Investors’ vigilance urged following rise in faux advisers

22 February 2023
Matthew Hughes

Investors’ vigilance urged following rise in faux advisers

An industry heavyweight is calling for investors to conduct due diligence to ensure they aren’t enlisting the services of illegal property advisers.

Nicola McDougall, chair of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA), explained Australia’s recent property market boom has flooded the industry with a marked increase in inexperienced and untrained “faux” advisers.”

“Unfortunately, during market booms, we do always see an influx of new entrants into the property investment advice space — many of whom are simply chasing a quick buck given there is no national regulation in our sector,” she said.

She revealed practitioners are falsely advertising specialist advice training they’ve completed or wrongly proclaiming to be members of industry associations such as PIPA in an attempt to “legitimise their businesses or falsely improve their education achievements by claiming they are members or QPIAs.”

Ms McDougall explained: “PIPA instructs these people to remove these references immediately.” Her reasoning for this declaration was due to the fact “it is an offence under Australian Consumer Law to make false and misleading claims about your services such as misrepresenting yourself as a member of an industry association when you are not.”

According to Ms McDougall, certain culprits “complete a tick-and-flick course and automatically start calling themselves ‘buyers’ advocates’ when they may have never even bought a property before, let alone understand the intricacies of tailored and independent property investment advice.”

Regardless of present market conditions, she advised investors to check the credentials of the property investment adviser they’re potentially working with to guarantee they possess the skills, experience, and training to properly and professionally assist them.

PIPA members, which include real estate, mortgage broking, conveyancing, and accounting industry professionals, voluntarily adhere to a Code of Conduct and obtain their professional standards of accreditation through education.

In doing this, she explained: “PIPA members demonstrate to the investing public, government, regulators, media, and other stakeholders within the property investment industry their commitment to excellence.”

Ms McDougall said investors should check the official status of credentials of advisers via PIPA or aligned industry associations such as the Real Estate Buyers’ Agent Associate of Australia (REBAA).

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Written by Terry Rider and Matthew Hughes

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