Saturday, October 31, 2009

How condos protect their funds

SOME managing agents of condominiums here are not allowed to sign on cheques to make payments on behalf of the estates they run. Such duties are usually entrusted to the estate’s management councils. Usually, at least two signatures – that of the chairman and treasurer or secretary – are needed for cheque payments.

It is a safeguard against possible misappropriation of funds by managing agents, said Mr Vijayen Nair, a property manager from Philip Motha Property Management, which runs about 30 condominiums and commercial buildings here.

The 52-year-old, who manages The 101 complex – a residential and commercial building in Beach Road, keeps the cheque books to the estate’s funds under lock and key. His employees have to present invoices and purchase orders for him to verify before he writes the cheques. They will then get the necessary signatures from the estate’s council members. ‘If any money goes missing, I become personally liable,’ he told The Straits Times.

Mr Chan Kok Hong, managing director of CKH Strata Management which looks after 95 condominiums, said his firm has become increasingly reliant on Internet banking to keep tabs on the money that goes in and out of an estate’s fund. ‘Its faster to track this way. With Internet banking, I can verify almost immediately that the money has been deposited, rather than wait for the bank slip at the end of the month.’

Both he and Mr Nair stressed the importance of dilligence when documenting evidence of transactions. Mr Chan said council treasurers should ’scrutinise the accounts, ask a lot of questions and sign off on all documents’ to avoid fraud being committed.

Kimberly Spykerman

Source: Straits Times, 31 Oct 2009

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