Consultation is underway on proposed International Ethics Standards (IES) for real estate practitioners. Members of 63 industry and professional organizations worldwide that make up a broad coalition of sponsors for the initiative have been asked to comment on newly released draft principles to guide business conduct.
“We are involved so that we can be part of the process, keep our members informed as to what these ethical standards might be as they evolve, and influence the outcome to be certainly as strong as they can be,” says Michael Brooks, chief executive officer of the Real Property Association of Canada (REALpac), one of two Canadian participants in the IES coalition along with the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC).
The draft real estate ethics standards and associated consultation period follow 15 months of work since the effort was launched at the United Nations in October 2014 to develop a consistent global definition of appropriate behaviour that practitioners, clients, third parties and stakeholders can readily reference. Proponents maintain this will aid the transparency of global property markets, increasing both investor and consumer confidence.
“The new standard has been written by a group of independent industry leaders and international ethics and compliance experts appointed by Trustees of the IES coalition,” explains Tony Grant, deputy chair of the IES coalition and a past world president of the International Real Estate Federation. “The IES coalition is organizing this three-month consultation to ensure that the final version is high quality, understood and accepted by all participating organizations, practitioners and their clients.”
Any international, national or regional not-for-profit organization serving the real estate industry or its related professions is eligible to join the coalition — meaning that participants come with their own rules for practice and business dealings in the markets they serve. The IES aims to shape this diverse, multi-disciplinary approach into a harmonized philosophy with the sway of broad-based support. The principles encompass 10 high-level values that coalition members would then incorporate into their own codes of conduct, while also remaining free to implement more detailed and/or more stringent rules.
“We believe in international standards. That’s why we are involved in IFRS, IVSC, IPMSC, GRESB, GRI, IPD and a host of others,” Brooks observes. “Canadians have one of the most corruption-free societies in the world according to recent reports, and we believe that our real estate industry carries those high ethical standards already, but it would be good to have an ethical standard that applies across the real estate environment globally.”