Ex-EAA chief Vivien Chan wants higher standards for property agents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 November, 2014, 4:04am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 November, 2014, 4:05am

Property agents need to catch up with their peers in other professions on continuing industry education, says Vivien Chan, who stepped down as chairman of the sector's regulatory body last week.

Chan, who served six years at the Estate Agents Authority, said a 17-year-old law governing estate agents was overdue for an update.

A key priority is to introduce a compulsory continuing professional development scheme - by amending the Estate Agents Ordinance - as part of efforts to raise standards in the industry.

"A revision is needed as the industry has to catch up with what the market demands," Chan said.

The ordinance, which was enacted in May 1997, imposed requirements such as the licensing of agents and the need for them to include their licence number on all business cards and correspondence.

The EAA was set up to oversee the regulatory framework and handle complaints from consumers.

In 2005, the statutory authority launched a CPD scheme for agents that aims to keep their industry knowledge up to date and boost competency, but the courses are voluntary.

"Other professionals such as lawyers and accountants must sit CPD courses every year. Even though I have been a practising lawyer for 30 years, I have to meet this requirement," said Chan, who on Friday handed over the reins at the authority to William Leung Wing-cheung.

The Law Society requires all lawyers to accumulate 15 CPD accreditation points in each practice year.

A mandatory CPD accreditation scheme would greatly enhance the image of estate agents, Chan said.

She said a revision of the ordinance also needed to take into account that secondary education had been extended to Form Six in 2012. The ordinance stipulates completion of Form Five as the minimum education requirement.

Chan understands that amendments to the ordinance would take time, leaving that as a task for her successor to pursue.

In this week's C-Suite, Vivien Chan shares her views on the real estate industry