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At present SOFAA is open only to firms not individuals and the 35 members are being asked to adopt a series of reforms including individual membership and the acceptance of valuers for the first time.

Since its inception in 1975 the society’s membership has been restricted to auctioneers and the proposed change would allow insurance and other valuation experts to apply subject to the society’s codes of conduct. These specifically prohibit members from acting as dealers.

Chairman Christopher Ewbank stated: “Valuation is an integral part of the auction process and the committee of the society feel it is an anomaly that valuers are excluded at present.”

The second major proposal is the creation of a new class of individual “associateship”. Entrants would have to show high professional standing backed by experience and meet the same criteria as currently apply to corporate members.

“ The admission of associates will give individuals the opportunity to display their professional standing and to validate it to their clients by using the new designation ASFAV (Associate of the Society of Fine Art Auctioneers and Valuers),” said Chris Ewbank.

Despite the change of name, the well known SOFAA logo is likely to remain unchanged.