The banking royal commission has highlighted the drastic need for property investment advice regulation, according to the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA).
Among the revelations about dodgy operators and unsound financial advice was the example of a former planner who allegedly directed clients to purchase property from an advocacy service of which he was the majority owner, a fact he did not disclose.
The planner was found to have not acted in the client’s best interests during a company audit.
PIPA chairman Peter Koulizos said that while that planner was also subject to regulation, the provision of property investment advice generally remains largely a free-for-all and that anyone can set up shop as a property investment ‘adviser’ without any qualifications.
“Plus, they don’t need to worry about adhering to legislation, because there isn’t any.
“While professionals such as buyer’s agents, property accountants and mortgage brokers operate within regulated environments, property investment advice does not,” Mr Koulizos said.
“Not many Australians understand that, which is why so many continue to be the victims of property investment ‘advice’ from unscrupulous fly-by-nighters.”
Mr Koulizos said PIPA had been campaigning for years to bring property investment advice into a regulatory framework without much success.
“Until such a time as the government takes regulation of property investment advice seriously, PIPA will continue to provide the public with warnings about only working with ethical and professional industry practitioners,” Mr Koulizos said.
“PIPA has developed codes of ethics and conduct, wich all of our members voluntarily agree to abide with, as well as professional standards of accreditation and education for the property investment industry, including a Property Investment Adviser Accreditation Course.”
“PIPA’s code of conduct also requires members to disclose commission to their clients as well as to always act in their best interests.
“PIPA offers investors confidence in a marketplace where trust is so lacking,” Mr Koulizos said.
“Whether they’re looking for a property investment adviser, mortgage broker or accountant – essentially any professional involved in the property investment process – investors should look for the PIPA logo.
“PIPA members must adhere to our strict code of conduct, which offers property investors the best assurance that they are dealing with a trusted professional.”
Investors can search for and locate a PIPA member by visiting www.pipa.asn.au.
St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, 16 May 2018, Page 5