Traditional values: Taking a long view in Australia

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Andrew Taplin - Managing Director, Taplin Real Estate, Real Estate, Australia

Taplin Real Estate is the oldest real estate agency in South Australia, and quite possibly the oldest family business in the sector across the whole of the country. It was started by Wilfred Taplin in 1932, who then introduced his son, Noel, to the industry and he is still an active and passionate Chairman at the age of 92.   

Noel’s son Andrew is now the Managing Director and has the same passion for what the firm does, and the same commitment to the traditional values that have turned Taplin into the success story it is today.

“My father has seen this business grow from a traditional real estate agency with one office, to a major property management company with hundreds of clients and managing billions of dollars in assets.  It started right in the middle of the Depression with not much more than a dream. I think that’s why he has always been such a great believer in starting from the bottom and working your way up. That’s certainly what I did– I joined straight from school, at 18, and did all the most basic jobs, including cleaning the toilets. But if you do it that way, you learn things you’d never learn otherwise.”

Andrew Taplin - Managing Director, Taplin Real Estate

Andrew Taplin - Managing Director, Taplin Real Estate

Taplin Real Estate hasn’t just been successful within its sector, the company can also take credit for changing the shape of Australian shopping – literally. “We were operating out of an office on the outskirts of Adelaide in the early ‘60s. Back then it was all just High Street stores – parades of shops. That’s how Australia looked. But my father has always been able to see the bigger picture. He got involved in developing the first indoor shopping mall in South Australia. That was a big deal back then.”

PwC Global Family Business Survey 2016

Interview with Andrew Taplin, Taplin Real Estate, Australia

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These days, the ‘big deal’ is digital, and real estate is one of the sectors that has seen the most disruption. “When I first started, you wrote property listings by hand and if you had a black-and-white photo you considered yourself lucky. Now, you can search for listings on a mobile phone, you can watch a video of a property, look at it in 3D, see a picture taken by a drone. And it’s not just about communication with customers – everything about how you process a property has changed. Keeping up with all that new technology is tough and it can be harder still to work out which new developments are the ones that will really catch on.” 

But that is where family businesses can have a real advantage. “We make decisions fast and I genuinely think we’re more agile and adaptable than other types of business. Taking the long view is a huge advantage too. In this industry, there are always a lot of people coming in, thinking they can make a quick buck but they don’t understand how it works: they don’t even have a business plan, never mind a medium and long-term strategic plan. Those are the most important skills my father taught me.”

Contact us

Dr. Peter Bartels

Global Entrepreneurial & Private Business Leader, Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 40 6378-2170

Peter Englisch

Global Family Business and EMEA Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 201 438 1812

Siew Quan Ng

Asia Pacific Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Clients, PwC Singapore

Tel: +65 6236 3818

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Contact us

Peter Englisch

Peter Englisch

Global Family Business and EMEA Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 201 438 1812

Dr. Peter Bartels

Dr. Peter Bartels

Global Entrepreneurial & Private Business Leader, Partner, PwC Germany

Tel: +49 40 6378-2170

Francesca  Ambrosini

Francesca Ambrosini

Family Business Client Programs, PwC United Kingdom

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