Code of Ethics
ASSOCIATION OF STRATA MANAGERS (the “Association)
CODE OF PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT & ETHICAL STANDARDS (the “Code¨)
The Association is committed to promoting and maintaining a high standard of professional conduct and ethics in property management of strata-titled properties in the Republic of Singapore where they are managed in accordance with the legislation – Building Maintenance and Strata Management Act (the ‘BMSMA”).
The purpose of this Code is to guard and maintain the common respect and regard for property management as a profession, to serve as guidance for property management companies, employees of property management companies, owners and managers of property, consumers and the public regarding the ethical duties that apply to property managers as part of the execution of property management itself.
Members (corporate members, honorary, associate & affiliate) of the Association are bound by the provisions of this Code and the Memorandum and Articles of Association of the Association. In this Code, references to a person include a natural person and a corporate or unincorporated body (whether or not having a separate legal personality).
The Association is the professional body representing the interests of property managers in Singapore. Its objective is to promote property management as a recognised management profession, to promote the highest standards in the property management profession, and to emphasise members’ responsibilities to society, to their clients, to their employers and to each other, as outlined in this Code by:
(i) Influencing relevant areas of public policy;
(ii) Contributing to relevant training programmes;
(iii) Encouraging and enabling the exchange of ideas and information;
(iv) Establishing strategic alliances; and
(v) Liaising with appropriate Government agencies on legislation and policy.
The Association is cognisant of its obligations under the Competition Act 2004. Members must not discuss anything which might prevent, restrict or distort competition, or anything which could be construed as the members colluding to the extent that it could undermine competition. For example, discussions about price discounts, specific trade details or any element of pricing policy are likely to fall within the scope of the Competition Act and discussion of such matters will not be condoned by the Association.
The Board Members of the Association (also known as the Council) may, at any time and from time to time, make changes to this Code.
1. GENERAL PRACTICE STANDARDS
CORPORATE MEMBERS, HONORARY MEMBERS, ASSOCIATE MEMEBRS AND AFFILIATE MEMBERS OF THE ASSOCIATION UNDERTAKE:
1.1 Statutory Duty
1.1.1 To only engage in the provision of strata management services when in possession of an appropriate licence (will it ever happen?).
1.1.2 To conform with any laws applicable to the provision of strata management services and comply with all current and future statutory legislation, in particular:
Building Maintenance & Strata Management Act 2008
To include any other Acts in relations to Fire Safety Managers regulations etc?
And such other relevant statutes as are passed into law from time to time.
1.2 Professional Competence
1.2.1 To act with integrity, reasonable care and diligence and to provide services in a manner that is expected and accepted as competent professional practice.
1.2.2 Not to engage in any act or behaviour that could bring the Association into disrepute.
1.2.3 To act with all reasonable professional care, skill and forethought in managing the property entrusted to them.
1.2.4 To keep abreast of legislation, market conditions, new knowledge and techniques relating to property management, for the benefit of clients and colleagues generally.
1.2.5 To participate in Association activities and to promote and protect its interests.
1.2.6 To promote education and training in the field of property management in the interests of maintaining and developing professional knowledge and skill in order to deliver the highest standard of service.
1.2.7 To contribute to public policy on matters relating to property management.
1.2.8 To encourage suitable candidates to apply for corporate membership, associate membership or affiliateship of the Association.
1.2.9 To abstain from any form of conduct liable to morally or materially prejudice corporate members, associate members or affiliates.
1.2.10 To ensure that their advertisements and other public pronouncements are, where factual, strictly accurate and are in keeping with the dignity of the property managers’ profession and are not such as would bring the Association or the Corporate Member, Associate Member or Affiliate into disrepute.
1.2.11 To act, at all times, objectively, with honesty and free of any conflict of interest and not to allow their actions to be unduly influenced by others.
1.3 Civic Responsibility
1.3.1 To recognise their civic responsibility and, at all times, to act in a manner which affirms this. They should endeavour to ensure that public confidence in the integrity, probity and honesty of the profession is maintained by adhering to the highest standards of service delivery.
1.3.2 Subject to their clients’ instructions, to have due regard to the effect of their work and ensure that it causes as little adverse effect as possible, to the ecology or the environment, and if possible, promote sustainable friendly working methods.
1.3.3 To encourage the conservation of energy and the recycling of used products, packaging and materials.
1.4.1 To ensure that the financial obligations and commitments relating to property contracts are expressed in writing and that they accurately reflect the agreements reached by all parties, who should each be given a copy of the contract at the time of signing.
1.4.2 To ensure that all agreements provide exact and unequivocal information for all parties.
1.4.3 To inform all clients, in clear and precise terms of the fees for the services to be rendered.
1.4.4 To acquaint themselves with all essential facts relating to the property for which they have accepted a fee, so as to fulfil their professional obligations without error, exaggeration, misrepresentation or concealment of facts.
1.5.1 To ensure the highest standards in the management of finances.
1.5.2 To ensure transparency in fee arrangements with clients.
1.5.3 To keep detailed records of all transactions with and/or relating to clients with appropriate authorisation and documentation for expenditure.
1.5.4 To ensure that annual, or other required periodic accounting is carried out promptly and efficiently and that where required, all necessary information is provided to facilitate the timely auditing of the books of account.
1.6.1 Not to engage in the provision of services unless adequate and appropriate public liability and professional indemnity insurance cover is in place.
1.6.2 To accept that the procuring of insurance is the sole responsibility of the corporate member and that the Association has no function or responsibility in monitoring or policing such insurance arrangements, nor has the Association any responsibility for the consequences of the corporate member not having procured such insurance.
2. STANDARDS & CONDUCT IN DEALINGS WITH CLIENTS, FELLOW PROFESSIONALS, THE PUBLIC & THE MEDIA
2.1 Client Relationships & Conduct
CORPORATE MEMBERS, ASSOCIATE MEMBERS AND AFFILIATES OF THE ASSOCIATION UNDERTAKE:
2.1.1 To always enter into a written agreement with any client concerning the provision of agreed services. Any such agreement should include, but not be limited to, the following:
the scope and nature of services to be provided
the cost of such services
the required method and frequency of reporting
the provisions for the termination of the services by either party
2.1.2 Not to accept an assignment that is outside their field of experience, unless they secure, with the client’s approval or their employer’s approval, the assistance of a specialist in that area whose contribution will be clearly defined.
2.1.3 Not to accept any assignment that the corporate member is unable to carry out competently.
2.1.4 To disclose to the client if a conflict of interest exists, or is likely to exist in the future.
2.1.5 To disclose to a client, or prospective client, any payment or other advantage they may have received in connection with the provision of any services to that client or prospective client.
2.1.6 Not to order for the account of a client, goods or services from a relation or a company or organisation in which they have an interest, without first advising the client of the relationship or the nature of the interest.
2.1.7 While the undertaking of fees from any particular client is a matter for the discretion of the corporate member, it is nevertheless expected that corporate members shall not discriminate unfairly. A corporate member must not discriminate on the basis of gender, marital status, family status, race, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability or membership of the travelling community, in carrying out their duties as property managers.
2.1.8 Not to undertake fees where it would involve the corporate member in the furtherance of a crime or in some form of unprofessional conduct.
2.1.9 Where a corporate member has reasonable grounds for refusing to act for a particular client, or to act in a particular case, to immediately inform the client of their decision not to act.
2.1.10 All information regarding the client and matters and relations concerning the client must be treated with absolute confidentiality. The obligation of client confidentiality extends beyond the duration of the contract with the client.
2.1.11 Unless special circumstances prevail, not to unilaterally terminate any assignment without reasonable notice to the client.
2.2 Conduct towards fellow Corporate Members, Associate Members & Affiliates
2.2.1 A corporate member, associate member or affiliate shall not maliciously injure the professional reputation or practice of another corporate member, associate member or affiliate. However, if they have evidence that another corporate member, associate member or affiliate has been guilty of unethical, illegal or unfair practices in violation of this Code, this information should be presented to the Council of the Association.
2.2.2 A corporate member, associate member or affiliate shall not maliciously seek to impede, obstruct, disrupt or subvert the normal business operations of a fellow corporate member, associate member or affiliate.
2.2.3 Corporate members, associate members and affiliates shall cooperate with fellow corporate members, associate members and affiliates in upholding and enforcing this Code. Such cooperation shall be strictly limited to matters permissible under the Competition Act 2004.
2.3 Conduct towards the Public and the Media
CORPORATE MEMBERS, ASSOCAITE MEMBERS AND AFFILIATES OF THE ASSOCIATION UNDERTAKE:
2.3.1 To abstain from any undertaking, or any form of publicity which is prejudicial to the good name of the profession of property managers.
2.3.2 To conduct professional activities in accordance with the public interest and with full respect for the dignity and standards of the profession and professionals who operate in it.
2.3.3 Not to intentionally disseminate false, misleading or insufficient information.
2.3.4 That any advertising material published, or caused to be published by them will adhere to advertising codes, as well as any relevant consumer legislation.
3. STANDARDS FOR THE USE OF THE ASSOCIATION NAME & LOGO
CORPORATE MEMBERS, ASSOCAITE MEMBERS AND AFFILIATES OF THE ASSOCIATION UNDERTAKE:
3.1 Not to use any form of the Association’s name, logo and/or accompanying text without the express written consent of the Secretary on behalf of the Association.
3.2 That any permitted use of the Association name, logo and/or accompanying text will adhere in full to the ASM Brand Guidelines (To write one up).
4. COMPLAINTS AND DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE
4.1 Any person, including fellow professionals or members of the public, may make a complaint in writing to the Association against a corporate member, associate member or affiliate of the Association in relation to an alleged breach of this Code.
4.2 A complaint made in writing to the Association against a corporate member, associate member or affiliate of the Association, which complaint has already been made to the __________________________ Authority (or relevant regulatory body) will not be considered by the Association until such time as a resolution to the complaint made to the __________________________ Authority (or relevant regulatory body) has been achieved.
4.3 The enforcement procedures provided for in this clause shall be binding on all property facility managers who subscribe to this Code. Where statutory provision is made for the regulation of property managers, the Code shall be enforced in accordance with the statutory enforcement procedures.
4.4 If a complaint is made to the Association, or it appears that a corporate member, associate member or affiliate has acted in breach of this Code, the Secretary, if satisfied that the complaint is made in good faith and is not frivolous or vexatious shall:
4.4.1 Advise the corporate member, associate member or affiliate, in writing, of the nature of the complaint and request a written response to the allegation/s within 30 days.
4.4.2 Advise the Board of Members of the Association that an alleged breach of the Code has occurred.
4.5 Once a case is merited by the Board of members to warrant further investigation or if the corporate member, associate member or affiliate fails to respond, or responds in a manner that is considered unsatisfactory, the Board of Members will formally establish a Disciplinary Board to adjudicate on the matter. The following procedures shall apply to the formation of a Disciplinary Board:
4.5.1 The Disciplinary Board shall consist of a Chairperson, one current member of the Board of Members and an independent external person to be appointed by the Board of Members. No person shall be entitled to be a member of the Disciplinary Board if a conflict of interest exists.
4.5.2 The Chairman of the Association will act as Chairperson of any Disciplinary Board (except in cases where a conflict of interest exists in which case the Chairman shall designate another member of the Board to act as Chairman).
4.6 Once a Disciplinary Board has been formed, the following responsibilities and procedures shall apply:
4.6.1 The Disciplinary Board shall investigate the complaint, giving the corporate member, associate member or affiliate and the complainant the opportunity to be heard during the investigation, if they so decide.
4.6.2 A Disciplinary Board, of its own motion or at the request of a party, may in its absolute discretion conduct an oral hearing of a complaint.
4.6.3 The Disciplinary Board shall issue a written recommendation on the complaint to the Board of Members. The decision of a Disciplinary Board shall be by a majority of its members.
4.6.4 The Disciplinary Board shall take any other action necessary as a result of the investigation having regard to the legal rights of all concerned.
4.6.5 Sittings of any Disciplinary Board shall be held in private.
4.7 If the Board of Members, on the Disciplinary Board’s written recommendation, concludes that a corporate member, associate member or affiliate has been guilty of a breach of this Code, it may:
4.7.1 Reprimand the corporate member, associate member or affiliate in writing and/or;
4.7.2 Require the corporate member, associate member or affiliate to give a written undertaking to refrain from continuing or repeating the conduct constituting the breach and/or;
4.7.3 Order the repayment of part, or all, of the fee to the client in the matter of the breach and/or;
4.7.4 Suspend the corporate member, associate member or affiliate from the Association and/or;
4.7.5 Expel the corporate member, associate member or affiliate from the Association.
4.8 A corporate member, associate member or affiliate aggrieved by any decision of the Board of Members may appeal, in writing, to an Appeals Board within one month of such decision. The Appeals Board for each appeal shall be appointed by the Board of Members and shall consist of three current members of the Board of Members. A person who has acted as a member of the Disciplinary Board may not act as a member of the Appeals Board dealing with the same matter. The Appeals Board shall consider the findings and such supporting material as it thinks fit and may:
4.8.1 Uphold the decision of the Board of Members or;
4.8.2 Decide that the corporate member, associate member or affiliate has not been guilty of a breach of this Code and rescind the decision of the Board of Members or;
4.8.3 Decide that the corporate member, associate member or affiliate has been guilty of the breach of the Code and vary the penalty imposed to another sanction provided for within Clause 4.6.
4.9 The Disciplinary Board, the Appeals Board or the Board of Members shall give the corporate member, associate member or affiliate concerned the opportunity of stating a defence, either in writing or by personal attendance at a meeting.
4.10 The Association shall be entitled to publish in its newsletter, on its website, in the general press or other publications, notice of the expulsion or suspension of a corporate member, associate member or affiliate, together with details of the reasons for such expulsion or suspension.
5. CORPORATE MEMBERS, ASSOCIATE MEMBERS AND AFFILIATES RIGHTS
Nothing in this code shall infringe on a corporate member, associate member or affiliate’s right to due process and natural justice or their natural and constitutional rights.