Week 35

There are clearly defined steps and a variety of other key issues that candidates should consider when preparing for their 18-month meeting.

Candidate Preparation

Refer back to previous APC advice articles for the 12- and 15-month meetings. Focus on producing a summary of a candidate’s experience and competency development.

As a reminder, in addition to reviewing the APC guides, candidates should consider:

  • booking and attendance
  • pre-meeting documentation
  • APC diary
  • logbook
  • professional development
  • record of progress
  • interim assessment achievement records 9 summary of experience/training completed
  • critical analysis (full draft).

Candidates’ main aim at the 18-month meeting is to start to focus on the final six months of the APC process, which can be demanding, as day jobs need to be done.

Once all of the standard documentation is produced, I would advise every candidate to ensure that they take time to prepare a good draft version of the critical analysis report. The 18-month meeting provides the opportunity for supervisor and counsellor to offer constructive criticism about the content and progress of the report.

There will be enough time for candidate, supervisor and counsellor to focus on the report at the meeting. If this does not take place, there may not be another occasion to address the report until the 21-month meeting, which is pushing the time limit and may cause the report to be rushed. Take time now, focus on the report and make sure the candidate uses this meeting to quiz the supervisor and counsellor on any aspects of the report that need clarification or a professional eye cast over them.

It is important to get the supervisor and counsellor involved early on with what the candidate is doing for their APC, as in these final six months, they need to be switched on to agree with the candidate on aspects of their APC or provide additional guidance if any areas are lacking.

All the pre-meeting documentation should be up to date and delivered to the supervisor and counsellor a week before the 18-month meeting. It is also advisable for the candidate to review previous meeting notes and the future training plan produced at the interim assessment.

The 18-month meeting is an excellent time for the candidate to raise any issues relating to competency deficiencies, as time is short and any gaps need to be filled before the final assessment.

Candidates should also produce a plan for the next six months, establishing timescales and ‘deliverables’. Establish the ‘critical’ dates for the pathway the candidate is following. Work back from them to today, so that the ‘real’ picture of the task ahead can be developed. If candidates cannot find the critical dates, they are on the downloadable ‘APC info sheet’ at www.delever.com.

Candidates must knuckle down and get the job done. You are going to have little time over the next six months for anything other than APC. Plan and prepare properly. The RICS has tightened up the process and an ‘unprofessional’ submission will be sent back and the candidate deferred six months to the next available assessment session. Don’t be a victim. Get it right first time. If you don’t know something, ask.

Next week: month 18 supervisor/counsellor review, part three – candidate preparation

Jon Lever runs an APC discussion forum on Facebook. For full details, log on to www.delever.com

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: go to www.delever.com

Competency: Corporate Finance

On first sight, this appears a very specialist competency within the APC. In truth, you are unlikely to have chosen this competency unless you have substantial direct exposure to corporate finance issues.

However, the underlying principles of corporate finance are relatively straightforward and mainly focus on debt and equity finance, and understanding how the costs of these two sources of finance may be determined.

The principles of corporate finance may be straightforward, but the nature of property and the regulations governing corporate finance are not. When demonstrating your competence, do not forget to show how you keep up to date.

Do this proactively, by making a record of your regular research activities, even if the results show no change.

At level one, you must demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the principles and practices underlying the structuring and financing of corporate transactions.

But by level two, you must show how you apply your knowledge to assist in advising corporate organisations on the capital structure options relating to occupational and surplus real estate.

It is quite unusual for a competency to require you
to demonstrate that you have provided ‘assistance in advising’ at level two, so don’t fall short in your evidence. Ensure that you show how ‘you have provided a recommendation’ that ends up in the advice given to a client.

At level three, you must provide evidence that you have given reasoned advice on the effects of different corporate financing techniques and structures on real estate or plant and machinery holdings in a corporate context. This should include impacts on accounts and contributions to mergers and acquisitions activity, as well as general corporate financing/ restructuring transactions.

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. www.cem.ac.uk