Week 38

The 21-month meeting means there are only three months to go before the final assessment interview. Month 21 is a key time to make some fundamental decisions:

  • Has the candidate achieved the required minimum levels of competency?
  • Is the candidate confident in their own ability and competency?
  • Have all other criteria been met, regarding professional development, competency sign-offs and so on?
  • Is the candidate ready for their final assessment?

The RICS will request that the candidate, supervisor and counsellor complete an application for the final assessment (graduate routes 1 and 2 only). This is the first stage of commitment to the final assessment process. The pre-submission of documentation will come a month later, and assessment follows a month after that.

Keep a watchful eye on critical dates because if you miss any of them you will automatically be deferred six months to the next assessment period. See www.delever.com for a free download of the APC info sheet, which includes all the critical dates and other useful information relevant to this section of the process.

It is also fundamentally important to make sure that, if the candidate makes the decision to defer, which basically means, ‘No thanks, I’ll apply for assessment again in six months’ time,’ they must communicate this decision to the RICS.

Failure to do so may result in additional fees being charged next time around.

Candidates have a duty to the RICS to ensure their contact details are current and an email address is available. This can be done via the RICS website.

The supervisor (and counsellor), as always, must be ready to assist with guidance and discussion on the final stages of the APC process. The general process for the 21-month meeting is similar to all the other three-monthly meetings we have been discussing in recent months.

See the APC articles over the last six months in Property Week or go to www.propertyweek.com/apc.

The main content of the 21-month meeting articles over the next few weeks will focus on completion of the critical analysis, the culmination of the required minimum levels of competency and the final stages of development of the pre-submission documentation.

The 21-month meeting should run like clockwork, as all parties should be acutely aware of the diminishing timescales. Based on my previous advice, the next few weeks and months should be carefully planned.

Make sure part of the meeting discussion focuses on a review of how the candidate’s training is being achieved, in line with the goals set in the future training plan that was produced at month 12 during the interim assessment. Constantly review and revisit the APC/ATC requirements and competencies guide, along with the relevant pathway competency guide.

As you will have gathered, this period is now hotly focused on the end goal, and it is important to get it right first time.

My closing thoughts for this week are that time is short, and any complacency now will have a stressful effect in a month or so’s time when the critical pre-submission dates arrive.

Don’t forget, everything is achievable, and there is still time if you keep going.

Next week: month 21 supervisor and counsellor review, part 2 candidate preparation

The RICS has published the 2002-2006 Competency Transition arrangements on its website. See www.rics.org/myrics/apc and download the guidance. Don’t forget the rules of conduct at www.rics.org/newregulation

By Jon Lever, managing director of DeLever, APC chairman of assessors, RICS training adviser and RICS licensed assessor trainer. DeLever produces APC resources, training and software: www.delever.com

Competency: Investment management

Investment in general, and property investment in particular, has always been regarded as more of an
art than a science, where investors, decision makers and analysts rely more on their experience, subjective judgement and ‘feel’ rather than objective, quantified evidence and sophisticated analytical procedures.

However, while subjectivity can never be eliminated from the investment decision-making process, a rational approach to the formation of investment strategies and tactics is an essential element of investment management and portfolio management. Greater emphasis is placed on key performance indicators and the statistical skills required to interpret and deliver objectively.

Again, the key to demonstrating your competence is to develop a methodology that delivers an audit trail of the thought processes that have led to your actions. Articulate your research: establish the how, what, when and, critically, the why and add to that ‘why not?’ for other options not followed.

At level 1 you must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles of financial investment in property.

These are well articulated in many textbooks and research papers. Be sure to provide your referenced sources, including financial projections from other industries and the government.

At level 2 you must demonstrate you can apply the principles of managing property as a financial investment, and at level 3 you must provide evidence of reasoned and strategic advice on property as a financial investment, including the preparation and presentation of reports.

If you are required to demonstrate this competence to level 3, you must show how you have met the requirements of levels 1 and 2, so start with ‘knowledge and understanding’, move on to ‘applying’ and finish with ‘reasoned advice’.

By Ben Elder, director at the College of Estate Management, the leading provider of distance learning to the property industry. He is a member of the RICS valuation faculty board and an RICS ATC assessor. Go to www.cem.ac.uk