UN Seminar Addresses “The Real Estate And Financial Crisis: Causes, Effects, Impacts on Development”

RICS Americas Valuation Chairman to Lead Real Estate Guidelines

New York, NY (December, 19th 2008) – Toward the end of a three-hour seminar held at the UN on Dec. 16th – “The Real Estate and Financial Crisis: Causes, Effects and Impacts on Development” – Moderator Ken Brown, Editor of The Wall Street Journal’s “Money and Investing” section, asked the distinguished global panel one challenging question: “How do we get out of this mess?”

Given the scope and complexity of the crisis that has engulfed both Wall Street and Main Street throughout the world, there were no panaceas forthcoming. However, panelist Steve Williams, Past President of RICS, summed up the group’s consensus by stressing the need for transparent valuation standards and responsible regulation based on collaboration between the public and private sectors, as driving forces behind a recovery in today’s uncertain real estate and financial markets.

“This crisis underscores the need to establish the real value of underlying assets”, said Williams who also Chairs the RICS Americas Valuation Council. “But rather than being despondent, we find ourselves with a golden opportunity to reconfigure the regulations regarding valuation standards and accountability”.

Williams went on to stress the need to bring more transparent market data into the valuation process and to ensure that appraisers work independently of any external pressures. Public-Private Partnerships, he noted, will be the catalyst for a recovery. National and international regulatory agencies must work with private sector experts to agree on standards that put the public interest first. “Only then”, he suggested “will trust and confidence return”

It is with these goals in mind, that United Nations Economic Commission for Europe’s (UNECE) Real Estate experts are talking to Williams about writing goals guidelines for the next meeting of its Real Estate Markets Advisory Group in Rome next March.

“Even before the tsunami of credit washed onto Main Street, RICS in the United Kingdom, the U.S. and internationally, has mandated a public interest agenda,” Mr. Williams noted, “RICS with the help of UN agencies is keen to bring its public interest message and global reach to the challenge of finding meaningful solutions to the current crisis.”


Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary-General

Ken Brown, Editor, Money and Investing, The Wall Street Journal

Paolo Garonna, Officer-in-Charge, UNECE
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, DESA
Steve Williams, Past President, RICS Americas, RICS Americas Valuation Chairman, visiting lecturer at Duke University, and author of the book Facing The Global Challenge
Daniel Gros, Director of the Center for European PolicyStudies
Luis Fernando Correa-Bahamon, World President, FIABCI
Andreas Zehnder, Managing Director, European Federation of Building Societies, and President of the Association of Private Bausparkassen
Peter Creuzer, Chair of the UNECE Working Party on Land Adninistration
David Egiashvili, Member of the UNECE Real Estate Market Advisory Group

About RICS & RICS Americas
RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), with headquarters in London, is the largest organization for credentialed professionals in property, land, construction and related environmental issues worldwide. We promote best practice, regulation and consumer protection to business and the public. Over 140,000 members in more than 146 countries operate across 17 disciplines, from development, brokerage and construction to environmental issues, valuation and fine arts appraisal. RICS is the preeminent source of real estate-related knowledge, providing independent, impartial advice to governments and global organizations. www.rics.org. The RICS credentials – MRICS and FRICS – are granted to practitioners who demonstrate professional competence and the highest standards of business practice and ethics through stringent evaluation procedures. RICS Americas, based in New York and covering North, Central and South America and the Caribbean, has over 3,000 members in commercial and residential development, construction management, brokerage, planning and finance. For further information visit www.ricsamericas.org or e-mail RICS Americas at ricsamericas@rics.org.