Ross & Liddell is leading the way for positive change within the Scottish factoring industry  

Founded in Glasgow in 1854, it’s fair to say that Ross & Liddell has a long and well established reputation in Property Management. 

Director, Jennifer Harkins points out that the company has made significant changes to their operational structure over the past 18 months. These changes are aimed at improving service levels to clients.

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One of the more obstinate challenges, particularly post-Covid, has been the ability for the sector to attract new talent. This is a challenge Ross & Liddell is tackling head-on.

“I think everyone is affected by gaps in the recruitment market right now,” says Harkins. 

“The traditional role of Property Manager has changed significantly due to the ever evolving role of a Property Factor,  so we had to ask ourselves: ‘How do we create the resources to ensure we’re providing our high-value service, whilst recognising gaps in the recruitment market?’” 

The company concluded that the biggest mitigating factor against hiring is that the traditional role of Property Manager is no longer desirable.

Harkins notes: “The traditional Property Manager was responsible for a lot of different tasks, and was the main point a contact for all clients within their portfolio. 

“However, as the role of Factor has evolved, as has the tasks that a Property Manager was expected to deal with, such as complex Fire Systems, EV Charging, Solar Panels etc. This requires specialist knowledge and experience. It is not realistic to expect one person to be competent and efficient in dealing with an ever increasing to-do list.

“Thankfully, we’ve always fostered a team environment. We have dedicated finance, credit control, compliance and insurance teams. So what we’ve done is enhanced this team offering by extending our support teams and boosting their strengths.”

The most significant move has been a deliberate move away from reliance on a single Property Manager, to a team approach to management. How has Ross & Liddell done that? It has created the following teams:

Repairs Team – responsible for reactive repairs and proactive proposals to clients.  

Inspection Team – based on site each day, to ensure that routine inspections are carried out timeously and that action points are quickly identified and followed up by dedicated teams based within the office, before uploading to their Portal, for clients to view. 

Client Support Team – charged with assisting clients with day-to-day enquiries via telephone and email. Client Support staff are committed to delivering a first class customer service experience. All queries are tracked, to ensure that all customers receive a detailed response to their queries.   

By establishing the additional teams outlined above, Property Managers can now focus on communicating with clients on more specific tasks which have been identified as priorities.  

Increasing, and improving, communication and consultation with owners is a priority for Property Managers, with increased attendance at owners’ meetings being a 
principal objective. 

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Harkins notes: “The volume of communication received from clients has increased significantly over the past couple of years. This has also been a key driver for change.”
Playing to strengths within individual teams has enabled Ross & Liddell to streamline day-to-day roles, which has proven effective in meeting the requirements of the Property Factors (Scotland) Act 2011. 

“We’ve been able to recruit within these broader areas and get the workforce trained in different specialisms across departments to provide incredible job satisfaction – and, equally importantly, an excellent service to our clients.” 

Senior Associate Director, Lisa Morrison notes: “It’s important to ensure that all staff receive regular training and ongoing support. In addition to our dedicated Training and Support Manager, we have qualified, experienced staff who can assist other staff with day-to-day learning by sharing their own experiences.” 

Harkins is keen to underline the importance of constructive dialogue in the development of staffing and procedures, noting: “We value feedback from our staff as well as our clients. We are always listening and where we can see certain things aren’t working, we’ll get our heads together and ask: ‘How do we fix this?’

“The changes we’ve put in place have been substantial and a lot of this change has been fed directly from our staff and our clients.

“We’re pleased that we are now at a point where we’re seeing the benefits of our team approach to management.

“It’s working. Clients are making a point of saying that they’ve noticed an improvement in service. 

“They’re noticing when things move quickly and matters are resolved. Our staff appreciate client feedback too. It’s a huge reward when clients are telling them: ‘You’ve done a really good job and I’m really happy with that.’”

Looking to the future, Ross & Liddell have substantial new business in the pipeline, Harkins says: “Our priority is to provide an excellent service to our clients and a rewarding environment to our staff. We’re proud of our staff and the part they are playing in the evolution of Ross & Liddell. 

“To be the best you have to be bold and, very often, that means leading the way. 

“At Ross & Liddell, we’re leading the way for positive change.”

New qualification will be a key tool in drive for excellence

Providing staff with greater knowledge and skills is central to Ross & Liddell’s operation and a new Diploma will help cement that commitment 

Upskilling and continuous learning are important in all job sectors, not only for the wellbeing of employees, recruitment and staff retention but, ultimately, for business success and growth.

In property factoring, too, where being fully up to speed with industry legislation and best practice is vital, formal and informal training is paramount.

Director Jennifer Harkins says: “We have a dedicated Training & Support Manager and we’ve put a lot of investment into delivering proper training. 

“From day one, our staff receive full training in the Property Factors (Scotland)  Act, which, of course, is the fundamental legislation that as a sector we’re all bound by.

“So, from that first day, everybody coming into the company, regardless of their role, understands what the Code of Conduct is and why we to do things the way we do.”

As part of her role, Senior Associate Director at Ross & Liddell, Lisa Morrison, oversees the firm’s newly developed support teams and is happy to report that staff are embracing training, right from the formal inductions on day one. 

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Senior Associate Director, Lisa Morrison


“When you’re a new start coming into a business, it’s always much nicer to have a structured introduction and know what you’re going to be working on in those first few days and weeks,” she says. It’s then down to us to identify any ongoing training gaps that exist for individuals. 

“It’s not always the case that the whole team needs the same training. 
It may be some people have more strengths and more experience in certain areas. 

“Another aspect of training that we’ve developed in, is working with our contractor partners who come into our offices and deliver training to our staff on their specialist services. 

“For example, that might be a knowledge of fire safety systems or building construction and terminology, so when staff are answering queries or dealing with maintenance issues, they already have that sound understanding of what they are dealing with.”

Another major milestone in training and continuous development at Ross & Liddell has been the adoption of a new qualification for employees. The Diploma in Factoring in Scotland, from IRPM, The Institute of Residential Property Management, is designed to help members working in Scotland deliver a thoroughly professional and competent service to homeowners.

For Ross & Liddell, the Diploma is an important tool in its drive for improvement. Harkins says: “From the early stages, we let staff know there is always an opportunity to upskill and develop themselves professionally, this is for employees from all areas of the business. 

“At present, Ross & Liddell has more MIPRM level members compared to any other employer of IRPM members in Scotland, which is something we are very proud of.

“Having this level of training instils a confidence in us, and the industry as a whole, that we are fully qualified in our specialist area, and this learning relates to the Property Factors (Scotland) Act and is directly related to what we achieve in day-to-day factoring.”  

Trust is a precious commodity in today’s world – hard earned and easily lost. By equipping its staff with the broadest possible range of knowledge and skills, clients can be assured that Ross and Liddell is committed to setting new benchmarks for standards of service in the factoring industry.