ARMA Conference 2019 wrap up, what we heard and what comes next

We know a thing or two about moving at News On The Block - so when we heard about the ARMA Conference moving to a brand new etc.venues location in Houndsditch in the heart of the city, we couldn’t help but get excited.
The venue was not the only change, ARMA has built upon its history of serving our industry and rejuvenated its flagship conference with a new format and an ever-more engaging list of speakers, sponsors and partners.
With over 550 industry professionals in attendance, delegates heard what was to come from moderator, 4-5 Grays Inn Square’s Property Law specialist, Ayesha Omar, and ARMA’s Chairman Tony Hymers. Sticking to this year’s theme, Tomorrow’s World, they explored some of today’s challenges for the property management world, setting both the context for change and the tempo for the day.
To move forwards, it’s good recap on what came before. ARMA CEO, Dr Nigel Glen balanced the introductions with insights from the past year and announced a host of new initiatives. It is worth noting, thanks in part to initiatives like the ARMA Crisis and Legal helplines, its series of Partner Tech Talks and ARMA Energy, the number of leasehold properties managed by ARMA members has increased by almost a million since 2007 to 1.24m homes. An impressive feat in a competitive market. ARMA and its members, by those numbers, are doing all the right things as they push on with a single voice representing the sector.
But it wasn’t all about ARMA. What makes this event tick is the collection of experts and leaders present. Few industry events have ARMA’s draw for speakers and attendees ready to listen, learn, network and debate. Throughout the day delegates learned from industry stalwarts such as Lord Richard Best, discussing that most debated of leasehold topic: the statutory regulation of property agents. Both individuals and firms will be licensed, there will be a detailed code of practice and training programmes implemented for property professionals. Regulation will happen, but change won’t be quick but hopefully the ARMA Conference in 2021 will be discussing the new legislation.
The debate will grow until then - one to watch. Lord Best shared a well-rounded view on the regulation on the horizon, inspiring healthy discussion during the refreshment and lunch breaks. 
That was just one of the keynote talks, others included;
Impact of regulation on the property sector in Ireland; a look at transformations in the property services sector following the introduction of regulation in 2012 on the other side of the Irish Sea, one of our closest neighbours both geographically and regulatory. Maeve Hogan, CEO of the PSRA, shared excellent learnings for us to take onboard as our space changes at home.
There followed an enlightening expert panel discussion on Improving Building Regulations and the Residents’ Voice. Hosted by ARMA’s Glen, the panel featured Jonathan Bramhall (MHCLG), Dr Ed Kirton-Darling (Kent Law School), Brent O’Halloran (Hyde Housing) and Gary Strong (Global Building Standards Director, RICS).
Change Management Expert Alan O’Neill explained not only why there are elements in our businesses we should change but highlighting why daring to change will help us grow. 
Further to the talks, ARMA organised some first-class breakout sessions with:
Lucian Cook’s update on the UK Housing Market
Simon Palmer’s session on Getting the Basics Right to Drive Future Value
Cassandra Zanelli’s and Justin Bates’ Legal Update head-to-head
Tom Shrive and Colin Stokes discussing the changing face of PropTech and AI
David Hurren advising best practice for onsite staff performance to meet modern service demands
Business Expert Hubs included Abbatt Property Recruitment, BDO, Full Power Utilities, Metro Bank, MRI Software and PIB Risk Management providing 1-to-1 business sessions, whilst the Technical Hub offered sessions with 4site Consulting, Cardinus Risk Management, Façade Remedial Consultants, Future Group, Michael R Lee Chartered Surveyors, PM Legal Services and Stackhouse Poland.
Safe to say, before even mentioning the drinks reception to round it off, #ARMAConf2019 was a success with numerous connections made, a chance to talk to some great old friends and so much to learn about Tomorrow’s World. Many thanks to the organisers and we, for one, can’t wait for next year’s.


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