As 2016 draws to a close and we look towards 2017 and our 10th anniversary, we can reflect on the achievements the Association has made in the past 12 months.
This time last year we had welcomed our 190th member firm; in September we passed the 200 member mark and have today ratified our 209th, testament to ALEP’s reputation and continued high standing.
We continue to be on the ‘speed-dial’ for central and local government and this year we have consulted on matters including possible further leasehold law reform via the Law Commission, Leasehold Secondary Legislation in relation to the Housing & Planning Act 2016, fee changes for applications to the F-tT (Property Chamber) Residential Property and, of course, the hotly-debated matter of Stamp Duty Land Tax. ALEP’s consultation working groups have proved a great success with members from law and valuation alike.
We continue to forge relationships with organisations in the wider industry including the RICS, LEASE, NAEA, ARLA, IRPM and ARMA and places at our Leasehold Lunches, which twice a year provide an opportunity for these organisations to take part in informal round-table discussions, are highly sought-after. The National Association of Estate Agents has also asked us to provide training to its members and this has been delivered in London and Kent, with further dates planned for 2017.
We held our third quiz-night, an evening of `Wine and Wisdom’, which saw 80+ members battle it out for the famous ALEP winners’ trophy at Browns, Covent Garden. `Brainteasers at Bank’ is scheduled for 2017 and is set to be another exceptional event. Our golf day proved ever-popular, particularly with the 25+ novices who took advantage of the Bushey Hall golf pro’s expert advice on the course.
We have held two successful conferences this year. Our Spring event took place at the IET: Savoy Place and the highlight was, undoubtedly, a presentation by Nick Davies, a global trainer and barrister, who delivered a highly engaging presentation titled `Negotiation: the art of letting them have your way’. Nick’s presentation provided a valuable insight into the science, planning and structure behind successful negotiation, and how it should not be used as a sales tool. We are delighted that Nick is joining us as after-dinner speaker for our anniversary gala dinner in March 2017.
The autumn conference saw ALEP take to the stage at the renowned Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and among the highlights was an enlightening and engaging presentation on the residential outlook for Prime Central London by Tom Bills of Frank Knight. We reintroduced interactive voting and were able to get a good indication of how our members feel about key leasehold issues and the all-important Brexit result.
We are grateful, as always, to our sponsor, Kerry London, which has supported out events for a fourth consecutive year. The provision of moral, as well as financial support, is hugely appreciated and I know that our members appreciate the excellent professional service – and favourable rates – Kerry London offers.
Planning for our conference is always a collaborative effort and our 20th conference, which is taking place at RIBA on Thursday 23 March is no exception. The conference planning group, which is made up of barristers and representatives from member firms, as well as interested non-members renowned in this sector, has worked hard to develop an exciting agenda for this landmark event and I would like to take this opportunity to than those involved for their enthusiasm and support.
An Anniversary Gala Dinner will follow the conference, and tables of ten, as well as individual tickets, are available, although tickets (and tables!) are selling fast. The evening promises to be great fun and presents a perfect opportunity to celebrate all that, together, we have achieved as an association.
DRIVE Marketing, an agency led by Clare Grove and Anna Bailey, continues to run the management of the Association. I believe the members receive prompt and efficient service.
So, my grateful thanks go to them, as well as those who play a crucial role: Liza Smith, the administrator, and the band of ALEP ladies who so ably help at ALEP events throughout the year.
I would also like to thank all the members of the advisory committee for their guidance and support, particularly that of Mark Chick.
Finally, ALEP has come a long way in the past ten years and we are proud of all that we have achieved. From humble beginnings as a networking group, we have grown to an influential organisation and membership of ALEP is a badge of assurance to those seeking to appoint the very best professionals in the sector.
None of this would be possible without the continued support and loyalty of you, our member firms and individual barristers. By attending our events, participating on online surveys, joining consultation groups and planning meetings, you help us take ALEP from strength to strength and into the next decade with confidence.