Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

An investigation of New Coast Realty by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver focuses on owner Ze Yu Wu.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Greater Vancouver's real estate board is studying whether to make its confidential disciplinary decisions public, a move toward more transparency that could eventually apply to the entire province.

However, the results of its ongoing investigation into New Coast Realty – perhaps its most high-profile – will likely remain private, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Dan Morrison said during a lengthy round table with The Globe and Mail and representatives from the British Columbia Real Estate Association.

The board's professional conduct committee is now investigating allegations of misconduct among New Coast employees after a Globe investigation revealed an audiotape recording of the firm's owner, Ze Yu Wu, instructing his real estate sales teams on how to make a quick commission by talking clients into selling their houses for less money than they want.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Morrison said that investigation will likely conclude long before his trade association is able to vote on whether to publicize the results of its disciplinary proceedings.

"We're a private members' association and our obligation is to our members, and the systems are set up to keep the standards of membership – that's what we do," he said Friday. "We have a committee that's looking into all this now and we're talking about [releasing decisions to the public].

"We actually have lawyers telling us if we can do that. If we do that, we have to go to our 12,500 members and get their permission to do that."

A Globe investigation last month found that real estate agents in Metro Vancouver who are disciplined for wrongdoing face fines and suspensions that are dwarfed by the hefty commissions they earn in B.C.'s superheated housing market.

Records from more than 100 recent disciplinary proceedings from the board and the Real Estate Council of B.C., the industry's self-regulating body, showed only a fraction of agents disciplined ever lost their licences over misconduct, and that fines averaged $4,850 or less.

Last month, when The Globe informed the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver it was leaked 22 of its disciplinary decisions from the past five years, a law firm representing the board sent a letter to the paper threatening a lawsuit claiming the Multiple Listing Service had been illegally breached.

Ninety-five per cent of B.C.'s licensed agents belong to regional real estate boards that guard access to MLS. The 11 boards can discipline members but have always maintained that, as private members' groups, they must maintain confidentiality when an agent gets caught breaking the professional code of conduct. (The Real Estate Council of B.C. publishes all of its decisions on its website for at least a year.)

Story continues below advertisement

That confidentiality may change if the regional boards join together this summer to form a unified organization that could streamline the discipline process for realtors across B.C. who violate an established professional code of conduct and rules of co-operation, B.C. Real Estate Association president Deanna Horn said on Friday. Such an organization would still have to decide whether to publicly post any disciplinary decisions.

"The major advantage for the consumer would be to establish consistent expectations for what to expect," she said, noting that different boards have different maximum penalties across the province.

Carolyn Rogers, CEO of the Financial Institutions Commission of B.C., singled out the boards earlier last week as "large, well-resourced and powerful trade organizations" whose unique role in meting out private discipline is a concern.

"The roles need to be cleared up. What we have observed is the real estate boards have assumed a quasi-regulatory role. Often they position themselves as the place for consumers to launch complaints," Ms. Rogers told reporters last week.

"The boards' disciplinary practices are not transparent; there is no requirement to report publicly on whether a realtor is disciplined."

Ms. Rogers was more forceful in private, at the real estate association's annual general meeting on March 31.

Story continues below advertisement

"Self-regulation puts on each of you a positive obligation to report any and all bad behaviour – anything that has the potential to harm the public – there are no exceptions," she told a room full of real estate agents. "And the reporting is to your regulator and your regulator is the council. It is not your board, it is not your broker, it is the council.

"That is the responsibility you have in exchange for the privilege of self-regulation."

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies