First American Exchange of Skagit County, formerly known as SEAS is proud to announce that Gale Hickok, has been awarded the CES™ Designation offered through the Federation of Exchange Accommodators, Inc. (FEA).
The Federation of Exchange Accommodators, Inc. (FEA) is the Nation’s largest trade organization comprised primarily of professional tax-deferred exchange accommodators that specialize in aiding property owners defer capital gains tax through an Internal Revenue Code Section 1031 (IRC § 1031) exchange. With over 270 member companies that are located in every state, the FEA has served its members for over a decade as governmental advocate and liaison, educational resource, and ethics administrator.
The FEA established the voluntary CESTM Certification & Continuing Education Program to enhance the professionalism and expertise of its exchange industry members. Over five years of research and planning went into the development and design of the CESTM certification program. A CESTM designee possesses a certification that demonstrates to his/her clients and professional advisors that he/she has attained a nationally recognized professional standard of knowledge in the exchange facilitation field.
A CESTM designation demonstrates to a property owner considering an exchange that the professional they have chosen possesses a certain level of experience and knowledge that meets professional standards. Just as when one selects an attorney, accountant, or REALTOR®, it’s important to review the credentials of any professional advisor prior to beginning a business relationship. An exchange professional bearing the CESTM designation has demonstrated the high level knowledge necessary in dealing with complex tax deferred exchanges.
The FEA administered its first two examinations in Washington, D.C. on May 15, 2003 and in San Francisco, CA on May 31, 2003 which covered an array of exchange-related topics designed to challenge the candidate’s knowledge of exchange rules and also their competency in performing the necessary daily activities of an exchange accommodator company. Finally, it also focuses on those ethical issues present when any third party controls the funds of another. Mr. Hickok sat for his examination on October 2, 2003 in Las Vegas, NV.
As a CESTM Designee, one is bound by the Code of Ethics of the FEA and is required to maintain twenty (20) hours of continuing education within a two (2) year period.
Mr. Hickok is the President of First American Exchange, which is a subsidiary of Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow. He also serves as the general manager of the parent Title Company. He has worked in Skagit County in the title, escrow and exchange business since 1969.
Since 1971, First American Title of Skagit County has been an agent of First American Title Insurance Company, the nation’s leading provider of business information and title insurance products. This unique blend of exchange, title and escrow services enables the exchange process to run smoothly and effectively.
First American Exchange and Guardian Northwest Title & Escrow are comprised of over 30 professionals and experts, who serve the community by insuring and closing real estate transactions daily. Their mission is to know what it takes to solve the various challenges that can put the transfer of real estate on hold, and can assist in meeting the deadlines of an exchange.