BREAKING NEWS THURSDAY 18/02/2021
There are a number of stories today but given the number of people exiting NAEA Propertymark in the last eight months, with no explanation – we are running only one item today.
NAEA PROPERTYMARK DOES THIS OLD BOYS CLUB NEEDS TO GO?
According to a poll conducted, 30% believe that the NAEA Propertymark brand is so badly damaged it should be dissolved and a new entity formed. Certainly, the fact that when anyone leaves Propertymark it would seem possibly that they have signed away their rights to make any comment, which in itself is a sign of a paranoid and secretive regime.
It is clear that the employment of CEO Tim Balcon who was a man who grew memberships and sold online training programmes, showed the mindset of this organisation. Get more revenue in, and sell them courses – with of course the much-heralded new world of RoPA as the centrepiece strategy, whipping up agents into a frenzy with the need to be compliant.
This old boys club needs to go, and Jeremy Leaf RICS does little to help by openly stating that in his opinion it is a blessing that Mark Hayward is still in situ to steady the boat and ‘help’ find a successor, personally I think ALL need to exit the ship and allow a grass roots upwards approach to reign once more.
Though never a member, but an agent for 32 years I did on two occasions back in the 1980’s attend meetings of the then NAEA. At that time, the members were the organisation, and the organisation was the members. Now it has become an elitist clique, secretive, with recent elections being carried out without recourse to the membership.
This organisation needs to be brought to account, a big searchlight needs to be put on why for several years it failed to pay its VAT, why the financial officer and the accountants were incompetent, how much was paid to the HMRC, was there a fine?
All this has been swept under the carpet, yet it is all documented in the Annual Report and Financial for the year ended 2019 propertymark.
The Finance department has undergone a major
review of its processes, systems, and procedures.
As part of gaining that financial stability we have
identified that our tax position was not properly
ordered and that has led to a significant payment
to HM Revenue and Customs of outstanding VAT
which has arisen through mis definition of our liabilities
and exemptions over a number of years. We are
confident that Propertymark’s finances are now
on a sure footing.
Probably the biggest questions for me are why no Directors were not struck off, and or fined or even imprisoned, as not paying VAT carries hefty sanctions, and why was no apology made to every single member of Propertymark. After all they are quick to send out an email once someone from the c-suite is despatched.
The massive discontent between the c-suite vision of Propertymark is further revealed in the same report where it shows that, despite not being able to regulate itself financially, it is of course the natural heir to leading all agents in the UK through any regulatory changes.
Surely, it should be the other way round? It is the best example of how not to run a real estate organisation.
It actually states that it has a heightened perspective as it ‘liaises closely … (with) HMRC and customs’. What it should be saying is that in light of its inability to be financially compliant, it needs to hand its reigns over to someone who can run a listed company correctly, or disband itself.
A quote from the same report, page 13 – Consolidated Financial Statements
The business of the group is to represent its
members to the public, parliament and other relevant
stakeholders; and to promote unity and understanding
amongst sales agents, letting agents and other
property professionals. Its core objectives are to
support members, raise standards in the industry
and to protect the consumer.
Propertymark liaises closely with those Government
departments that have responsibilities for the Housing
sector including HM Treasury and HM Revenue and
Customs where those departments’ remits touch
on member business. Two‑way communication is
maintained with the National Trading Standards
Estate and Letting Agents Team which has an overall
compliance responsibility within the sector. There is
further active participation in industry groups and
Time for the hypocrisy to end, time for transparency, maybe time for Propertymark to stop thumping the RoPA is coming drum, that drives tens of thousands into the coffers of Propertymark on training courses, for legislation that is years away and may never happen.
Bearing in mind that the RoPA proposals are spearheaded by individuals in their mid-70’s and early 80’s, wisdom for sure often comes from the older generation, but does real estate in the UK not deserve the voice and eyes and ears of younger people, preferably who have a deep understanding of the fourth industrial revolution.
The role of technology, the change to e-commerce, the new ways business will look when 5G and radar technology dice and splice the economies of the world in a very different way. The big questions now revolve around data, and how the consumer wants to do business in every marketplace and industry.
Maybe Propertymark 2 might get a leader whose mind can straddle all things. A mind that listens and embraces the grass roots, sees that estate agency like all industries is buckling under the pressures of the emergent technologies that are sweeping into all sectors – (look at Fin Tech and the banking revolution) and is man or woman enough to hold up their hand when things go wrong and apologise – rather than shuffling off gagged and bound.
If you have a view – please let us all know by emailing me at [email protected] – Andrew Stanton Executive Editor – moving property and proptech forward.