PROPTECH-X ‘Proptech & Property News’: The Guild of Property Professionals | Identity Fraud

Andrew Stanton’s daily Property News Briefing in association with Estate Agent Networking.

Silver jubilee for Guild of Property Professionals membership

Over the past twenty-five years, The Guild of Property Professionals has grown from an idea to an award-winning supplier in the property industry with over 800 members across the UK. 

This year, The Guild is celebrating its membership and acknowledging the vast number of agents who have been a part of the network for many years and have contributed to its success and strength.

At least 55 members have been with The Guild for at least 15 years, with some of them having been with the network for 20 years or longer. A further 160 members have been a part of The Guild for between 10 and 14 years, while 265 members have been a part of the network for between 5 and 9 years.

Iain McKenzie, CEO of The Guild of Property Professionals, says that a massive contributing factor to the success of the organisation is its network, which is one of the largest estate agency networks in the UK. 

“Aside from the benefits of having a large referral network across the UK, Members are also able to learn from each other as property professionals, exchanging best practises and ideas that will help them grow their businesses.

“Independent agents are able to be in business for themselves, while enjoying the advantages and influence being a part of a larger organisation provides.  It is this experience and the calibre of agents within the membership that has been a large contributor in the growth of The Guild over the years.”

McKenzie feels that the organisation has been able to leverage the size and influence of the network to negotiate preferential deals with third party suppliers for Guild Members, which in turn has put money back into agents’ pockets. 

“Apart from the networking aspect, many of our Members have stayed with us because of the money they have saved over the years. Rather than paying for fragmented services, as part of The Guild, Members have access to referrals, income-generating tools, legal advice, and compliance all under one roof for a set monthly fee,” he said. 

“When The Guild started it wasn’t much more than a window sticker and a magazine. Today it is a full suite of both traditional and digital products designed to increase market share and win business, not forgetting the exceptional compliance guidance provided to the network through our Compliance Officer, Paul Offley. Many Members have said the compliance offering alone is worth the membership.”

Over the years The Guild has continually tried to enhance its membership offering by introducing additional tools and products that not only save agents money, but also generate further revenue. 

“The driving force that steers our decision making in terms of our service offering is split into three elements, which are to save money, make money and remain compliant.” says McKenzie. 

He notes that during 2022, The Guild will continue to develop services and negotiate deals that will enhance the membership offering and assist The Guild network to stand out from their competitors.

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Vicar loses home in Luton due to identity fraud

Criminals always look to take advantage of weaknesses in systems, as evidenced by a recent case where a man of the cloth apparently sold his home and someone moved in, and then it transpired someone had stolen the Vicar’s identity and it was all a criminal scam, leaving the man homeless.   

Stuart Young, CEO of Etive Limited said: “As we recently saw with the Vicar who lost his Luton property to identity fraud, we need to continually strive to increase the barriers to property and mortgage fraud and work together as an industry to create these barriers.”

The £131,000 home had been ‘stolen’ through identity fraud

What this demonstrates is that it requires the industry to continue working together, in order to bring about improvements to the home buying and selling process and to increase the barriers to fraud, further protecting the consumer and the industry.

Etive Limited, coordinators of the MyIdentity scheme for home buying and selling, feel that the dial is moving in the right direction, recently announcing that estate agents are seeing the benefits of the digital identity scheme. 

Lantana Estates Limited, an award-winning estate agent based in London, is working as part of the scheme’s beta test and were able to carry out the identity verification (IDV) of their clients using both Digidentity, an identity service provider (IDSP) while working to the MyIdentity scheme standards versus a non-scheme provider.

Being able to measure the two different approaches to identity verification, Cindy Coetzee, Director at Lantana Estates, highlighted the fact that the MyIdentity process was “easier and quicker.” 

By comparison, using Google Authenticator for the first time was new but Lantana decided to keep the app as it seemed easy to use for added security. 

Stuart Young, Managing Director of Etive, said: “It is easier for the consumer to use a non-proprietary two factor authentication process for additional security. Lantana Estates is selling a development of south London apartments and the MyIdentity scheme has enabled Lantana Estates to measure pre- and post- standards processes in identity verification.”

Bella Chavrimootoo, also of Lantana added: “We found the non-MyIdentity process was more difficult as sessions timed out for the client and required a lot of going backwards and forwards to the client trying to get them to do their identity verification. We had to chase-up quite a lot and explain to them that the emails they were receiving from the identity provider were not spam.”

The beta testing of MyIdentity commenced in the first week of November and there were some initial positive observations to be made. Focusing on the consumers’ needs is critical because if it works for them then it will work for the estate agent and all those that follow on in the transaction process. 

“Aligning to when a consumer has the time to do their identity verification is important.  This is typically in the evening after work or at the weekend,” said Stuart Young. 

Combined with this is getting the message through to the market that increasing standards to IDV, carried out by a certified identity service provider, helps to streamline the home buying and selling process and increase the barriers to fraud.  

These changes also meet current AML and DCMS requirements, ensuring greater transparency for compliance.

Andrew Stanton is the founder and CEO of Proptech-PR, a consultancy for Founders of Proptechs looking to grow and exit, using his influence from decades of industry experience. Separately he is a consultant to some of the biggest names in global real estate, advising on sales and acquisitions, market positioning, and operations. He is also the founder and editor of Proptech-X Proptech & Property News, where his insights, connections and detailed analysis and commentary on proptech and real estate are second to none.

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