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RICS, industry leaders to oversee conflict of interest guidelines
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By Brianna Crandall, October 5, 2015—RICS (the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), the U.K.-based international professional body for land, property and construction, is raising the bar for the industry by addressing the issue of possible conflicts of interest. Industry leaders from organizations such as Deloitte, Lothbury Investment Management and Countrywide Surveyors will form a U.K.-wide advisory working group to develop a new conflict of interest mandate for chartered surveyors.

Advisory working group

The advisory working group, set up by RICS, will be chaired by independent solicitor Will Glassey, partner at Mayer Brown, and includes CEOs from some of the U.K.'s largest companies, the SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) sector, and RICS staff.

Guidelines

The new guidelines will be in place by 2017, following a consultation period, which commenced last week with a public survey on the issues relating to conflict of interest and applying ethical guidance. Interested parties are urged to contribute their views via the RICS Conflicts of Interest Questionnaire on the RICS Web site.

Antony Townsend, chair of RICS U.K. and Ireland Regulatory Board, said, "While guidance on conflict of interest already exists in RICS practice statements and is fundamental to the work of chartered surveyors, it is vital that we regularly review our standards and guidance to ensure that they remain appropriate in a rapidly changing and increasingly globalized market. We started this work in early 2015, and the recent spotlight on conflicts of interest in our profession reinforces its importance.

"We have opened a consultation to capture the view of members, member firms and consumers to gauge the issues facing the profession and clients. Market feedback and insight are vital to the process, to ensure that the final standard is fit for purpose, relevant in today's market, and that RICS continues to set the benchmark for fairness and quality in the property sector."

The consultation was launched with four questionnaires covering different areas of real estate, and will be open until October 16, 2015. There will be extensive consultation throughout 2015-2016, with the review published, recommendations implemented, and the new industry standard brought to market in early 2017.

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