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You Don't Know What You Don't Know

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You Don't Know What You Don't Know

By Keith Stephenson, Director of State Affairs
September 15, 2014

 You Don't Know What You Don't Know 

For the majority of people, not knowing everything about the way their business or industry works is perfectly alright. The fact is, they don’t really need to know it all in order to still be effective at their job.

But when it comes to regulators, what they don’t know may have unintended consequences in the industries they regulate. With all the priorities on their plate, it’s clear to see how they may not have time to study certain nuances and business specifics. And that’s why it’s so important that we do our job of bringing the education to them.

Now more than ever, given the evolution and complexity of the product, it’s critical these representatives understand how new rules and regulations will impact the timeshare industry and its owners. To help facilitate a deeper understanding of timeshare among regulators, ARDA’s Regulatory Outreach Committee introduced a comprehensive state regulatory/agency education initiative this year. Over the past eight months, the committee has hit the road with a presentation to help strengthen relationships with and educate regulators about the ever-evolving timeshare industry—from product types to legal structures (and much more). To date, they have presented to regulators in 10 jurisdictions across the United States and the Caribbean, helping these representatives better understand the product they’re being asked to regulate.

Education is the key to our success, and there’s no doubt this critical effort is paying off in spades. It’s not just reinvigorating relationships with officials who regulate our industry—it’s also creating opportunities to influence future legislative and regulatory changes in the best interest of the industry and owners alike. In fact, the initiative has been so successful that the committee is now being proactively reached out to by regulators, agencies and associations, requesting that they present to them and their teams. By the end of the year, the team will present in three additional jurisdictions and at the Association of Real Estate Law Officials’ (ARELLO) annual convention. They have even been asked to conduct an educational panel for Real Estate Investigators, so they can better understand the product and more effectively tackle our shared concern of timeshare fraud.

But with changes in agency staff familiar with the timeshare industry, and term limits that create turnover in government, educating regulators is a never-ending process. One thing you can count on—education will always remain a top priority for us, and ARDA and its Regulatory Outreach Committee remain committed for the long haul. 


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