22 AUG 2019
Uche Obi absolutely loves assisting candidates in their efforts to gain the RICS qualification.
"It's the opportunity to give back and help grow the organization that greatly appeals to me," he explains. "At an RICS conference, a candidate mentioned I had assisted him with gaining the his RICS designation. That's something they don't forget and truly appreciate, even if you've seen many candidates for assessments," says Obi, a senior-level valuation expert in the Cayman Islands, who is the only Licensed Assessor Trainer (LAT) in the Caribbean and assesses candidates throughout the Americas region.
Obi became an assessor to assist candidates in their pursuit of their RICS qualification and is delighted that several candidates have made excellent progress in their careers. There are several benefits to becoming an assessor, including the opportunity to network with candidates and assessors, assist with growing the organisation as well as the candidates in their careers, and finally, continuing professional development hours: "As an assessor, you have to study and be up to date on the material." Overall, it's a chance to "give back," as he explains: "Somebody mentored me as a young person, and now I can help."
Since he arrived in the Cayman Islands in 2001, Obi has spent considerable years working both in the private and public sector, and he can see the advantages of both. "The private sector is more fast-paced due to the competitive environment. This makes customer service critical as the goal is to gain and retain clients. There's more pressure than in government - your customers have more choices," says Obi. "In government, you get to meet and interact with a lot of people. Furthermore, you are able to influence policies. And that will always be very satisfying."
He's now a senior valuer and business development manager at DDL Studio, where he enjoys the challenge of expanding the business in the Caribbean along with the variety of work: he performs valuations of houses, hotels, restaurants, along with government properties like schools and hospitals.
Originally from Nigeria, Obi says he was inspired to gain the RICS qualification by the prominent Nigerians in the industry who were RICS professionals. After completing his bachelor's degree in Nigeria, he completed a post graduate degree in Property Valuation and Law at City University Business School in London, England, then gained experience in the private and public sector and earned his RICS qualification.
He quips, "The weather," when asked why he moved to the Cayman Islands. At the time, his family was young, they were living in the UK, and they liked to travel, so they decided to try it. "The systems here are first-class, with a lot of professionals. It's quite easy to obtain data to undertake valuations," says Obi. "The downside is that it's a small country and a small economy, and it restricts what you can do. Everybody knows everybody and that can create conflicts [of interest]."
As an assessor, you have to study and be up to date on the material. Somebody mentored me as a young person, and now I can help.
Among his volunteer work with RICS in the Americas, Obi is the chairman of the Cayman Chapter. As a volunteer with the RICS Caribbean Leaders Advisory Group, he works with the other board members to find ways to promote the profession, give networking opportunities to current professionals, and encourage young professionals to consider going forward for qualification.
As the only Licensed Assessor Trainer (LAT) in the Caribbean, Obi now spends his time training new assessors/mentors/supervisors and counsellors. "RICS has a responsibility to ensure that Assessors are well trained and aware of their roles and responsibilities."