No comment please – OPP article re NAEA disciplinary process

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    From OPP magazine today:

    OPP can reveal exclusively that MRI Overseas Property, one of Europe’s biggest property companies, has quit its membership of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) after it alleged that the trade body was being used as a platform for “libellous” comments against it.

    In a fast moving story, MRI released a statement yesterday stating that it was “astonished and concerned” at the handling of its disciplinary hearing structure for its members. It alleged that complainants were being coached by external parties before giving evidence at the tribunals and was considering leaving the trade body if not satisfied with the outcome of a hearing between MRI and an unknown party yesterday.

    Dominic Pickering, MRI’s chief operating officer, said: “MRI has always been a great believer in professional associations, but only if they are used in the correct way. We have a real concern that the NAEA’s impartiality as an industry body is being hijacked by a number of outside interests acting together. We are hoping that the NAEA can demonstrate it is not being affected by these outside forces, but if it cannot, we will have no option but to take further action to protect our reputation as necessary.”

    OPP contacted the NAEA for their opinion on the story and was told by a spokesperson that it did not comment on specific cases, however the trade body would talk to OPP once the full details of yesterday’s hearing were known.

    Commenting on the disciplinary process for its members, an NAEA spokesperson told OPP: “Both parties from the outset are given the opportunity to respond to the case with timescales set down and, as far as I am aware, both parties have the right to be present at the hearing if they want to be.”

    However, late yesterday afternoon, MRI told OPP that it has decided to quit its membership of the trade body and issued a further statement this morning – exclusive to OPP.

    “The NAEA took the wholly unreasonable decision to proceed with this hearing, despite being informed of the very serious matters we have uncovered,” said Pickering. “They have not been able to provide us with any justification for this approach. In the circumstances, I have entirely lost faith in the processes and authority of the NAEA and I have regrettably concluded that we can no longer remain associated with them.”

    PS – only individuals are members (as I am) of NAEA not organisations – I maybe wrong, but their is only one member who is identified as a member of the NAEA – DM.

    PPS – competence exams for “overseas” members are coming into force in 2009

    PPPS – for more information about the association http://www.naea.co.uk/

    AP

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