Meet your candidate Robert van Raay

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PITCHER Partners head of tangible asset valuations, and director of corporate finance, Robert van Raay is one of the candidates seeking to be elected to the board of the Australian Property Institute (API).

Australian Property Journal spoke to van Raay to find out why he is seeking to be elected to the API board.

van Raay said the API is a world class organisation and its members need to know that. He supports the institute’s move to be a national body and wants to help drive meaningful changes, so that it represents the views of the membership because he believes every member is a stakeholder.

He said the API played a critical role driving International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC) and members should recognise that their skills are highly sought-after globally, and the API should leverage its international connections to further members interest and ensure property professionals remain relevant, particularly in the Asia region.

  1. What is your interest to come on board with the Australian Property Institute?

I think the more appropriate question for me is: “What is your interest to come back on board with the Australian Property Institute”? In the past, I have been a Victorian Divisional Councillor and a member of numerous API VIC committees, including CPD, Marketing and Membership, and the Annual Property Conference. I am currently on the API VIC Panel of Examiners.

I am excited about the future of the API, and with other valuation professions in Australia and overseas, especially the RICS Strategic Alliance. It was the global presence of RICS that attracted me to the RICS Vic Executive Board from 2008 to 2016 and as the Board Chairman from 2013 to 2016.

In a career that has seen me work with clients and colleagues from all over the world, the API can hold its head high knowing its members are the most capable in the world. I would really like to promote the capabilities of API members internationally, and to international parties seeking valuation expertise in Australia.

I, and my fellow plant & machinery valuer members fought hard, really hard to become members of the API. I believe I have a duty to support the API whenever I can, wherever I can.

  1. What financial experience or expertise do you bring to the API?

Most of my career I have been employed by large accounting firms, leading or heading up their asset valuation groups. As a result, I have significant financial acumen when it comes to looking at cash flow statements, balance sheets and financial performance.

In addition, I was also a founding member of the Investec Global Aircraft Fund (IGAF) Investment Committee from 2006 to 2010. I, along with my fellow committee members, helped secure seed funding for IGAF, and was responsible for approving/passing on investments in particular aircraft opportunities in Australia and overseas.

I have also started and ran my own businesses from time to time and can appreciate the pressures of members who are sole practitioners, and the downward pressure on fees. Whilst property values continue to rise, valuation fees have not followed suit. I would dearly love to be a part of changing this trend, by being part of reinventing what we do, how we do it, and how much we should charge for it.

  1. What governance experience do you bring to the API?

As I mentioned earlier, I am a previous member of the API Victorian Divisional Council, the RICS VIC/TAS Executive Board, the IGAF Investment Committee, and a director of my own businesses. I have also experience in reporting to Boards on matters of significance, such as the value of assets in M&A transactions (particularly for Government and State Owned Enterprises).

All of these positions required skills in corporate governance.

I have also studied the Risk/Strategy modules of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors course, as well as being a member of the AICD (MAICD) from 2009 – 2017. During this time I attended and participated in a number of events – the most profound being The Chairman Series – where chairpersons from all different backgrounds met regularly to discuss and debate matters of common interest.

  1. What strategic planning experience do you bring to the API?

My favourite subject. I am currently studying a Masters in Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the International Institute of Entrepreneurship, a joint venture between Swinburne University and Pitcher Partners. Why? Because like our accounting and legal colleagues, the valuation profession is on the verge of significant change and disruption. Whilst mass valuation, computer based modelling, data analytics, etc. have been around for a while, there are new and emerging trends around faster payment systems and virtual inspections (to name just two) which mean we are poised to see change being introduced into our profession exponentially. Starting from, now!

Whilst this is what’s going to happen, examples of my strategic planning experience includes the creation of the founding P&M Valuation offerings at:

  • Australian Valuation Office (in conjunction with fellow member Brian Nicholson)
  • Vantage Global Pty Ltd – personal business
  • Sea Transport International Pty Ltd – Specialty marine valuation business
  • Lease Valuation International – global big ticket leasing appraisals
  • Jones Lang LaSalle
  • m3p&e (a JV with m3property)
  • PwC
  • Pitcher Partners

I have also contributed to the group strategy at the above organisations in various capacities.

  1. To further pursue API’s strategic direction, it would be of great benefit if prospective Directors could contribute advocacy, policy and/or digital communications experience to the Board. What is your experience in one or more of these areas?

I have a number of examples where I can display my advocacy experience:

  • Working with Roy Farthing and John Singleton (fellow API members) to write and deliver the original certificate, diploma and degree courses for P&M valuers with the API and RMIT
  • Delivering guest lectures to the Masters of Property courses at Melbourne University and RMIT
  • Presenting RICS prizes/awards to Melbourne University and RMIT students at their respective annual Deans/Honours award ceremonies
  • Representing the Pacific Rim region on behalf of Lease Valuation International at world events such as the World Leasing Conference in Istanbul
  • Representing EY Australia as a member of the International Shipping Group at conferences in Australia and overseas
  • Potential Brand Ambassador role in a residential home building start up

In respect to policy setting, my experience includes:

  • Contributing to setting and reviewing policy in respect to the creation of the RICS Oceania Education Standards Board

In respect to digital communications, my experience includes:

  • The active use of LinkedIn (top 1% of all viewed profiles globally in 2012, top 2% of PwC viewed profiles globally 2015, No. 1 most viewed profile Pitcher Partners 2016)
  • Twitter feeds from events
  • Website presence (articles and position announcements)
  • Point of contact for digital portals and online research forums
  1. In general, what can you bring to the API and why should members elect you?

I believe as an API Fellow, who is also a fellow of RICS, and a former member of the American society of Appraisers, I can bring a world of knowledge to the table.

In general, I bring a sense of responsibility to my fellow board members, and to the membership. The API is bigger than any individual member – it will outlast us all! So if in my tenure I can make it a little better for all of us than what it is when I join, then I will have succeeded in my responsibilities.

Online voting is now open until 23:59 AEST on Thursday 17 May 2018. Members are encouraged to register and vote at https://www.api.org.au/news/meet-candidates-2018-api-board-elections

Australian Property Journal