President's Club scandal: RICS' response

Sean Tompkins

Chief Executive Officer (RICS)

RICS has received a number of enquiries in response to the recent President’s Club dinner in London.

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The event attracted a great deal of critical commentary in the British media and beyond for allegations of inappropriate behaviour towards female hostesses who were working at the dinner. The real estate sector has been highlighted by the media as a major participant group.

RICS does not regulate the entire real estate sector. As a professional body, RICS has a code of ethical conduct for members of its profession. It applies to all members of the profession, at all times – there is no moment or place when a professional can ignore the requirements of the ethical code that they have signed up to. We are therefore very clear on our primary response to those asking questions of us: if we receive evidence of misconduct on the part of a member of this profession, we will investigate and take whatever disciplinary action is necessary. The range of sanctions that can be applied by our independent disciplinary panel includes expulsion from the profession.

Our second response is this: as a Professional Body, we are working with industry leaders on a range of initiatives to attract a more diverse range of people into the wider built environment. There is a war for talent out there. If this is to be a worthwhile investment, the industry itself must play a lead role in ensuring that the sector is one where individuals from all backgrounds want to join and importantly remain. Fostering the right culture and role modelling the required behaviours is at the very heart of achieving this.

A time for change, in no uncertain terms.

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