FISA adopts new approval process for surveyor panel

The Finance Industry Standards Association, the secured loan industry’s self-regulatory and compliance body, is undertaking a series of changes to its approval process for surveyors wishing to be included on its panel, FISAVal.

The basis of approval for those surveyors wishing to appear on FISAVal and work for FISA lenders will now change from individuals to firms, with all firms having to meet specified criteria to gain entry to the panel.

The new criteria to gain entry on to the panel require firms to carry out all valuations by MRICS or FRICS surveyors, carry out all valuation inspections in accordance with the RICS Red Book specification for mortgage valuations, have 5% of all FISA valuations audited at least quarterly.

Firms will also be expected to keep records of all internal audits which should be available to FISA lenders, as well as put in place a corrective action plan where shortcomings are discovered.

Firms must also provide any valuations files requested by a FISA lender with which a loan was placed, return an annual certificate of compliance with these criteria, and maintain adequate professional indemnity insurance.

The FISAVal panel of surveyors will remain the definitive list of lender-approved firms for use by the broker members of FISA. All existing and new FISAVal panel members will be expected to meet these new criteria.

John Parker, chief executive of FISA, says: “These changes to the approval process for the FISAVal surveyors’ panel are designed to increase the overall quality of valuations.
Current market circumstances have shown the need for robust valuations and FISA believes that firms, by having to meet more stringent criteria to gain entry to the panel, will be able to provide FISA members with a more quality-driven process. We are also requesting firms meet a number of audit requirements and deliver ongoing scrutiny of valuations to ensure continued quality.

“Our move away from individual surveyor approval has been made in acknowledgement of the changing nature of UK surveying, in particular the growth in the number of large surveying firms which can have a fluid workforce. With these changes FISA is also acknowledging the significant stake holding surveyors have in the secured loans industry. It is therefore our intention to have much more regular dialogue with the senior management of FISAVal members to discuss market issues and the operation of the panel. These criteria changes will help us deliver the highest valuations standards for all our members.”

Bruce Bourne, managing director of Chancellors Associates Chartered Surveyors, says: “We at Chancellors Associates have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with FISA for many years. We fully support the proposed changes which will not only ensure that FISA will receive the highest quality of work from its surveyors but will also result in FISA continuing to move forward with quality at the forefront of its operation.”