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Press Article

SGI’s David Cockerton appointed RICS UAE Chairman

The RICS UAE National Association has appointed SinoGulf's IndustRE Fund Manager - David Cockerton - as its new Chairman.

David has been a Member of the RICS for 30 years and a Fellow since 1996. In addition to being Chair of the UAE National Association, David is a Member of the RICS Global Knowledge Board and MENEA Education & Standards Board.

David is a recognised authority on international real estate matters. Having worked in the UK, across Europe, the USA and the Middle East, he has experience in a wide range of property matters including investment and development and is a specialist in real estate/property asset management for all asset classes.

David was Global Head of Asset Management for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group for more than 10 years leading the CRE/property team in support of the takeover of NatWest (and other mergers and acquisitions) and managed the ten-fold increase in the size of this property portfolio over this period including the bank’s global expansion.

During his time in the Middle East, David initially held the position as Senior Vice President with Majid Al Futtaim responsible for a significant portfolio of mixed use development projects across the GCC region before taking up his current role as Fund Manager with SinoGulf (DIFC) Limited.
Below David shares his thoughts on his appointment as Chair, and his plans for the coming year.

A new year with fresh objectives ...
I would like to take this opportunity to outline my aspirations as Chair from which, with support from the Board both current and future, I expect to deliver real benefits to individual Members, Firms and the UAE property industry as a whole.
When the RICS was established in the UAE in 2003, membership totalled c.400. We currently have approaching 2,000 Members, many of which have both trained and qualified in the Region. This phenomenal growth and the accompanying strength in the Institution is fully aligned with the RICS’ ongoing objective of being the pre-eminent organisation for professionals working in the land, property and construction sectors in the UK and around the world.

Our current President, Robert Peto, on taking office stated in his opening speech:
"The professions that will succeed over the next fifty years will be those who are willing to set impartial standards; able to self-regulate effectively; be globally connected and locally relevant; able to distil knowledge across a range of inter-connected disciplines; communicate to the public effectively on their relevance; be responsive to emerging opportunities; and who are structured to invite members from a diverse range of backgrounds."

My objectives for the coming year include

  • Delivery of benefits to existing Members (both individual and Firms) through structured Key Account Management and early establishment of Professional Groups
  • Management of membership growth through structured business development and careful administration of the APC (Assessment of Professional Competence) including the forthcoming introduction of the new Professional Experience Route of membership entry and roll-out of the AssocRICS (Associate) route
  • Raising the profile of the RICS National Association with Members, Government (as a leading influencing body) and within the RICS organisation itself Recognition and provision of support for all practice areas/Professional Groups

My first challenge is the formation of a new Board to be appointed in January. Details on the application process will be published shortly and I would like to encourage everyone to consider where they can add value to our growing regional presence and in shaping the future of the RICS in the Middle East.

We should all be proud to be part of the RICS and our focus for the coming year should be on raising the profile of the Institution, embracing both cultural and regional challenges. In order to achieve this, we have to reach out to local Government and the business community and ensure that we maintain and promote the Institution’s standards and best practice whilst remaining very much locally relevant.

We all have a part to play in this and our core standards, ethics and best practice should be with us in our day to day business activities.
Undoubtedly, our ongoing programme of CPD initiatives together with our partnerships with both RERA in Dubai and the DMA in Abu Dhabi will reinforce the importance of the RICS in these local markets. I look forward to the challenges which we undoubtedly face together in the coming year.

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