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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
In this issue of the Journal we present a themed issue on valuation in tandem with the World Valuation Congress. The World Valuation Congress conducted its 10th, biennial Congress (WVC X) at the University of Cambridge, between 21-24 July, 2003.
The Congress theme was “Is there a future for the valuation profession?” It attracted delegates from 26 countries despite the complications of SARs, war and terrorism. For the last 20 years WVC has been an important, independent forum for the international exchange of ideas on valuation issues. Congress X examined the future of the valuation profession, with the resounding conclusion was that there is a future, but complacency and reliance on the past will not guarantee that future.
In a world where the only constant is change, the provocative theme was designed to elicit forward thinking. Plenary speakers, workshop presenters and delegates in discussion groups rose to the challenge and discussed the future of the profession over three days within the serene and historic environment of Clare College, thanks to the Cambridge International Land Institute.
Six distinguished speakers addressed Congress including practitioners and academics. WVC X also set out to hear from industry and was not disappointed.
After introducing the Honourable Amos Kimunya, MP, the Kenyan Minister for Lands and Settlements, Hong Kong’s Nicholas Brooke, the first truly international President of RICS, opened the Congress and in his opening remarks set the tone for what was to follow.
The first plenary speaker was Mr Barry Gilbertson, Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers, then Senior Vice President of the RICS. Mr Gilbertson examined the role of the professional in a global environment distinguishing the need for valuers to provide a service that was of value to clients as opposed to using automated valuation models that reduce the valuation service to a commodity produced at the lowest possible cost. The future role of the valuer, in his view was assured but only if valuers adapted to the realities of the marketplace and re-shaped their skills and services. His paper is presented in this issue as the “Practice briefing”.
Professor Stanley Hamilton, from the Sauder Business School at the University of British Columbia, provided a refreshing look at the future of the training of valuers. Dr Hamilton concluded that there was a future for the valuation profession but that it was time to move away from a rigid delineation of process and introduce a higher level of integration and critical thinking required of today’s professional. It was no longer adequate to rely on professional and technical ability. Valuers need to be adept at a much broader range of meta-skills to survive and be successful.
On the second day of Congress, Mr Michael Johns, CEO of the UK Valuation Office Agency, examined the Congress theme from the perspective of a public authority charged with valuing properties in England and Wales. In the area of valuations, Mr Johns stressed the need not to underestimate the cultural change that was occurring whereby valuers needed to develop new skills not previously in the domain of the valuer, including a sound understanding of data management and statistical modelling. Valuers need to adapt and become team participants. They need to assume managerial roles and this will present challenges.
Otis Spencer, Senior Portfolio Manager, Asia and Europe, for the Dutch pension fund giant, ABP, brought a user’s perspective to the proceedings. Mr Spencer, in recognizing the importance of the role of the valuer, focused on the need for international standards. The lack of a secondary market for many real estate assets, required greater attention on securitized assets where the value of holdings was more readily identified. As a user, Mr Spencer was demanding low cost appraisals at a high quality. This eternal conundrum was one that was not without contention.
On the final day of Congress, Mr Alan White, Consultant, DTZ Pieda Consulting, examined the Congress theme in the context of corporate operational and financial strategies. Mr White was unequivocal in his belief that there was a role for the valuation profession in the future. In what was becoming a recurring suggestion, valuers need to change and adapt quicker to a fast-paced and changing environment. Valuers need to move up the managerial hierarchy from a position of advisor to one of decision maker at a strategic level. This will require a much broader set of skills and include an ability to provide informal business advisory solutions. The profession, in Mr White’s view, need to be forward looking and innovative to survive.
Mr Duncan Preston, National Director, Jones Lang LaSalle and Chairman, RICS Valuation Faculty, delivered the final and insightful plenary paper. Mr Preston’s focus was valuation standards, professionalism and competence, three core issues that Mr Preston believed the valuer needed to rely upon in deserving future success. Recognizing that the profession does not operate in a vacuum, Mr Preston discussed the environmental issues he considered important in the world of the valuer: the need to harness technology, the acceptance of a global marketplace, understanding the importance of intangible assets and a need to encourage the best people to enter and remain in the profession.
In conclusion, the words of a couple of participants summed up Congress. Mr Bill Endsley, from the US Appraisal Institute, remarked “… an extraordinary Congress …”. Mr Bill Dixon, President of the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation added “… a most enjoyable and successful conference … not only excellent papers and discussion but tremendous friendship and bonhomie … my first but not my last.”
David Greenwood, James BaxterCo-Managers, World Valuation Congress www.worldvaluationcongress.org