Group History

SDL Property Services Group Ltd is a large, diverse property services business established in 1989 as Direct Valuations, and through additions and acquisitions has evolved into a £100m turnover business employing 600 staff from Glasgow to Southampton. SDL Group offer national coverage in risk management, surveying, lettings, property management, estate agency, mortgages and insurance broking.

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 SDL Lettings which provided back-office lettings support to landlords.

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 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, an insurance broker who specialise 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.

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

In 2017 SDL Property Management was formed encompassing lettings, estate management, commercial agency and PRS. SDL have been a key part of a team that have successfully delivered 32 PRS schemes in the North West over the last 4 years providing in excess of 2000 homes. The property management business evolved from several acquisitions including SJ Higgins & the Alexander Faulkner Partnership.

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

Passionate people

Pursuit of a better way

Partnerships that add value