Blending big business with a heritage brand – Nick Riggs, CFO


Nick Riggs joined Octagon in November 2019, having previously worked for over 20 years in Corporate Finance. While the move into housebuilding was a big shift, he believes the skills learnt during his city tenure can help Octagon continue its upward trajectory.

I was lured by the back story and history of a company with 40 years under private ownership, along with the ‘family’/ ‘open door’ office ambiance, and CEO Tim Banks’ passion for growing the business. He had a plan creating a balanced and profitable portfolio of products, and a desire to bring the Octagon team along on the journey – it sounded like just the opportunity I was looking for, so I joined the Group in November 2019.

Weir House

I had been working for a large corporate with plenty of structure and processes, which can be both a benefit and a hinderance. It allowed me to develop a much broader knowledge of business outside of my immediate sector, which I’ve been able to transfer into my role here at Octagon.

Naturally, working for a smaller company and being part of a smaller teams means there is more accountability – not just for me, but for every member of the business. The quality of your talent is much more noticeable, and we are incredibly lucky to have an extremely talented in-house team at Octagon, from land buyers and designers through to marketing and finance – and everyone in between. If someone is doing an amazing job, they stand out, and we like to make sure individual praise is shared across the business.

It has to be a team mentality

We want everyone to feel involved in all areas of the work Octagon does, not just responsible for their own specific remit. In a company this size, you need everyone to be on the same team and working towards the same goal, and part of my role is to ensure we are doing that well. We have been holding consultation days with every member of the team to ensure all voices are heard and everyone is on the same page and do a quarterly comms meeting to keep everyone up to date with where the business is heading and how we’d like them to continue to be a part of it.

We have a high density of long-standing team members, and their knowledge and loyalty to the brand is essential to its success. But we have also had a big recruitment drive over the past few years, bringing in new faces, skillsets, and growing divisions to ensure we remain competitive and at the top of our game. The housebuilding industry is constantly changing, and with such an extensive history in the sector, Octagon are well known for adapting when necessary.

Core values remain key

We now have multiple businesses under the Octagon brand, and my focus has been on supporting Tim in building a more balanced portfolio of product, whilst retaining our core brand ‘USP’ of high-quality with exemplary customer service. 

We stay engaged in building large, high quality, unique individual homes, some speculatively, such as Faircross on the Wentworth Estate, others through our Octagon Bespoke division. We have also completed our first development under the Chancery Homes brand, which offers upper mid-market homes in desirable locations. We have two exciting new launches coming up in early 2023 as well.

Our aim is to grow each of these areas of our business.  We recognise the need to continually progress and have upgraded our Octagon Bespoke business with the introduction of Octagon Interiors. As well as investing across all our in-house teams of designers, planners, architects, etc. we have supplemented our land team with addition resources to increase our chance of securing new speculative development opportunities for both Octagon and Chancery Homes sites.

This isn’t the job I was expecting

I spend around 60% of my time doing non-financial things, such as working with our land buying and planning team, operations and project managers, on top of management meetings. I can say this isn’t the role I thought I would be doing, but it is far more rewarding.

I get to work with some of the best and most talented individuals in the industry, and grow a heritage British brand – what more could you ask for?

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