ERE Property – Protecting investors by fighting against property scams

There has been much in the media recently about overseas property scams targeting Hong Kong investors which may have cost them as much as HK$500 million in losses.

The Securities & Futures Commission (SFC) is investigating and will make an announcement regarding the cases, while the Commercial Crime Bureau of the Hong Kong police (CCB) is also looking into them. The CCB are seeking legal advice from the Department of Justice and looking for representative cases in order to bring up prosecutions. This is a crime which is taken very seriously and reputable property agents support the action so that investors in Hong Kong can be confident when investing in international property.

There is little regulation at the moment in Hong Kong to prevent fraudulent agents setting us business as an agent selling buy-to-let property. As there is no regional property association that developers and agents can sign up to, many are free to set-up and practice in Hong Kong without adhering to any professional standards or a code of practice. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t reputable property agents in the region selling international property who can’t be trusted. There are many agents who are acting reputably and they can easily be identified by looking into the history of their practice, what developers they work with and by talking to past clients.

At ERE Property we strongly believe that the reputation of the industry shouldn’t be ruined by a few untrustworthy agents. Paul Harrison, Managing Director at ERE Property recently met with James To, Legislative Council of Hong Kong who are working to find agents and developers who have been reported of, and are suspected of fraud, to spearhead a self-regulated scheme for overseas property agents. ERE Property has instigated meetings with senior officials and are pushing for any regulation, particularly from the Securities and Futures Commission.

ERE Property have an office in Wan Chai, but we have been operating in the Hong Kong for five years, building up relationships with clients through a system of recommendation and referral. As a result, the ERE brand is synonymous with trust. As a business, ERE was built on core values of integrity and ensuring we take an ethical approach to everything we do, setting us apart from other agents. These values have been a part of the business for many years, long before we opened our office in Hong Kong.

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ERE is a registered member of the Association of International Property Professionals (AIPP). The AIPP is working to improve standards within the international property industry and its members voluntarily agree standards of practice. At ERE Property, we regularly to take the chance to meet with investors at various venues around Hong Kong. Regular meetings give us to the chance to talk though issues affecting the industry and get your views. If you would like to join us at one of these informal events, email info@ereproperty.com