“What a mess!” Propertymark CEO Tim Balcon leaves with immediate effect

Propertymark chief executive Tim Balcon has resigned after just four months in the role, leaving many questions unanswered about what is going on at the organisation.

Tim Balcon

The surprise announcement, issued yesterday afternoon, said: “The Board of Propertymark has accepted the resignation of its CEO, Tim Balcon. Following four months in the role Tim has decided, and mutually agreed with the Board, that he will stand down as CEO of Propertymark today. This follows a short period of handover to interim executive chair, Nicky Heathcote.”

Heathcote said: “We thank Tim for his time at Propertymark and wish him well for the future. The Board look forward to driving the strategy forward and shall continue to provide the highest level of support and guidance to our members.”

Tim Balcon commented: “I have no doubt Propertymark has a very bright future ahead of it.  Sadly, I believe it is in the best interest of Propertymark and myself for me to step down at this point in its development.  I wish to convey to all Propertymark members my gratitude and respect for the way in which they have embraced my leadership. Equally I wish the Board and in particular the exceptional staff at Propertymark my best wishes for the future.”

EYE spoke with Balcon and Propertymark yesterday, and both said it would not be appropriate to make any further comments.

“I simply can’t make any further comments,” Balcon said. “I am just going to take some time out.”

A spokesperson for Propertymark also said “it would be inappropriate to make any further comments”. But she did confirm that Balcon’s “resignation” had nothing to do with that of NAEA Propertymark president Kirsty Finney’s departure. She stepped down from her position on Saturday.

Russell Quirk

“No doubt Confidentiality agreements have been signed and which makes one think that a cover-up is in play,” said Russell Quirk, founder of Emoov and co-founder of Properganda PR.

He added: “Our so-called regulator cannot simply be, in reality, a fiefdom for a politburo of execs that wish to personally benefit from this particular closed shop.

“Don’t members care about the reputation of their trade body? Their silence and inaction would rather demonstrate not.”

Balcon’s departure is the latest controversial resignation at Propertymark.

David Cox’s sudden departure from ARLA Propertymark last year was announced in an extraordinarily short 44-word statement, while Christopher Hamer also surprisingly stepped down as executive chairman of the organisation last year.

Meanwhile, the now former chief executive of Propertymark, Mark Hayward, postponed his retirement at the end of last year to take on a new role of chief policy advisor at Propertymark.

It would not come as a surprise if Mark Hayward postpones his retirement again and takes on the chief exec role.

James Wyatt

James Wyatt, senior partner of Virginia Water estate agency Barton Wyatt, commented: “The view of many of us was that we entered a new era with Tim Balcon. Finally bringing together the various associations into one unified association.

“What we have now is more mayhem – head of ARLA gone under mysterious circumstance, head of NAEA gone, but then reinvented as something else, executive chairman gone, NAEA President gone. And now our unifying CEO, gone. And all carried out behind the iron curtain of Warwick. Is this our ‘cold war’?

“What a mess! But more importantly, what the bl***y hell is going on at Arbon House?”

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52 Comments

  1. Robert_May

    For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.”

     

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  2. AlwaysAnAgent

    Our trade bodies do not have a future unless they re-invent themselves. The ROPA report makes it clear that NFOPP will not be our sector’s officially appointed regulator and so what will become of the a trade body that has been usurped by an official regulator? It has failed in its mission.

    If a trade body or business doesn’t have a future is it a surprise that the leadership goes elsewhere for a more stable and longer career … with prospects?

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    1. Robert_May

       Competition  and service will always be the regulator of the property industry. It is a unique blend of ruthless cut-throatedness and polite empathy, just understanding that is a challenge, regulating it is impossible.
       
      With a fraction  of 1 percent of property transactions that let or complete being referred to a redress scheme and even fewer complaints being upheld  the majority of agents behave  so well it defies any justified call for regulation.

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  3. smile please

    The only people that care about propertymark are the agents paying for letters after their names and the employees making a living from it.

    Public dont  know dont care, looks like their top employees now also feel the same.

    Joke of an organisation.

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    1. Robert_May

      That’s not true Smile  I care about Propertymark for what it once was.  I aspired to FNAEA and worked hard to get it, it meant something to me.
      My FNAEA provided me with the learning, experience and integrity to run rings round the competition but what destroyed its value was  turning FNAEA into a badge that was  too easily achieved.

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      1. smile please

        You prove my point Robert, you care(d) about the letters after your name which (sorry to be blunt) mean squat.
        They do not allow you to do anything more than joe blogs who started in agency yesterday and the public with no agency experience have zero knowledge or care about your letters.

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        1. smile please

          Its like the poor couple selling their Ewe move franchise, they care about it but no-one else does. They are banking on a payday for retirement which sadly they probably won’t get as nobody cares or sees value in it apart from them as they invested in it.
          a rare occasion we have to agree to disagree.

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        2. Robert_May

          I cared because it meant I had served my time and had passed the exams, it meant I was better and in the battle for instructions I would earn a better fee and achieve a better result.
          You don’t have to worry about being blunt when you’re attempting to say my experience and qualification means squat because it isn’t true.  FNAEA was an achievment I was an  agent long enough and successful enough to be allowed to display it and that’s enough, that’s the bit that distinguishes me from Joe, or Russell or Adam or Michael or Kenny.
          I am an esate agent and I am a good one and what’s more I care that that’s important.
           
          Yay me!….. see I am now undefeatable for the day

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          1. smile please

            Nobody suggested your experience means squat. But the qualifications are pointless. Its not like a medical degree to allow you to practice medicine or even cemap to allow you to advise on mortgages.

            They are letters made up by an irrelevant organisation who charge people to gain / use them.

            From your view it allows you to demonstrate you know your industry, however it means squat to the general public.

             

             

            For comparison, look at RICS – Many people do not know but ANYBODY can call themselves a surveyor and carry out building surveys with ZERO qualifications. But would a member of the public instruct a surveyor who was not RICS associated? No.

             

            Now RICS have their own ****show going on at the moment but at least they are relevant and the public know and believe in them. This is what Propertymark SHOULD be to warrant what they do.

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            1. surrey1

              I agree it means nothing to the public, but I don’t think we should entirely throw the baby out with the bathwater. The qualifications demonstrate a level of proficiency that should be championed. I’ve been out with too many young agents as a consumer who seem only capable of telling me the EPC Rating and that they’ve had lots of interest ad nauseum, anything vaguely technical entirely beyond them. It is however a failing of Propertymark that it means nothing to the public.

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            2. Robert_May

              If someone turned Propertymark into what it should be,  provided the services and savings it could, allowed you to prove your experience and success as an agent  and all of that gave you an edge over  or put you on an even footing with your local competition, you would be at the front of the queue to sign up.
               
               

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              1. ARC

                and if my auntie had a **** she’d be my uncle!

                Sort of confirming the argument against yourself there Robert.

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      2. singing agent

        Unfortunately too many corporate agents only employ good looking young sales people, rather than pay a premium for professionally qualified, time served people.  Some even employ a sales person to be the office manager, despite not having any experience of working in the sector.  As a result they cannot be “grandfathered in” and they give incorrect information to customers, thus perpetuating Joe Public’s bad perception of Estate Agents.  Hopefully ROPA will sort them out.

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    2. jan - byers

      agreed a pointless waste of time

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    3. biffabear

      I left about 10 years ago after being a member since the late 80’s.

      You’re right, the publick couldn’t care less and I saw zero benefit.

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    4. Scottish_Mist42

      Not so true in Scotland.

      Propertymark qualifications are one of the few which are acceptable to meet the requirements of the Letting Agent Code of Practice (Scotland) Regulations 2016.

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  4. Richard Hair

    Good points James but who is in charge now? There are only about 7/8 people on the board and NOBODY in any position to review or monitor their decisions. Maybe it is time to re-invent the College of Fellows to oversee the changes that are clearly needed. Governance by a board does not seem to be working. It must be time to go back to proper governance by the members answerable to and under direct scrutiny of other active members. I could go on for pages and pages with the changes that need to take place NOW but we need to use the expertise of the people who have, in the past, run these two associations with wisdom and experience. These is a view by some that the board have bought the associations into disrepute and are laying themselves and the associations open to abuse from the the likes of Querk and others. Is it time for an EGM? Unfortunately there has been no opportunity for any recent scrutiny as there has been no AGM since 2019.

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    1. Robert_May

       It was the disrespect  shown to the College of Fellows at the AGM a few years back that  very clearly  indicated where Propertymark was headed.
      At that meeting Propertymark ceased to be  trade association that represented, guided and inspired it members and became a Limited company with a focus on profits from membership, training and insurance that was attempting to compete with other  companies who could provide training and insurance better.
       
      If it were not for the underwriting restrictions on CMP it’s a serious possibility Propertymark membership would not be as high as 25%

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      1. bestandfinal51

        ……they also lost impartiality. How and why can a trade body who is in place to represent all within a sector whilst promoting to the wider audience, have preferred suppliers, and in dong so sell their ‘brand’ name in order to make a quick qud?

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  5. frostieclaret87

    Jobs for boys! Members exist to fill the trough. Agents thought to be mugs by the leadership. Public don’t care two hoots. Absolute waste of time and money.

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  6. maxc

    Not 100% sure but I suspect I know part of the story behind this. Any journalists looking into it are welcome to contact me. — Max Christian

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    1. smile please

      Come on Max, dont leave us on that cliff hanger!

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  7. Murray Lee

    Leaderless, pointless, hopeless and rudderless. Ive been a member since 1984. Not sure Ive been asked about it once! It does provide a bit of credibility to show the public and, in fairness they did offer a lot of useful legal info BUT as a body to represent (modern day) estate agency, useless . They should have also backed the Say No To Rightmove Campaign whose efforts were try and help ailing agencies who could not afford such high fees (among other things) Did they step up? No. Did they back us ? No They never even commented at all. About as much use as a chocolate teapot

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    1. JEL

      It should have been a major objective to take on the suppliers and their rip off fees… act like a proper trade body

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      1. JEL

        they have had it in their power to bring agents together …. can you imagine if they took a tougher stance against suppliers, the membership might even increase and we’d feel a bit more looked after. Instead its meetings where they seem to love to scare you to death about regulation this, that and the other and Ropa ( not needed in my opinion ) as vast majority of agents do a good job and Government need telling that.

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    2. KW

      Didn’t they at the same time as SNTR was going on start doing webinars or something with Rightmove?

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      1. JEL

        bit too cosy that relationship or at least its how it looks

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    3. biffabear

      Exactly what Murray said.

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      1. JEL

        I thought when I typed it I’d read it somewhere before

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  8. DefinitelyNotMW

    I blame Chris Wood for not putting his name forward.

     

     

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    1. KW

      He was too decent and honest. He was calling them out for years if I recall. Better off out of it IMHO. It needs scrapping and replaced with something more transparant that isn’t made up of Freemasons – there lies a large part of the problem as it is full of back-slapping who you knows and not the right people for the job who are really pasionate about the industry. And why are agents paying for this service exactly?

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  9. Charlie Lamdin

    Would anybody miss them?

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    1. KW

      NO! There are way to many of these anyway.

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  10. AgencyInsider

    Propertymark is a shining example of how to squander decades of effort by dedicated property people to build worthwhile and respected trade associations run by the members for the members.

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  11. MGR628

    As is always the case, “the truth will come out in the wash!” as maxc has alluded to!

    The most recent resignations are pure coincidence and nothing to do with the organisation / illness or other ‘thin’ explanations.

     

     

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  12. Commentator91

    I’m a Fellow and have been questioning my membership for the last few years. What am I REALLY getting out of it, and, is it worth the money?

    As many commenting here say, the public don’t know about PropertyMark and they don’t really care. It means nothing to them, even when explained. And how long do you want to take to explain it on an MA?!

    I’m not feeling the love for the organisation as I once did. And they don’t seem to love me as a paying member/customer either.

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    1. jan - byers

      Agreed on all points

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  13. jan - byers

    I am a developer – I have dealt in property for 30 years – I have death with agents all of that time – I have never even heard of this organisation until now

    Shows the value it has

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  14. Essjaydee51

    Robert, I have always enjoyed your inciteful, knowledgable and educating Comments but those of yours above just showed your nievete. The training I received at CW at the time (35 years ago) was considered by all as the best but we knew we still had to get out there and fight for those instructions and negotiate well for the sale in a multi instruction situ because each agent was fighting to win and most wasn’t out of pocket having to pay for letters after their name, back then those letters had some status, which of course you played on much like 15 years ago agents played on hurting another agent at val stage if they weren’t on RM but again, those days have gone. The concern for you guys now is where is this once grand institution going and how much will membership fees rise to because of the pay offs to keep quiet the outgoing “leaders” imploding is indeed the word.

    Oh and Robert, put the cape away, you are no longer an agent, how is rummage doing?

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    1. Robert_May

      If the industry loses Propertymark it loses all the legacy the college of fellow generation created and that can’t happen because someone wanted  Propertymark to be a training/ insurance company that  had the monopoly on training and insurance because it was the regulator.

      Nick requested I don’t mention r4p but as you’ve asked we are just  finishing off sales funnel that sorts the  might do’s from the never wills, and  we’re good to go

      Once we’ve done that  service etc, the old school  differentiators between agents start to have an impact again. The portals are great for passive intermediaries but the work against full service traditional agency, that’s why I appear to be championing an organisation that’s suffering CFIT

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  15. Mrlondon52

    Comedy-wise this is great, thank you NFOPP for the entertainment, makes Corbyn’s management of the anti-semitism issue look like a paragon of good governance.

    More seriously, this is a sh*t-show. We need a strong industry body to represent the sector. we know the Govt hates agents so we have to try extra double hard to put our points across. If we can’t manage our own trade body then why would policy makers listen to us?

    Next point is that NFOPP is most certainly not a regulator as some commenters have said. It might be given that power but at the moment it is a trade body whose job is to promote its members’ interests.

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  16. AgencyInsider

    The lack of words in the statements such as ‘leaving to pursue other opportunities’ ‘spend more time with the family’ ‘taking up an exciting new challenge’ suggests that up until yesterday Mr Balcon was probably not anticipating his ‘resignation’.

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    1. praediumagens79

      Why are we doing such a ‘Raymond Chandler’ on the departure of Tim Balcon? He’s taking some ‘time out’ apparently, which is what he was doing for the whole year before he joined Propertymark. Has no-one who reads this page ever taken a job they realised wasn’t for them…or they realised they weren’t up to? 

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  17. Typhoon

    A “camel” is a horse (or is that “an” horse?) is designed by a committee. Committees are outdated and not how efficient businesses are run in the 21st century. Propertymark, or is it ARLA, NAEA, NFOPP has been a committee from day one and grew bigger and bigger and less controllable and more unwieldy ,so less agile and efficient ,as the years have rolled on.

     

    What has been happening for multiple years has been partial remodelling of a very old model and as current events unfolding demonstrate, it’s not working. It’s like an old tired property. To bring it into the 21st century often the best route is to tear it down and start with a new design. That in my views where Propertymark has arrived at today.

    I absolutely agree with Robert (May) “once upon a time” it mattered to be a member. But for the majority today it does;t because it’s like being member of nothing.

    But as has been commented on above who will/can sort it ? I for one have no clue!

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  18. Woodentop

    Should have had a Zoom meeting so we could all see. lol.

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  19. Malcolm Egerton

    I was always surprised that Propertymark would only introduce a supplier to members if they, the supplier, paid upfront. This has resulted in substandard products and services being given a PM endorsement when they weren’t the best on the market, costing members valuable time, effort and cash.

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  20. singing agent

    Unfortunately too many corporate agents only employ good looking young sales people, rather than pay a premium for professionally qualified, time served people.  Some even employ a sales person to be the office manager, despite not having any experience of working in the sector.  As a result they cannot be “grandfathered in” and they give incorrect information to customers, thus perpetuating Joe Public’s bad perception of Estate Agents.  Hopefully ROPA will sort them out.

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  21. Murray Lee

    You have to love the irony, I cant attache photos heres by the Property Professional Mag was delivered today with Tim’s interview page 1

    🙂

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    1. Typhoon

      Great timing that. Clearly wasn’t expected

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  22. Just the Facts

    (((((((Shock horror!!!!?????)))))))
    An organisation has staff come and go in its history, what on earth is this mystery that happens???
    REALLY? I mean come on you can’t expect and organisation that has been running as long as Propertymark to not have staff that stand down either not being for them or illness, I mean has anyone here ever worked in a large organisation before because it sounds like you’ve spend your life living under a rock!?
    As Propertymark are in the public domain there has been two quick resignations in quick succession and obviously the intricate details cannot be shared at this time due to legal contracted agreements. Or can it? Are they to break the law to appease the naysayers and the so called has been influencers out there!
    None of this affect its members whatsoever, they still get the same level of service and the organisation still runs with the executives and the numerous volunteers and presidential team so members still get great value for money. So why are people kicking off? Move on, its tomorrow chip paper!!!
    As for Russel Quirk who pays for his weekly column of sheer negativity and propaganda to serve his own deluded sense of importance well why anyone would listen to a guy so opinionated and his track record of squandering millions of pounds that possibly wasn’t his own is beyond me. What a has been, just retire and keep quiet, no-one cares except maybe your mum!?
    Propertymark is an organisation, people come and go, get on with it. I mean its not like Propertymark did the following
    1.     When covid hit Propertymark liaised with government to get guidance straight away for its members to work safely and within the constraints of the law
    3.     Achieved Business rates relief which equated to £210,000,000 for members across the country
    4.     Got the furlough scheme to include commission for estate agents as it wasn’t going to
    5.     Agreed a strategy with public health England to allow us to be one of the 1st sectors to come out of lock down
    6.     Successfully Lobbied government to get the stamp duty holiday and still pushing for a second one.
    7.     Working with government on EWS1 getting guidance so agents can comply with the CPR’s
    8.     Working behind the scenes on property passports, lifetime deposits
    9.     Working on the new overarching code of conduct for agents
    10.  A lot of agents were closing their doors and Propertymark fought to keep the market open because of involvement with government and as a result many agents have been able to continue to trade.
    11. Campaigns on keep the rent flowing and keep the market moving
    12.     Have close links with the housing minister to get RoPA fit for purpose when the time comes and what it needs to look like.
    13. Providing constant high level training for its members
    14. Various webinars and regional meetings
    15. Value for money membership that’s gone up 5% in 25 years and still cheaper than various other trade bodies
    16. lobbied government so we could get a 5-week deposit instead of the major of London’s fight to keep all security deposits at 1 week
    17. Legal helpline for all members to use
    18. legal templates, factsheets and document vaults for estate and letting agents
    19. HR helpline
    20. Monthly consultations in government on behalf of its members
     
     
     

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    1. A true

      Someone resigns from a job and it is all people can talk about, do you not realise that people in large organisations come and go very frequently and its only because Propertymark is in the public domain that some (clearly very bored) people feel its worthy of comment.

      The poster above is clearly the only person on this message board who deals in facts, and the facts alone show what a brilliant organisation Propertymark is for its members. Read those and tell us that the meagre £200 a year membership fee a member pays is not worth it? When other organisations that do less are much, much more. So the CEO and president resign? Were they the only people carrying out all the good work? No. The work is ongoing, the countless webinars, seminars, fact sheets, bulletins and support that are provided to members every day have not, and will not stop.

      As someone who is involved in the organisation as a volunteer, I see that not only the paid staff embark in this, but Propertymark has a network of volunteers as Reps, board members, Execs who are all so passionate about the organisation and the good work it does that they carry it on for free. I personally sit in two weekly meetings, monthly meetings and quarterly meetings where we discuss how we can help more and how we can do more.

      The trolls who moan on and on clearly just have no idea (and don’t even care to go and research) all of this good work Propertymark does not just on behalf of its members, but also the wider industry of estate agency and lettings, just look at the facts listed above.

       

       

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  23. MGR628

    I have been a member of NAEA for 45 years and am pleased to have been so. The sentiments of the organisation are well founded and undoubtedly give us a voice when canvassing Government.

    The suggestion with all this ‘smoke’ is that there is a problem or something amiss within NAEA Propertymark. However, that may well not be the case, but rather, outside influences on those who have resigned their posts?

    ‘Time will tell’ and ‘the truth will out’……..

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