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News & opinion

27 NOV 2020

A future model for RICS

Sean Tompkins RICS

Sean Tompkins

Chief Executive Officer

London, UK

RICS

A statement from CEO, Sean Tompkins

Two months ago, we announced proposals for a new path for RICS in light of the challenges brought by COVID-19 and the trends it has accelerated. It is clear the impacts of the pandemic will be enduring and testing, but we are a profession that has transcended many external shocks in history, and we will work to build a sustainable future.

We share the financial challenge that many organisations are experiencing and anticipate a marked reduction in our income, not least from commercial revenues which account for a significant element of our income and cash flows. We must therefore evolve as an organisation to secure our long-term financial sustainability and ensure we are best positioned to respond to emerging trends that impact our profession and its work to the public advantage.

Following the conclusion of our consultation with our employees, and a comprehensive strategic review, RICS will adopt a leaner, more agile, digital-first operating model. Our new way of working will allow us to deliver a more personalised experience for our members, enhance their professionalism and offer greater support via newly created specialist teams.

Unfortunately, we cannot move to a sustainable operating model that delivers the required significant cost savings while maintaining the same number of our colleagues in the same roles. I must therefore regrettably confirm that around 140 colleagues will be leaving the organisation. This tough decision is not one we have taken lightly. I am grateful for the contribution of RICS colleagues who have demonstrated exceptional resilience through a difficult time. It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to those leaving RICS and I wish them every success in the future. 

Our new way of working

As we reshape to enhance our service to the profession and our impact in its markets, we will adopt a digital-first, but not digital only approach. This will enable the profession to have 24/7 access to RICS insights, knowledge and competence development and other services to support their professionalism wherever they operate in the world. Building on the changes we accelerated during the onset of the pandemic, such as the digitisation of Modus and Journals and conducting assessments online, we will continue to invest in our online capabilities. We will be undertaking significant upgrades to our digital platforms to provide a more seamless and integrated experience for members, and have already developed a digital package to support our members’ continuing professional development in 2021.

We will establish new teams that are dedicated to engaging with members in the markets where they operate. They will be supported by new specialised global functions building the influence of the profession, delivering assessments and supporting employers and partnerships. This approach will enable us to deliver greater impact on important global initiatives, whilst supporting the local needs of different markets, and the RICS professionals and important stakeholders within them.

I am pleased to announce that Chris Nicholl will become Market Director of the Asia Pacific region, Rob Jackson will become Market Director for Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and Matt Howell will remain Market Director, UK & Ireland to drive this approach forward. As a result of these changes, Pierpaolo Franco has left his role as Managing Director, Greater China, and Nimish Gupta will leave his role as Managing Director, India in January. Neil Shah, current Regional Managing Director of the Americas, will take up the role of Director of Strategic Partnerships.

As we move to a new digitally enabled way of working, we have also been conducting an initial review of our physical office needs, and how we continue to serve our professionals in certain countries. Unfortunately, as a result, we will no longer have full-time staff or offices based in Sweden, Poland, Cyprus, Japan, Brazil, or Switzerland. This does not mean a withdrawal of our services or support. RICS professionals in these countries remain as valued as ever. They will continue to access all the benefits of RICS membership, with support from our new specialist global functions tailored to their market by our new market leadership teams. As previously announced, with the exception of London, Birmingham and Edinburgh, we are also closing our other smaller UK offices permanently, since they no longer provide the type of space we will need for our future of work.

As we look ahead to building a sustainable future for RICS, we remain firmly committed to equipping the profession to meet the challenges of operating in a COVID-19 environment. We are also responding to structural shifts in occupier and real estate markets, with an independent review into the valuation of property assets for investment purposes. We will continue our work to improve fire safety globally, which recently saw the UN recognise the International Fire Safety Standard. And we are consulting on new Rules of Conduct and ethical principles to ensure professionals remain trusted and future fit.  

The changes we are making are driven by accelerating trends and financial necessity, and have involved difficult decisions. However, they have been led by the guiding principle of supporting our profession and building its influence as it reacts to seismic change. Our new approach will not only leave RICS in a more sustainable position to endure future shocks, it will leave the organisation better placed to enable our profession as it continues to deliver positive social impact. 

Sean Tompkins RICS

Sean Tompkins

Chief Executive Officer

London, UK

RICS

Sean has been Chief Executive of RICS since September 2010. Sean has transformed RICS from a traditional, trusted UK mark of professionalism built on high standards and ethics to one of international recognition, influence and thought leadership. From governments to financial institutions, RICS’ standards, qualifications and thought leadership are respected and recognised. As well as advancing RICS’ strategy and goals, Sean is also a passionate champion for greater diversity and inclusion within the profession.

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