Telereal Trillium has had a significant impact in shaping the property market of the United Kingdom in the twenty-first century. As one of the UK’s largest property companies, Telereal Trillium now manages a portfolio worth £6 billion. That portfolio currently comprises properties with a total floor area of 86 million square feet and is responsible for housing 1% of the UK’s workforce. With such an impressive influence on the state of the UK’s modern housing market, one can’t help but wonder about the people who are contributing to Telereal Trillium’s success. To answer that curiosity, look no further than the company’s chief executive officer, Graham Edwards, and the strategic partnerships he’s cultivated with talented individuals both within Telereal Trillium and outside of the company.
Graham Edwards has been with the company since the initial foundation of Telereal in 2001 (https://www.propertyweek.com/news/new-chief-executive-and-chairman-in-shake-up-at-telereal-trillium/5095940.article). He has held the title of CEO during his entire tenure with the company and has played a significant role in shaping first Telereal, and later Telereal Trillium.
Part of that shaping has come when Edwards has worked closely with collaborative partners to create and maintain the foundation of Telereal Trillium that exists today. As the United Kingdom’s largest privately-owned business, Edwards has worked closely with shareholders within the Pears family in order to help combine expertise and guide the organization through the market. The Pears’ believe in the power of shared success and how a focus on that shared success can lead a business to achieve goals otherwise thought impossible.
One partner that Graham Edwards praises as a mentor and key member of his collaborative team is Ian Ellis, who previously served as CEO of Trillium. Edwards credits Ellis with working with him to craft the merger of Telereal Trillium, though their relationship goes further back than that. They spent five years working to shape the culture of Telereal and give it the identity that continues to guide the company today. The connection between these two business partners and two companies extended to them once sharing the same building, which helped foster the closeness that facilitated the merger later on.
Discussing Edwards’ team members and partners along his path with Telereal Trillium and beyond is vital to understanding his success, because he himself defines that success based on the talented people with which he’s surrounded himself. When it comes to the development of his attitude toward teamwork and shared success, Edwards credits his time both as a Merrill Lynch Investment Management fund manager and as head of finance for the property segment of BT Group Plc. These positions helped instill in him an implicit understanding of the way that lifting one member of the team lifts the team as a whole towards greater success and their full potential.
Perhaps there is no better example of the potential in this approach than the Telereal Trillium merger itself, which has resulted in a massively successful partnership that continues to this day and has resulted in the organization becoming one of the nation’s largest property owners.
Edwards also believes that as technology and the interconnected nature of the world continues to expand at a blazingly fast speed, the potential for collaboration in business will only grow. Individuals and organizations across the world will be able to work closely together as though they shared a building themselves, working collaboratively to achieve new heights in business, philanthropy, and as global citizens of the world. With this approach, Telereal is set to maintain its position atop the market for years to come as it continues to grow and expand its potential.
Finally, Edwards has led the way at Telereal Trillium in fostering a culture of intellectual rigor, developing keen minds within the company who will help uphold the standard of strong commercial acumen. The company strives to encourage curiosity, both within the industry and the world at large, giving employees and executives alike the freedom to explore new avenues of thought and discover what makes their industry tick. Edwards and his team believe that this attention to details and continued education about the ever-changing landscape of property ownership and development will help Telereal Trillium remain a powerful organization—not only for now or next year, but for many years to come.
A seminal moment in the creation of Telereal was initiated in December of 2001. At that time, Graham Edwards helped lead Telereal into a 30-year strategic property partnership with BT Plc, formerly British Telecom (CoStar.Co.UK). The deal involved the majority of the UK estate owned by BT. In a transaction worth about £2.38 billion, Telereal acquired 6,700 properties with a total floor area of 59.2 million square feet. The contract signed with BT served to create Telereal. At that time, Telereal was a joint venture between Land Securities Trillium and Pears, otherwise known as The B Pears Trust and William Pears Group.
The Pears family owns one of the UK’s biggest property companies. It was originally founded by Austrian immigrant Bernard Pears and his son. It is now run primarily by brothers Mark, Trevor, and David Pears. In addition to their business interests and strategic partnership with Graham Edwards at Telereal, the Pears family is also involved with many philanthropic ventures aided by Edwards and Telereal. Mark Pears and his family have long shown a dedication to philanthropic work, as evidenced by the work of the Pears Foundation. This organization has committed resources and expertise around the world to not only donate money to important causes but also to bring thought leaders together to help find solutions to complex local and global issues.
One of the Pears family’s most publicly visible philanthropic campaigns was their connection to the Give More campaign. This effort was designed to encourage people from all walks of life to find ways to give their time, talents, or money to charitable causes around the world. It was characterized as a movement designed to bring charitable giving to the forefront of the conversation, helping individuals everywhere find ways to give regardless of their financial circumstances.
As a partner and a part of the efforts of the Pears family, Graham Edwards has been no stranger to charitable work himself. In 2003 he founded the Donation Matching Scheme at Telereal Trillium. This policy gave each and every employee in the company an opportunity to donate part of their earnings to whichever charity they chose. Telereal then agreed to match these donations up to a maximum annual amount, which has grown from £500 to £2,500 has the program has grown in success and enthusiasm.
Not only does this program allow Telereal employees to give back to the causes that mean most to them in a meaningful way, Edwards believes it also gives them a greater sense of pride in the work they do each day. It’s considered a powerful means of not only giving to the community and the world but also directly serving the quality of life and satisfaction of employees on a regular basis.
Six years after the formation of the Donation Matching Scheme, in January of 2009, Edwards and his team led the negotiations that resulted in the acquisition of Trillium from Land Securities Group Plc. While formally creating the company as it is known in its present-day form, the transaction also cemented Telereal Trillium as the market leader in property outsourcing. The deal further served to underscore the company’s expertise in property partnerships, investment, and development, ultimately creating a business whose annual revenues top £1 billion.
Where the Idea Came From
Before joining Telereal Trillium, Edwards served as the chief investment officer of Talisman Global Asset Management, having established it as the Pears FSA registered asset management arm. Originally incorporated in 1998 as the asset management arm of a single family, Talisman has grown precipitously over the years. Beginning with initial investment capital totaling £50 million, today Talisman has assets under management in excess of £1 billion.
Before his time at Talisman Global Asset Management, Edwards also held positions as a fund manager with Merrill Lynch Investment Management and served as the head of finance for the property department of the BT Group Plc.
Under the leadership of Graham Edwards, and with the help of his dedicated team, Telereal Trillium has focused on developing guiding business principles that have served to drive the success of the company. A core tenant of these principles is the acknowledgment that while real estate can be a complex business, Telereal Trillium can best serve its customers by removing the complexities of the industry and delivering straightforward solutions.
As enumerated in their core business principles, and in the pursuit of delivering the best possible outcomes to their customers, Telereal Trillium relies on a number of guiding policies garnered through years of experience.
One such policy, highlighted already by the company’s Donation Matching Scheme, is the culture of collaboration that the company fosters through a wide range of programs and overall efforts throughout the company. Anyone who speaks with Graham Edwards about the successes within his company will quickly find the conversation shifted toward the work of others within the organization, whether that’s recognizable names like the Pears family and former CEO Ian Ellis, or the entire team of individuals that makes up Telereal Trillium and often anonymously keeps the company profitable, successful, and accountable on an ongoing basis.
To Edwards and the leaders at Telereal Trillium, that attitude of collaboration with employees and the emphasis and focus on giving back to the community are one in the same. From a focus on environmentally friendly practices to a strong culture of respect within the organization, Graham Edwards and Telereal Trillium are guided by the belief that everyone from the largest organization to the smallest individual is part of a single, unified group.
The company also has a clear philosophy of creating an environment where talented people can fulfill their potential and prosper and can use their intellectual rigor to chart a successful course through the myriad of challenges created by property development and investment. Seeing the growth and stability that Graham Edwards has been able to deliver in his role as CEO, it is clear to see how these principals are truly representative of how Telereal Trillium approaches all of its dealings.
Telereal Trillium’s Recognition
Perhaps some of the clearest indicators of the success that Graham Edwards and his team have been able to achieve are the clients that Telereal Trillium has brought on board during his tenure as CEO. Telereal Trillium currently services a variety of clients from many industries with notable names. A few such notable mentions include Virgin Media, Royal Mail, Barclays, BT, the Birmingham City Council, and the Department for Work and Pensions. These companies, as well as others, put their faith in Telereal Trillium in part due to its enduring reputation for excellence.
Over the years Telereal Trillium has grown not only in its philanthropic efforts but also in its success as a business. The organization’s holdings currently total £6 billion and encompass 86 million square feet of space across 8,000 properties throughout the UK. 1 in 100 members of the UK workforce live in a building owned by Telereal Trillium.
With that level of sway and influence over how so much of the United Kingdom lives, Telereal Trillium takes their responsibility for providing safe, high-quality housing and property with the utmost seriousness. They consider it their goal to set the highest standard for both urban and rural living, providing housing for people from all walks of life. That commitment is etched into the sense of community that runs through Telereal Trillium from the top-down.
But Edwards and Telereal executives believe that the company’s success extends beyond their earnings or real estate holdings. They hope that their company’s example as a hugely successful organization with a sustained focus on the individuals in their company and the community at large can set a standard to be followed by other companies in the future. If there is any lingering belief that success in business of any kind requires the banishment of caring and empathy towards humanity, Graham Edwards, and Telereal hope to stand as a rebuttal of that belief for years to come.
Edwards also believes in the power of the individual and strives to create a corporate culture where each and every member of the Telereal Trillium organization can be given the opportunity to fulfill their full potential.
That belief in the power of human potential also inspired Telereal Trillium to pledge over £100,000 to the St. Mungo’s organization to fund a program for mentoring clients to find employment and educational opportunities. The results were inspiring, with 42% finding employment and another 42% accessing educational and training opportunities. As for the other 13%? They all achieved placements in volunteer work situations that are helping prepare them for future opportunities.
Telereal Trillium has also provided over £250,000 in funding for Tomorrow’s People, an organization dedicated to helping families and individuals from marginalized sectors to find work and lift themselves out of difficult circumstances. The Families Project which Telereal Trillium helped fund was a year-long study designed to provide real-world research toward the goal of ending worklessness across the UK. The findings of this exhaustive study were then graciously shared with local and central government entities to help inform policy and additional programs. Of the 38 families and 96 individuals involved in the study, over 75 percent resulted in positive and promising outcomes.
Another indication of Graham Edwards and Telereal Trillium’s reputation and approach to business can be found in the litany of awards with which the company has been presented under Edwards’ stewardship. In 2006, the company was presented with the Investors in People award. In 2009, they were selected for The Norwood Property Lunch Property Deal of the Year award. In 2016 Telereal Trillium was singled out as Tomorrow’s People Awards ‘Corporate Supporter of the Year.’ 2016 was also the year the company was recognized on The Sunday Times Top Track List of 100 Biggest Privately-Owned Companies. While the number of awards presented to Telereal Trillium goes on for quite some length, even this snapshot of the company’s recognition speaks to the quality of its work year after year.
It is that continued commitment to quality and hard work that may well end up as Graham Edwards’ most enduring legacy at Telereal Trillium. Since 2001, his efforts as the company’s CEO have brought many years of success that have relied on not only his expertise but a company-wide ethos of diligence and a focus on stable growth. Throughout it all, Edwards has continued to shift attention to the team members who help make that success possible. This approach to leadership has not only brought Edwards a reputation as an inspired leader but has helped shape Telereal Trillium into the massive success it has become. With Telereal Trillium and Graham Edwards continuing to make waves in the world of property investment, we can expect to continue to hear of their successes for years to come.