruce brothers; Samantha Jones, head of field sales at industry supplier Moneypenny; Peter Brodniki, chief executive of the Mortgage Advice Bureau; and figures from outside the industry including Will Whitehorn who is chairman of Virgin Galactic.

This new project is the Bruce brothers’ first foray back into agency since leaving Purplebricks.

In May of last year a stock market announcement revealed that Michael Bruce - then global chief executive of the agency - was stepping down with immediate effect. The same announcement said the agency’s Australian business was folding and the US business would be reviewed: a few months later it was shut down.

And in June of last year it was confirmed that Kenny Bruce, too, had left Purplebricks. His role at the end was sales director in the UK; prior to that he had spent several months overseeing the Australian side of the company as it attempted to weather a difficult market and fierce criticism from some in the agency industry.

Earlier this year there was trade speculation about a new “disruptive” project that the Bruce brothers were involved in, separate to the foundation, although no firm details have been released to date.

Speaking about the new foundation project, and particularly its focus on the well-being of agents, Michael Bruce told Estate Agent Today: “When you bring up issues like that in the industry, some people immediately say ‘Oh mental health, that isn’t about me’ and we want to get beyond that.”

He says it’s key, in the post-Covid period, that the industry recognises that it’s never had a better chance to unite around shared objectives.

“Throughout my own career there would have been many people who would have benefitted from access to the services we’re offering” he adds. 

The foundation is launching as a privately funded foundation and is working with the Charities Commission to achieve charitable foundation status. You can see its website on www.agentstogether.co.uk.

  • John  Savage

    "Ahhh Commissery..." The same people who (fair play) tried to take over the market. The very same people who were responsible for the tag line above in attempt to destroy high street agents? Are now spearheading a campaign to bring the market together. Butter doesn't melt... wow. Simply wow. The neck on it knows no boundaries...

  • David Thomas

    Speechless

  • Charlie Lamdin

    The mission sounds great. The people involved are all fantastic. But given that Purplebricks was arguably responsible for some of the worst damage to the industry’s self-respect and collective mental well-being (let alone financial well-being), taking money from the Bruce brothers is an astonishing choice. Are they seeking to atone for the damage they inflicted on the industry? I hope this well-meaning venture succeeds, but when you start out with dirty money, there’s a risk that it’s tainted from the start.

  • Mark Walmsley

    Not what I was expecting to hear this. I said to my family years ago that once a personal target had been hit I would rather help and support than simply “earn”. Charity, education or coaching felt natural. I wonder if a similar Eureka moment has hit Messrs Bruce.....or is there a sting in the tail to come.

  • Phil Hathway

    Lol

  • icon

    An absolute embarrassment to decent estate agents. Wouldn’t have them anywhere near my body or mind!

    Will create and run a healthier industry....just about got lockjaw with laughter!

  • icon

    Isn’t this like inflicting a wound then offering you a bandaid? I smell a rat!

  • nigel cooke

    toxic.

  • Lenny White

    Comedy genius!!

  • Franklin I

    Whilst the estate agency's industry does require some stringent changes that can be regulated more effectively, I don't see how this will be beneficial from the consumer's prospective.

    OTM tried something similar in trying to protect their own estate agent's, from the likes of Right Move and Zoopla, but they lost their way when it came down to money/profit!

    I'd rather see the government take up these initiatives in the same way they did with the Landlord's within the past 18 months, by implementing work practices as a means of law!
    Examples;

    1. Extension of Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act
    2. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
    3. Capital Gains Tax
    4. Compulsory CMP for agents
    5. Extension of Tenant Fees Act
    6. Electrical safety

    There's still a lot of corruption within the estate agency industry. It's a cut throat business at the highest levels.

    We need more transparency, we need to impose higher fines and stiffer sentences for any breaches relating to sales/lettings!


  • Franklin I

    Whilst the estate agency's industry does require some stringent changes that can be regulated more effectively, I don't see how this will be beneficial from the consumer's prospective.

    OTM tried something similar in trying to protect their own estateagent's, from the likes of Right Move and Zoopla, but they lost their way when it came down to money/profit!

    I'd rather see the government take up these initiatives in the same way they did with the Landlord's within the past 18 months, by implementing work practices as a means of law!
    Examples;

    1. Extension of Homes (Fitness for Human Habitation) Act
    2. Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards
    3. Capital Gains Tax
    4. Compulsory CMP for agents
    5. Extension of Tenant Fees Act
    6. Electrical safety

    There's still a lot of corruption within the estate agency industry. It's a cut throat business at the highest levels.

    We need more transparency, we need to impose higher fines and stiffer sentences for any breaches relating to sales/lettings!


  • icon

    This story is like asking a WW2 U boat to Captain to keep and eye open for you while you take a nap in your ship. Charity status is tax free i believe hmmmmmmmmm.

  • icon

    Mentoring from Purple Pr*ks....lol

    I'm not an agent or in the industry (sorry) but I have an interested and attempting to buy my first home.

    I literally tried to hand them a sale, one property (my next door neighbour that is currently tenanted) was on the market with PB, went off market (unsold) the day i tried to book a viewing, told the rep to get in touch with them, I've chatted with the owner before but dont have his contact details, would pay asking price. Chased this several times, the rep never bothered and stopped taking my calls.

    Another PB property, still on market, different rep/agent wouldn't return my calls to book a viewing or answer questions.

    The business they had couldn't even get the fundamentals right, why would anyone else seek out or value their advice in an industry they massively failed in??

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