Conveyancing community rallies round Simplify

The conveyancing industry has rallied round the embattled Simplify Group as it deals with the aftermath of the systems outage it suffered last week. 

In a statement released on Wednesday the group confirmed it was the victim of a significant cyber security breach, advising it was “working with our third-party cyber specialists to restore systems, find ways to support our clients’ property transactions and undertake a thorough investigation to gain a fuller understanding of the incident.”

Many systems had been restored by midweek to enable the continuation of transactions and a notice on the website on Saturday 13th November said

IMPORTANT
We have now restored IT systems sufficiently to enable clients to move. The good news is that almost all contracted transactions with a fixed completion date are up to date.

We have been working non-stop and have substantially increased our customer relations teams to enable us to proactively contact almost all clients who are scheduled to complete. We had several days with minimal telephone capacity, but we now have around 300 colleagues making outbound phone calls to clients and this team, who will be working full-time, into the weekend, are calling every client with an update.

We would assure you that we have been working round the clock to restore our operations. This includes carefully bringing systems online as part of a secure phased approach and finding workarounds to complete transactions safely. This work continues and will not stop until we are fully up to speed again.

At all times we have been acting in the best interests of our clients and understand how challenging this situation has been for them and can assure them that all client monies held by us are safe.

Cook Taylor Woodhouse, who are also part of Simplify, are regulated by the SRA and operate on separate systems which have been entirely unaffected by this issue.

While members of the public have been understandably frustrated, many conveyancers have shared messages of support on LinkedIn:

“So feel for this firm/group, other firms need to think ‘there for the grace of god go I’. We need to support them as best we can.”

“I can’t imagine what these guys are going through! Could so easily be any of us. Fingers crossed for them now 🤞”

“Wouldn’t wish this on any firm”

One post which has wracked up over 300 likes and nearly 50 comments at the time of writing says:

“Conveyancing firms out there. Please show your support to PPL, JS law and Dc law (the simplify group). My heart goes out to these guys. This could happen to any of us. Unity across the trade is really needed. Let’s be kind. Let’s be helpful and let’s support these guys”

with Chief Business Development Officer Dev Malle responding

“Thank you Marie and everyone else for the great support. Really appreciated and never forgotten. Much classier to support and empathise when you are in the same industry rather than being short term opportunistic. Thanks again 👍🏼”

On Friday the Council of Licensed Conveyancers released a statement advising that a team from the regulator had visited the Simplify offices on Friday to meet with the senior leadership team.

The meeting was to “review the steps they have taken to ensure transactions are completed and that client funds and data are protected.” The statement added that the CLC was

“reassured by the progress Simplify has made to date and by their plans for the remaining recovery work, however we will continue to monitor the CLC-regulated practices to ensure that client interests continue to be secured and that the CLC’s own regulatory requirements are met.”

4 Comments

  • test

    Thank goodness no one has hurt the feelings of the Simplify Group’s Business Development Officer. Absolutely the top concern for sure. Very much looking forward to more of your cutting-edge reporting on this matter.

  • test

    Unfortunately the statement put out is not quite true.
    1. The IT Systems for JS law, for example, is not up and running at all. Confirmed by person on phone.
    2. There was no work over the weekend (13th 14th nov)
    3. There has been very little to no communication to customers.
    To those offering their support to colleagues in their profession, check the facts first before you comment.
    This applies to todayconveyancer.co.uk as well.
    Thankyou
    G Davis

  • test

    I would absolutely rally around the poor clients that are suffering here and the poor staff that are no doubt under pressure in dealing with client queries and fearing the backlash they will get when the phones/emails are working and then the backlog they will have to get through. I understand that there is no incoming work for the time being and I hope for the staff’s sake that is stuck to until the backlog is cleared. As for rallying around the firm and the management, from this conveyancer, no.

  • test

    I feel enormous sympathy for Simplify’s poor clients and staff. All innocent parties in this matter and no doubt they have been put under tremendous pressure and strain. No doubt the staff have been working very hard to help where they can and are dreading the backlash and backlog. As for rallying around the Simplify group and their directors etc. are you serious?

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