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Fitting into the global picture.

Not all that long ago, I bet most of us could claim that our clients were "just up the street"--the community bank or S & L, maybe a local attorney or two or a private institution in the area. Today, however, it's more likely that they're nationwide financial conglomerates whose principal offices are far afield from ours. Will the next step be receiving assignments for international clients and multinational entities? Will "globalization" trickle down to affect us all? Perhaps it already has. As Thomas L. Friedman sees it, technology has created a world where just about everyone is on an equal footing to do business-where one is based no longer makes a difference.


In his fascinating book The World Is Flat, Friedman describes three eras of globalization: the first, which he claims focused on the globalization of countries, began with Columbus in 1492 and ended around 1800; the second involved companies, and lasted from 1800 to 2000; and the third, which is under way, focuses on individuals. This third stage, says Friedman, "is the newfound power for individuals to collaborate and compete globally," made possible through technology. As Friedman puts it, "Individuals must, and can, now ask, 'Where do I fit into the global competition and opportunities of the day, and how can I, on my own, collaborate with others globally?'"

If Friedman is right, then we all need to be asking ourselves that same question, as well as what is the Appraisal Institute doing to enable us to compete in this new marketplace?

Over the years, the Appraisal Institute has maintained relationships and contacts with a variety of international organizations and venues to advance the profession worldwide. We have relationships with a variety of international properly-related organizations, including FIABCI, FIG, and TEGoVA. These efforts have included our involvement in international gatherings of entities such as the Pan American Union of Appraisers (UPAV) and the Pan Pacific Congress of Appraisers, which we are hosting this month in San Francisco.

More recently the Appraisal Institute has been involved with the International Valuation Standards Committee, and their efforts to promulgate valuation standards worldwide.

In fact, our Board of Directors has just approved incorporating the International Valuation Standards into our Standards in recognition of the growing number of Appraisal Institute members who practice globally. In addition, one of our members, Joe Vella, MAI, is serving a two-year term as IVSC chair.

Here are some other high points in our stepped-up international outreach:

* The Appraisal Institute now has nearly 300 international members, including 75 designated members in Korea, and this past August we began the seventh year of courses in that country.

* We have partnered with the CCIM Institute and Institute of Real Estate Management to create an International College of Real Estate. Since our three organizations are all active in training programs overseas, we could capitalize on synergies by using the same resources to teach valuation, investment and management of real estate. The three groups sponsored a joint conference in Korea earlier this year, since all three organizations are active in that country.

* We are developing designation paths for valuers in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico.

* We have an educational presence in Korea, China, Egypt, Mexico and Germany.

* Our flagship textbook, The Appraisal of Real Estate, has been published in 15 international editions and other titles have recently followed.

* We are working through USAID to help train appraisers in Egypt as part of a long-range program to establish a housing finance market in that country.

* We are involved in data standardization efforts through OSCRE (Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate) designed to support the exchange of information for all professionals who work with real estate around the world.

If you've read this far, perhaps you are wondering how all of these activities affect you. While it's true that not all of us will land assignments that take us overseas, it's more than likely that a potential client whose home office is in Switzerland or Hong Kong may call on us because they're considering an investment in the U.S. The more we learn about the expectations as well as the protocols of doing business abroad, it provides us all with a greater potential for working with multinational clients. This developing interaction and cross-fertilization provides those of us in the U.S. the opportunity to learn first-hand the modes of doing business abroad and the benefit of providing services for multinational clients.

In addition, as we export our expertise and body of knowledge around the world, we have a hand in shaping how the profession functions in that world. Our core competencies are in high demand by the international community. One of the things I've discovered over the past year is that many appraisers outside of the U.S. are more likely to come to the profession from backgrounds different from ours, such as engineering or architecture. They may be more grounded in the physical components rather than in market analysis techniques. In fact, some may come from countries where only recently has a market economy evolved. Building on our long history of thought leadership in real estate valuation theory, we must now further engage to see that this theory is transferred in practical ways to the developed, developing and emerging world.
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Author:Powers, Richard D.
Publication:Valuation Insights & Perspectives
Date:Jun 22, 2006
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