On 30th September RICS announced that the recently formed Standards & Regulation Board had commissioned an independent Review of real estate investment valuation practices. The Board has so far appointed a Chairman for the Review, Peter Pereira Gray, and issued the proposed terms of reference. The Chairman will be responsible for appointing an Expert Working Group to undertake the review and make recommendations.
The terms of reference for the review have been published and cover four main areas:
Valuation methodology: This includes examining whether current valuation methodology is fit for purpose and in line with market practice, and more controversially whether RICS should actively specify the methodology to be adopted in certain circumstances.
Property risk analysis: This is to examine if valuations are provided in a manner which gives clients sufficient forward-looking information on risks in addition to the current value.
Independence and objectivity: In the light of concern about the independence of the audit and consulting activities of large accounting firms, to consider if RICS needs to revise its requirements in respect of valuer independence for financial reporting and investment portfolio valuations.
Measuring confidence: To consider how RICS can measure market confidence in RICS valuers on a continuing basis.
RICS is inviting comments on the terms of reference but these must be made before Friday 23 October. The Review will start gathering evidence before the end of this year and is due to present its final recommendations to RICS by the end of August 2021.
Those of a certain age will see echoes of the independent review undertaken by Sir Bryan Carsberg in 2002 into investment portfolio valuations in the UK, and which resulted in a number of changes to the Red Book, specifically the additional independence and disclosure requirements for what are termed “Regulated Purpose Valuations”. These changes were made following extensive consultation on how the 18 recommendations made by Carsberg could be implemented. While it is right that these issues are periodically revisited, it is important that the Review is made aware of the previous work done in this area and in particular why certain requirements in the Red Book were formulated in the way they are.
It is important that all valuation members of RICS engage with this review and make their views known. While relatively few firms now have the scale and resources to undertake regular property fund valuations, it is important that valuations for this narrow sector do not drive changes to the Red Book that could have unintended consequences for the interests of clients requiring other types of valuation service. While the primary focus will be on the UK, the Review is also briefed to assess comparability of its recommendations on independence with other key global markets, so it could be of relevance to valuers operating in any of these markets.
We will be doing our best to follow the progress of the Review and will share any evidence we can provide or comments on draft proposals.