David Forbes - Spear's Magazine

David Forbes

Savills Private Office

David Forbes
The Spear’s Indices
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Few feel the pulse of global wealth like Forbes, a man who possesses perhaps the most enviable contacts book in property (having over 600 offices with 30,000 people in 60-plus countries at your fingertips can’t hurt).

London remains an attractive option to many UHNWs, he says, but others are ‘inevitably looking further afield’ to places like Australia, Auckland, Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Francisco — especially among Middle Eastern and East Asian UHNWs: ‘Education is the main reason they will invest outside their own countries — and these destinations have been safe havens against the disruption of the Middle East and the uncertainty in China.’

They’re also increasingly renting in the exotic far-flung locales where they used to buy: ‘Ten years ago, it was cool to own five properties around the world. Now those people are regarded as perhaps unwise and foolish… It’s so much easier to turn the keys over,’ he says. Who wants to deal with termites and dry-rot in the off-season?

The insightful former soldier has served with the Gurkhas, run diving tours in Indonesia and led treks in Nepal and the Himalayas. By 2007 he had sold Chesterfields (which he co-founded) to Savills and was heading up the property juggernaut’s new private office, offering ‘best-in-class’ property opportunities the world over, from Myanmar (Savills recently opened its newest office in Yangon) to London, where it is currently teaming up with top developers such as Finchatton and handling major schemes on behalf of sovereign wealth funds in Qatar and the UAE — most notably the ‘unprecedented’ redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks.