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Engaging the industry

CEA closed the year with two key engagement sessions with industry players who offered on-the-ground perspectives and suggestions on industry developments as well as how CEA and the industry can work better together.

Dialogue with MOS Zaqy Mohamed

Minister of State for National Development Mr Zaqy Mohamad with the heads of the four largest property agencies in Singapore. (Image: Ministry of National Development)

In November, the leaders of the four largest property agencies met with Minister of State for National Development, Mr Zaqy Mohamed, for a hearty discussion about the real estate agency industry.

A common thread that wove through the session was the industry’s desire to play an active role in their clients’ transactions, and to leverage their agents’ experience and expertise to enhance their service offerings to clients.

Among the topics discussed were the new business models that are trending in other countries, such as menu-based services and the likelihood of such services having greater acceptance in Singapore. The participants also talked about the impact of technology and digitalisation on agents’ daily work.

During the session, CEA provided more clarity on the new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) framework, explaining that agencies and accredited course providers now had more flexibility to design and conduct their CPD activities. CEA also encouraged more electronic delivery of courses and interactive learning to help agents fit their learning plans into their busy schedules.

The session highlighted the importance of engaging key industry leaders regularly to gather their insights on the industry landscape and discuss ways to better work together to grow the professionalism of the industry.

Face-time with the KEOs

CEA-KEO dialogue session on 14 November 2019

CEA management met with twenty KEOs from small to mid-sized property agencies to share with them the latest updates on the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map, the new CPD framework, and the next phase of the Property Agents Transaction Records Initiative (TRI).

The KEOs offered their views on digital transformation and the impact on their work, with some expressing concern about the cost of digitalising their work processes. Others were apprehensive about their agents not being able to cope with technological changes. The meeting agreed that CPD courses in generic competencies could be pursued to prepare the agents for technological disruption.

On the Property Agents TRI, KEOs expressed their views on the value of the records in helping consumers select a suitable agent to work with. It was acknowledged that the number of transactions was not the only measure of an agent’s experience or capability, and that the TRI would be one of the factors that could be used to distinguish between agents. The KEOs also recognised that the TRI would help build trust with consumers by providing transparency on agents’ track records.

At the dialogue, the KEOs gave suggestions on easing the annual renewal process. It may be recalled that in the last couple of years, CEA had introduced the paperless application process for property agent registrations, removed the requirement for the ACRA business profile for licence renewal, and removed the need for agencies to submit their Personal Indemnity Insurance information in their renewal applications.

Through these sessions, CEA hopes to work closely with the property agencies to develop practical and effective initiatives to enhance the industry’s professionalism and service standards.