The Charter for Independent Estate and Letting Agents has started its ‘pre-launch’ membership drive - and says it ultimately want to float on the stock market.
Over the weekend the pre-launch membership became open “to every qualifying independent agent owner”; the group defines this as being company owners or LLP partners, with the business being registered at Companies House and its management being “in active contact on a frequent basis with staff and customers.”
Online agencies are banned from the group, which in recent weeks has lodged a complaint about Purplebricks with the Advertising Standards Authority.
CIELA says it will launch fully on October 1 and that membership between now and then will cost £35 plus VAT per month, in return for which members will have access to private discussion forums, can participate in surveys, and can vote on the group’s future plans.
The organisation also says that it has an ambition to float on the stock market “eventually”.
On its website, CIELA says that any decision would be “entirely at the current owner’s discretion” and indeed may never happen.
However, it goes on to say that “if it is floated, the group of paying members will receive the option to own up to 50 per cent of the entire company by purchasing shares.” It adds that those members who joined during this pre-launch phase and continue as members will receive the option to purchase shares at discount rates.
The first 10 per cent of agents who join would receive a 90 per cent; the second 10 per cent would receive an 80 per cent discount; and so on down to some later joiners who would receive a 10 per cent discount on the share price.
CIELA says that between this phase and any possible flotation “with sufficient support and once approved by members an irrevocable scheme will be put in place to allow ownership of the organisation by members, and to prevent a sale of the organisation to any party not approved by members.”
The group has already said it would be unlikely to launch a portal in the near future.