Six months ago – on Friday 26th April 2019, the Institute of Surveyors St. Lucia Inc. (ISSLU) and the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) signed an historic agreement that allows the members of the ISSLU to achieve RICS Qualification in order to meet the standards that have been set out by the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) – the regulator of financial institutions in the OECS.
In 2018, the ECCB formally declared that all affiliate banking and financial institutions should only have valuations done by properly trained and qualified Valuation Surveyors/Appraisers/Valuers. The decree from the ECCB was done in an effort to standardise the valuation services offered by practitioners across the Eastern Caribbean. It was noted that many of those who practice valuation science were not always on the same page as per procedures, information gathering and reporting. As a result, there were inconsistencies with the reports being produced. Therefore, it was recommended a professional qualification and its incumbent training must be met by all valuation practitioners.
In order to meet the requirements as set forth by the ECCB, the ISSLU partnered with the RICS to ensure that those members who practice valuation science become fully qualified to meet those reporting requirements and procedures.
The RICS is an internationally recognised body that provides both training and qualification to members of the valuation and quantity surveying professions, in addition to project management and other services providers. A holder of RICS qualification has the ability to practice throughout the world in their chosen area of operation. See www.rics.org
Present at the signing were Ms. Carmel Haynes – RICS – Americas Marketing Director, and Mr. Tedburt Theobalds – President of the ISSLU. Commenting, Ms. Haynes declared that the RICS has agreed to partner to work with the ISSLU to offer training and qualification to members in St Lucia. In addition, to the reduced cost (for ISSLU members), the participants in the programme would also be offered guidance through the various stages of the qualification route.
Also speaking, Mr. Theobalds said in earnest, that it is hoped that the members would participate in this programme as is it critical to meet the standards of the ECCB. This is so, as it will soon be mandatory that all Valuation Surveyors be properly qualified by a professional body in order to practice valuation science within the confines of the Eastern Caribbean. Both reiterated that the qualification is beneficial beyond the boundaries of the Eastern Caribbean as the qualification would allow its recipients to practice almost anywhere in the world.
The ECCB Prudential Guidelines for Financial Institutions, sets out among others things, guidelines for the presentation of valuation reports for consideration by banks and other institutions. These guidelines were created to ensure that reports presented were on par with the rest of the world as well as preventing disparities that have occurred in the past. The details of which are outlined in the ECCB’s document “Valuation Standards for Institutions Licensed under the Banking Act”, Section 15, dated December 2017.
The ISSLU/RICS agreement will now allow valuation surveyors in Saint Lucia to adhere to the stated requirements of the ECCB. To date a total of 25 members of the Institute of Surveyors (ISSLU) are presently pursuing the RICS comprehensive training programme organised by the ISSLU in Valuation Surveying towards the attainment of the Assoc RICS. The programme comes to an end next Tuesday (December 23) by which time the ISSLU members would have sat and completed their final exam in the six (6) month rigorous training programme entitled “Foundations in Valuation Methodology” delivered online by an experienced and qualified RICS tutor in the UK – Ms. Kate Taylor.
The ISSLU is also presently working on a pilot project with the ECCB towards the eventual setting up of an Eastern Caribbean Appraisal Institute (ECAI) in the not too distant future. To this end, the ECCB has appointed a local consultant in the person of Mr. Celsus Baptiste – a retired Commissioner of Lands and Valuer to co-ordinate activities on their behalf. Mr. Baptiste has already met with the Board of the ISSLU to chart the way forward. It is hoped that by the end of 2020 the ISSLU will have a cadre of highly trained. qualified and competent Valuation Surveyors/Valuers/Appraisers in St Lucia and the OECS.