The RICS valuation report was, few would disagree, a necessary move to restore confidence in the profession, and an intervention that many would argue has been overdue for quite some time.
While it is true that the valuation profession has not experienced any endemic wrongdoing, the market dynamics in real estate have undoubtedly evolved and so too must the standards and expectations against which valuation professionals operate.
In reality, several of the new stipulations are routinely practised by many valuers, whether by professional choice or at the behest of clients – lenders will routinely rotate the valuers they work with, for example. However, the newly required appointment of a valuation compliance officer and the creation of a quality assurance panel will add a completely new dimension to the profession.
While the reforms have been welcomed by the property industry, there are questions around the impact on valuations in practice, and whether the new requirements will alter the dynamic with our clients.
There is no doubt that the changes will support in upholding best practice and discouraging unethical conduct. However, their efficacy ultimately rests on the speed and sense of purpose with which they are implemented in the coming months. We need to see a clear timetable for the changes to take effect, within a timeframe that is ambitious yet achievable.
The report and subsequent implementation of reforms also offer RICS a vital lifeline and the opportunity to solidify its standing in the wake of a challenging period that has seen its reputation tarnished. Along with futureproofing valuations, RICS will be hoping that the reforms help it restore its credibility and standing within the property industry.
The likelihood of further changes and whether the 13-point action plan goes far enough will become clearer with time, for instance, whether we need to go further on the separation of valuation and advisory practices within large multidisciplinary firms – Pereira Gray was clear in his summary that this could be rolled out in the future if deemed necessary.
Nothing is off the table.
Chris Georgallis is head of valuations at Copping Joyce