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Case Study 7

ROC Case Study - 07

These case studies are examples to help you to apply the Rules of Conduct in situations that may arise in your professional practice.

When making ethical professional decisions, you need to:

  • consider the facts
  • identify the relevant RICS standards in the Rules of Conduct and other guidance
  • use your professional judgement, which may require you to balance different interests and principles.

What matters is that you can show that you have done your best to follow the professional standards set by RICS.

Read the case study below

Scenario 7

My firm has information about a property that is confidential to client A, but would be relevant to the valuation of a property for client B. Can I use this without breaching confidentiality?

Summary

  • Look at technical standards to establish what information is material and must be shared.
  • Consider whether you can share material information without breaching confidentiality.
  • If you would be breaching confidentiality, apply the processes for a resolving a conflict of interest.
  • If data is sourced through some form of digital process, consider the appropriate level of due diligence needed.

Rules and behaviours

Rules 1 and 3, and behaviours 1.3, 1.5, 1.9, 3.5 and 3.6 are relevant here.

Also consider Conflicts of interest, RICS professional statement and RICS Valuation – Global Standards.

There is a potential for a conflict of interest here because you owe a duty to one client to keep their information confidential, while owing a duty to another client to share information with them. The Conflicts of interest professional statement says: ‘Every RICS member working independently or within a non-regulated firm or within a regulated firm must provide to every client all the information that is material to that client’s professional assignment of which that RlCS member has knowledge’. Therefore, the issue is what information is material here?

In this, the RICS Valuation – Global Standards help. They say: ‘The nature and source of any relevant information relied upon in the valuation process and the extent of any steps taken to verify that information must be disclosed’. (VPS 3). Therefore, what is material here is the nature and source of the information.

Commentary

In many cases the information that is relevant to the valuation can be communicated without breaching confidentiality if the information is within the knowledge of the valuer and broad categories are given (for example the type or location of the property). If the valuation report has adequately communicated the nature and source of the information but the client wants more detail, then explicit consent to disclose can be sought from client A. However, if client A refuses in that scenario, the valuer has met their professional obligations and should not breach confidentiality, and is not required to stop acting for either client.

If it is not possible to communicate the nature and source of the information without breaching confidentiality, the member or firm would need to follow the steps in the Conflicts of interest professional statement to consider whether informed consent could be sought or whether the instruction should be refused.

When data has been sourced through some form of digital process, or a form of automated valuation modelling has been used to support the valuation, you should consider appropriate levels of due diligence in establishing the original source, ownership, usage rights, conflict checking, methodology, etc. used in the data collection and/or modelling processes.