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On February 22, the senate passed a law that will scrap the state-appointed Conseil des Ventes in favour of a new ‘watchdog’ made up chiefly of auctioneers.

Where previously the Conseil des Vente comprised 11 state-appointed members (most of them legal professionals), the renamed Conseil des Maisons de Vente will be run by at least six auctioneers who are elected by their peers.

The auctioneers’ association Symev (Syndicate National des Maisons de Ventes Volontaires) welcomed the change that – much delayed following the Covid crisis – could now come into practice before the end of the year. Jean-Pierre Osenat, president of Symev, said: “The world is changing, the system had to evolve, and the market needs help. Auctioneers are competent and trusting them [to police themselves] is very important.”

The scope of the new Conseil des Maisons de Vente will also be expanded beyond regulation and control to include a lobbying role. Tasked with supporting the French auction sector in the face of globalisation, it is hoped it will become “a real tool for consultation between the government and professionals”.