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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

New Propertymark CEO Balcon stays silent on leadership resignation

The new chief executive of Propertymark has declined to answer questions relating to the resignation of the NAEA president only half way through her term.

Kirsty Finney’s resignation was announced in a terse email on Saturday, which was said by the NAEA to have gone to all members - although many have contacted the trade press to say they had not received the email.

Unusually the email offered no thanks to Finney for her departure, and gave no details of why she quit six months through the 12 month period in office. The Propertymark websites also offer no information about the departure.

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Now Estate Agent Today has asked the NAEA for the views of the association’s new chief executive Tim Balcon on the matter.

Since taking up the role he has been high profile with interviews for the trade press, and has repeatedly emphasised that he wants the association to be linked with the growing professionalisation of the agency sector. He has commented on a range of subjects, including adding his congratulations to a statement issued by Propertymark about apprentices.

Yesterday we asked the association another three questions on this issue:

1. Why had there been no comment from Tim Balcon, as chief executive, on the departure of the president?

2. Why did some NAEA members apparently not receive the resignation email, based on those who contacted EAT and other trade titles? and

3. Given Tim Balcon's desire to see the NAEA symbolise the increased professionalism of the agency industry, did he think the resignation issue had been handled professionally?

The only response we received stated: “A Propertymark spokesperson confirmed that the news about changes to the NAEA Presidential team would have been received by members in the Propertymark newsletter which was sent out on Saturday ... It is inappropriate to make any further comments in relation to this announcement.”

This is the latest resignation to rock the association in recent years.

Former NAEA chief executive Mark Hayward was scheduled to leave but then returned with a new title of Propertymark Chief Policy Advisor; his former ARLA chief executive counterpart David Cox left unexpectedly last year and now works at Rightmove; former NAEA chairman Christopher Hamer left last year, again at what appeared short notice.

On Estate Agent Today yesterday, respected industry trainer Richard Rawlings commented: “Sorry - but what's the point of NAEA membership? Unlike the Propertymark's US counterpart, the National Association of Realtors, the organisation seems to have become pretty toothless anyway, irrespective of its management confusion. Of hundreds of agencies for whom I have provided marketing copy based on the agency's specific attributes, not one has ever asked me to promote their membership of the NAEA. 

“When I was an estate agent myself, the only reason I joined was to get the sticker for the window as some sort of ‘ABTA’ style flag of implicit trustworthiness. But that doesn't work anymore, especially as Propertymark appears to have no interest in promoting the advantages (?) to the public of using a member agent. 

“Online reviews have replaced this function - and they're more reliable too as an indicator of user-experience. In fact, for a mediocre agency, NAEA membership is easier to acquire than good reviews so it could even be counter-productive!

“It would seem to me that The Guild of Property Professionals has replaced the NAEA in most aspects. It's innovations and member support are outstanding and much more akin to a professional association than to the commercial operation it is. If it were me, I know whose sticker I'd want on my website! Just saying!”

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