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Corporate Governance update

4 NOV 2019

Annual review 2018-19: Sean Tompkins reflects

RICS' financial year 2018-19 has been a period of change, challenge and progress, all playing out in an increasingly uncertain world. While challenging, our activities have further strengthened the foundations for confident real estate markets, helped pioneer better environments, and demonstrated RICS' thought leadership as a leading force for positive social impact.

I am pleased to report RICS has delivered confidence this year in four key areas:

1. Trusted by stakeholders and society

Our development and enforcement of leading international standards has protected consumers and businesses by ensuring the utmost level of professionalism is employed across the built and natural environment.

This year has seen key organisations benefit from these standards, with new collaborations opening opportunities for RICS to champion their success. A prominent achievement to celebrate is the adoption of International Property Measurement Standards (IPMS) by the Administration Committee of Beijing, which opened the way for RICS to participate in a Chinese government-backed coalition of leading real estate decision makers. The International Air Transport Association adopted International Construction Measurement Standards (ICMS2), which will require all parties involved in airport development, airport planning, capacity planning and terminal planning to deliver aviation infrastructure to a common standard.

In the UK, we have driven consistent standards in cost measurement through successful collaboration with key infrastructure players such as Crossrail 2, Transport for London and Network Rail. We have also begun to advance the business case for social value, while celebrating and showcasing through our annual Awards the long-lasting social impact that professionals in the built and natural environment can make.

2. RICS professional qualifications remain in demand

We have been researching, designing and delivering lifelong learning and development to equip professionals to advance innovation and remain relevant to the changing demands of the built and natural environment as well as the wider world.

Demand for our qualifications remains strong – over 22,000 candidates are currently working towards the professional recognition that would see them join our 110,000 qualified members. Perhaps more significantly, every year more and more diverse talent chooses to become part of our profession, with Female candidates now making almost 30% of new applications, up from nearly 15% just six years ago. We remain committed to leading an inclusive profession and to championing diverse cognitive talents – only by embracing all human capability and perspectives can we solve the existential population and resource challenges that will define our time and that of future generations.

Sean Tompkins WBEF-RICS
Sean Tompkins speaking at this year's World Built Environment Forum Summit in New York.

Delivering confidence

3. Influential thought leader

We are creating transparency and enabling confident market decision-making by delivering trusted knowledge, data and insight for the built and natural environment.

As an example of our extensive work here, the European Central Bank has adopted RICS European data from the Global Commercial Property Monitor to provide consistent and comparable information for its operations with the European System of Central Banks. All European central banks now use RICS data as key market indicators within commercial real estate, a tangible example of how RICS thought leadership and insights are key to the smooth functioning of our economic infrastructure.

RICS professionals and clients are continuously pooling knowledge and sharing insight via our flagship World Built Environment Forum (WBEF) and Summit. In this vibrant online community and live global summit, we are bringing together world-leaders in the built and natural environment, providing them with the platform to collaborate on innovations that will future-proof our profession.

4. Sustainable 21st century professional body

We recognise that the changing world around us requires greater thought leadership and agility to action. This year we have begun implementing a series of major reforms to RICS' governance and Bye-laws to position us well for the future. I am pleased to say, when put to a general vote to all qualified members of the profession, it passed with an overwhelming majority. We have also recently refreshed our executive team, introducing new key roles including Chief Markets Officer, Executive Director of the Profession, and Chief People Officer. This new executive leadership has strengthened our organisation's ability to support and lead change for RICS, and I look forward to working with them.

Effecting Positive Change

I was particularly honoured alongside our President to be able to showcase the profession's contribution to shaping our world when we hosted Her Majesty the Queen at RICS' London Headquarters in celebration of our 150th anniversary as a chartered body. Throughout this period and today, RICS professionals continue to drive positive change in the public interest every day across the world. This is by no means an exhaustive list of our successes this year, but all our activities strengthen RICS' ability to achieve our ultimate purpose, which is to effect positive change for people who live, work and play in the built and natural environment.