Referendum foresight earns national award for Knight Frank recruit

Matthew Aitchison, a graduate of the University of Aberdeen who is now part of the Knight Frank team in Aberdeen, has been presented with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Scotland Valuation Professional Group Board student award for the best dissertation in Scotland.

His 2014 study, in advance of the historic vote, examined the potential consequences of the referendum on the office property market in Scotland.

The former Edinburgh Academy pupil won praise for his conclusions, which proved to accurately predict the sector’s experiences during the referendum period. His assessment was broken into four sections which looked at the pre-vote period, the impact of a no vote and a yes vote as well as the potential for a close run contest.

Matthew explained: “I used the term ‘neverendum’ to describe a narrow majority for either side, and in the end that is what the vote brought. I had read that applied in other circumstances and it jumped out as a perfect fit for the vote. The RICS judging panel made mention of me using that term in the context of the Scottish market and I’m told it is one that has been applied elsewhere since then.

“I was proud to collect the award and to be recognised for my dissertation. I’m grateful to the University of Aberdeen for nominating me, it was a great surprise to be invited to the ceremony and to collect the award.”

It is the latest achievement for the graduate, who was awarded the prize for best third year Real Estate student at the University of Aberdeen. He was also part of a five strong university team which took part in the Cornell International Real Estate Competition in New York, recording the third highest score in the 14 team group stage.

The 22-year-old joined Knight Frank after graduating in 2014 and is enjoying the variety of his first role in the commercial property sector.

He said: “I am working closely with Richard Evans, the partner leading the professional services department in Aberdeen, and have focused primarily on valuations. I will also gain experience with the agency team as part of the process for my Assessment of Professional Competence (APC) and am learning every day.

“Working for Knight Frank in Aberdeen, which has a unique commercial property market, has been hugely beneficial. The practical experience over the past eight-months has added a whole new perspective to the theory of my degree course.”

Knight Frank partner Richard Evans said: “We are delighted that Matthew has won this award, which is a tremendous honour for him and very well deserved.

“As a graduate coming into the profession he will gain valuable insight following the aftermath of the referendum and also in terms of the changes to the Aberdeen commercial property market during a period of uncertainty for the oil and gas sector. Those experiences will be very valuable as Matthew embarks on his career with Knight Frank.”

A graduate surveyor has been recognised for his expert analysis of the impact of the Scottish independence referendum on the commercial property market – and has been praised for adopting the perfect phrase to describe the outcome.

Matthew Aitchison

Matthew Aitchison

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