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RICS appoints ex-FSA board member to review valuation delays

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The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors has appointed former FSA board member Dr Oonagh McDonald to lead an independent review into the property valuation sector after it was revealed borrowers are being hit with huge waiting times for valuations.

The commission will call for written evidence by 30 September and oral evidence by October from the insurance sector, lenders, valuers and their clients, legal professionals, consumers and regulators.

It will look at the availability of valuers to undertake valuations, the level of fee transparency, what effect low fees are having on valuation standards and the challenges of the availability and pricing of professional indemnity insurance.

Rics will publish a report of its findings in November, in which it hopes to address the issue of recent valuation delays.

McDonald, a former MP and FSA board member, says: “I am delighted to be appointed chair of this independent commission, which will consider the market challenges facing the valuation sector in the UK.”

In June, a mystery shopping exercise carried out by Money Marketing’s sister title, Mortgage Strategy, revealed that some of the biggest surveyor firms had stopped accepting new valuation instructions in certain busy areas while others were quoting waiting times of about five weeks.

To date, Rics has argued that the delays were a result of low fees paid to valuers and high professional indemnity insurance premiums as a result of “unsubstantiated” negligence claims from lenders.

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