Group History

At the SDL Group, we have been providing expertise in residential property services since 1989. Today we offer national coverage in risk management, surveying, lettings, estate agency, mortgages and insurance broking.

In 2016 Shepherd Direct Limited’s name was shortened to the SDL Group, to reflect the Group’s forward-thinking, entrepreneurial approach.

The Group began in 1989 as Direct Valuations, a national property valuation solution linked to First Direct, and became Shepherd Direct following the addition of Shepherd Surveyors (England and Wales) to the Group.

From 2011, the Group built on the surveying business to form Direct Lettings (now SDL Lettings), providing back-office lettings support to landlords. This now also supports the group’s work in the Private Rental Sector, managing new-build rental housing developments from initial investment to tenant management.

In 2013, the Group acquired the license to franchise CENTURY 21 UK, part of one of the world’s largest estate agency organisations. There are now around 60 CENTURY 21 branches across the UK, including CENTURY 21 Bigwood, CENTURY 21 Graham Penny and the award-winning estate agency Humphreys of Chester.

The Group also owns part of Stonebridge Mortgage Solutions, one of the UK’s largest mortgage brokers, which incorporates moneyQuest, who provide telephone-based mortgage advice nationwide from their Glasgow base. Pure Protect, a whole of market insurance broker, specialize in advising consumers on life and critical illness cover on behalf of mortgage brokers.

Having acquired West Midlands auction business CP Bigwood in 2015, and the East Midlands’ most successful auction house Graham Penny in 2016, SDL Auctions is now one of the UK’s preeminent property auction networks, with regular auctions nationwide.

More information on our businesses can be found on our Brands page.

Passionate people

Pursuit of a better way

Partnerships that add value