The Research Intelligence Unit (RIU) being an organisation that has been in operation in Sri Lanka since 2003 and also has offices in Asia and London, herewith writes its formal reply to the baseless and futile attack made on the findings of one of our recent market studies that we have shared with Mirror Business readers.
Firstly, if there is any hidden agenda on the part of the RIU to manipulate the Sri Lankan real estate market, why would we be so transparent? As the writer, himself, notes that it’s in our website that we were founded on research and consulting in real estate (and other sectors) but have moved into transactions as well.
“….Over the years, the RIU has established itself as the premier research and consultancy firm for many of the top corporations in the U.K, Sri Lanka and in many of the major cities in Asia. Having established over a decade of expertise in real estate and investment intermediation, Real-estate Intelligence Unit, as a separate entity, was incorporated under the same brand in order to provide an end-to-end professional service to our clients. (www.riunit.lk)
Most, if not all, the global real estate players have an agency arm as well as a research arm. It is ludicrous to claim that anyone with their own research capacity cannot be trusted to carry out transactions. Should it not be the other way round? Should we revert to the old days when the trishaw guy was the only source of information on real estate? The RIU has completed more than 300 individual studies for developers in Sri Lanka and across Asia in the past 12 years, including some of the most prestigious developments in Asia.
Our business verticals operate independently. For example, we tipped Rajagiriya as an emerging real estate market many years ago, well before we conducted any feasibility studies for specific projects in Rajigiriya. If we have any bias at all, it’s towards promoting a ‘green environment’ – a case that we tirelessly continue to make in all our reports, public seminars and electronic media, be it Sri Lanka or any other project site anywhere in the world.
As we have clearly stated in our website, the writer should also note that the RIU’s entry into the agency side of the industry was based on the popular demand from the people in the industry, including our customers who were not happy with the ‘sleaze element’ of the agency side of the local industry. With our international presence, they wanted a professional agency to work with for buying, selling, renting, leasing and managing property. Now we are happy to be of service as an end-to-end service provider and we are happy to note that our clients are happy too.
Another point that demonstrates the baseless and illogical nature of Dr. Piyadas’s argument is the claim that the RIU has only listed out the names of projects and developers who are our own clients. Again, he could not be further from the truth as over 90 percent of the names listed are not our clients and in fact, our clients have asked us why their names are not included, to which, we have replied that the article was merely a reproduction of research output. There has been no tampering with the outcomes of our research to suite any individual interest. We don’t do that type of thing, sir.
Again with reference to the writer’s claim that we have not categorized high-end apartments to his liking, we have decided to share one of our classification criteria templates with the readers of Daily Mirror (see Table 1). All comments and feedback welcome.
The writer, who claims to be a doctor, has utterly failed to distinguish between the material that is clearly stated as the output of a research study and the material that a company shares on the basis of advocacy or advice. In the quoted section of the Market Update, we were merely sharing the findings of a recent survey and the overwhelming response from the readers has been one of thanks for shedding light into an industry that lacks any type of reliable data and information.
It can be noted from the research that the buyers are often confused between what they understand as developers, construction firms and even individual development names. This finding is one that the industry has thanked us for. At least all except the so-called Dr. Piyadasa, who we suspect may belong to a leading developer who is not mentioned as a top name by the respondents in our research, but perhaps feels that his brand should be in there. Maybe it’s time for this individual to “wake-up and smell the coffee” and invest in advertising his brand better.
Furthermore, if the ‘real Dr. Krishantha Piyadas would please stand up’, the RIU herewith publicly promise to give a free three-month subscription to him on our market intelligence service, which includes daily alerts, a weekly newsletter, quarterly reports and an annual report. If he reads the material in this package that many of the top developers in Sri Lanka, the region and indeed the world, subscribe to, perhaps he might learn a thing or two about the real estate industry and stop slinging dirt at an organisation that is in fact trying to present a much cleaner image of the Sri Lankan real estate industry to the world.
Difference between advice and research findings
The methodology used to develop this research was based on focus group discussions (FGDs). A good research company will always use a mixed-methods approach when conducting a research. The RIU has used its past research data (quantitative) and the present FGDs findings in this research to give the readership an overall picture.
The article also attempted to define how ‘credibility’ is captured. The 16 developers outlined by the FGDs also exemplify top of the mind recall of potential customers. So, if the RIU was biased, it would limit this to three to four developers instead. Why outline everybody? Secondly, if indeed, all these 16 are customers of the RIU; it then also shows the confidence and credibility placed on the RIU.
Nowhere in the original article did the RIU directly or indirectly say that these are the only developers in the country.
The original article also clearly tried to educate the readership on how to select a broker/agent and some best practices to follow. Nowhere did it mention to select a particular broker. One can argue that Dr. Piyadasa himself might actually be a broker, who does not fall into this category or best practice criteria. If so, then the right of reply shared by Dr. Piyadasa displays high-level of hypocrisy.
Somehow, I don’t think ‘Dr. Piyadasa’ will stand up because he is merely an avatar with ill intentions and his inventors know that he is as false as the pathetic argument that they have attempted to put across to the Daily Mirror readers.