The go-ahead has been given to create a group aiming to unite independent estate and letting agents into a single powerful voice - but the possibility of a portal to help challenge existing corporates has been put on ice for at least a year.
The preliminary meeting of the Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents was held yesterday in London after considerable industry publicity earlier this week.
It agreed that the founder members would be:
Donald Collins of Go View London;
Tom Bloomfield of Bloomfield Grey;
Richard à Brassard of Courtenay;
Kristjan Byfield of Base Property Specialists;
Nick Goldsworthy and Andy Ferguson of Logic Estates;
Peter Wetherell of Wetherell of Mayfair;
Jay Chitnis of HJC Estates;
Perry Power of Power Bespoke;
Luke Gidney of Let Leeds; and
Simon Gresswell of Finlay Brewer.
Possibly conscious of the all-male image of the founding members, the preliminary meeting also decided to keep two remaining founding member positions open for women.
A statement by CIELA after the meeting addressed head-on the controversial issue of a possible portal to challenge existing players and to help monetise the content held by independent agents.
The statement says: “The question of whether or not a challenger portal might be launched was not discussed at this meeting, but it was re-confirmed by the Club Founder Charlie Wright that, even if the club succeeds in gathering the required support to launch, and even if members demand a vote and vote in favour of launching a new portal, such a vote is, at the very soonest, one year away, and a portal offering does not constitute part of the launch plans of the CIELA organisation.”
The statement goes on to say that the overwhelming topic of discussion was the lack of success of previous agency bodies and how to overcome what it described as “the understandable cynicism within the industry.”
CIELA says that also under discussion was the group structure.
With founder members plus regional, county and London borough representatives this would take the ‘officers’ of the group to almost 100 - and it was discussed whether this would be required “to win the majority support of the approximately 15,000 small independent agency businesses across the country.”
CIELA creator Charlie Wright says he will unveil to the next meeting of founding members an eight point plan “to ensure that every independent in the country will want to join at the outset.”
That next meeting will be an all-day event at a venue to be decided, and held on February 22.
Those wishing to express interest in the vacant founding member positions or more general interest in the group can find details about it here.