Institute’s former chief executive will lose out on £190,000 payout following resignation last week in wake of QC’s damning review

Former Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors chief executive Sean Tompkins will not receive his full £260,000 bonus, the body has confirmed.

Tompkins was paid £74,000 of the amount in January but will no longer receive the remaining £190,000, which had been due to be paid to him next year. 

It follows his resignation from the RICS in the wake of the findings of a damning independent review into the institute’s unfair dismissal of four non-executive directors.

The review, carried out by Alison Levitt QC, was ordered by the RICS after members revolted against its treatment of the non-executives, who were ousted in November 2019 after raising concerns about the handling of a critical financial report.

RICS governance scandal: Coverage all in one place

A spokesperson for the RICS said the non-payment of the remainder of Tompkins’ bonus will be confirmed in its 2021 remuneration report.

Sean Tompkins headshot

Sean Tompkins had been due to receive £190,000 next year

The size of the payout, which was awarded despite the RICS furloughing staff and making others redundant during the pandemic, had stoked significant controversy among members of the body.

Gleeds chairman Richard Steer described the decision to award the bonus to Tompkins, who also received an annual salary of £254,000 in 2019/20, as “frankly, quite ridiculous”.

He said earlier this week that questions should be asked in light of the review’s findings as to whether it should be recouped.

Several members of the RICS have also contacted Building calling for Tompkins to repay the sum he has already received.

Chartered surveyor Clive Woodford asked whether the bonus could be justified given that it was awarded during the “debacle” revealed in Levitt’s report.

And Robert Grant, a chartered building surveyor, said Tompkins should hand the bonus he has been paid back following the “conclusive and damning” findings of the review.

The four non-executives, Amarjit Atkar, Simon Hardwick, Bruce McAra and Steve Williams, were dismissed by then-president Chris Brooke after they refused to accept the findings of an internal RICS review into the handling of the financial report.

The 10-page report by accountant BDO had given the RICS the lowest possible “no assurance” rating for its treasury controls and warned that it was at risk of “unidentified fraud, misappropriation of funds and misreporting of financial performance”.

Despite repeated requests, the four governing council members were not shown the report until July 2019, seven months after it had been produced.

Their protests had prompted the RICS to order an internal review into the matter, which concluded that there had been no failure of the governance framework and the governing council had been “properly informed and updated” by Tompkins.

But according to Levitt, this review had been outsourced to the RICS’ external lawyers, Fieldfisher, with its conclusions “already decided before it had been commissioned”.

She added that its most important objective was that there should be “no threat to or criticism” of Tompkins, Parylo, Marcuse and audit committee chair Amit Shah.

Tell us what you think should happen next at the RICS

Now, we want you, our readers, to tell us what you think of the Levitt review findings.

Have the resignations come as a surprise? Does the report change how you feel about the RICS and its reputation? Which recommendations in the report stand out? Is another independent review into the RICS’ future purpose the right way to go? How quickly does the RICS need to take action to address the failures highlighted in the review?

Last week’s news throws up so many questions, and we want to know what you think about it all.

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