Andrew Marston’s story

Posted on: 22 July, 2019

Andrew worked at CEM from 1999 to 2004 in the Research Department.

Tell us about your time at UCEM

Whilst I wasn’t educated by the College, I certainly learnt a lot in my almost five years at CEM. At the time CEM had a dedicated Research Department, undertaking mainly consultancy-based research, funded by private sector bodies, government and representative bodies. I joined in 1999 as a fresh-faced graduate. During my time at CEM I worked on numerous projects for Helical Bar, JLL, British Council of Shopping Centres and the government departments responsible for housing policy (at the time headed up by John Prescott).  At our height we had a core team of five researchers led by Tim Dixon (now working at the University of Reading), and the three juniors in the team (Jacqui Daly, James Pinder and myself). Both before and after our time, the Research Department was a seeding ground for young researchers.

I have very warm and strong memories of my time at Whiteknights, working with an amazing group of people. I was new to both CEM and Reading when I first joined in 1999, but I was quickly made to feel welcome by all the varied people working at CEM and quickly built some strong and lasting friendships. In many ways, CEM changed my life too. It was what led me to move to Reading initially (quite a distance for a proud Yorkshireman!) and it is where I call home to this very day.

Tell us about your experiences since leaving UCEM

Since leaving CEM I have pursued a career in property. I left CEM in 2004 to work in commercial research and specifically as a Central London office analyst. Initially this was at Atisreal, during the period the company morphed from its days as Weatherall Green & Smith, to become BNP Paribas Real Estate. In 2008 I moved to spend two fascinating years at Land Securities PLC, during the period when the company was headed by Francis Salway, an eminent ex-CEM researcher in his own right. His work on property depreciation in the early 1980s, undertaken at CEM, remains essential reading to this day. I left Land Securities at the start of the current decade, and joined CBRE, where I have been ever since. Today I head up their research outputs on office markets across the UK.

Tells us about the most interesting project you have worked on/ are most proud of

The most enjoyable projects for me were those we did for government, looking at the valuation process for leasehold enfranchisement and the Right to Buy appeal process. Both went on to inform policy and continue to be quoted to this day. They were also projects where we collaborated with other institutions, in this instance Neil Crosby at Reading University – a great opportunity for me so early on in my career.

I was also fortunate to work on one of the early studies of the impact of online shopping on the retail high street, a topic that continues to have resonance today as it did in the early 2000s. On that topic we collaborated with the University of Colorado on paper to examine the differences in ecommerce on either side of the Atlantic. This led to my most memorable time at CEM, presenting our findings at the 2001 International Real Estate Society Conference in Alaska.