Countrywide celebrate a successful conveyancing year

Love or loathe Countrywide Conveyancing they are a market leader in terms of financial success and sheer volume.  Last week they announced their results and set some pretty stiff benchmarks to measure other conveyancers financial and panel management performance by.

Countrywide Conveyancing and its panel management operations completed 59,180 transactions in 2012 according to their accounts.  In the same period Land Registry show that there were 689,980 transfers for value.  We can’t be sure that all of the completions were transfers for value but assuming they are then that would represent a massive 8.6% market share far ahead of any other firm or panel manager that we are aware of.

Not only does that statistic look considerable if you compare their profit to the number of completions they appear to be making £129.69 per case profit.  This figure is substantially ahead of what many other conveyancers perceive to be their own marginal profit.

We also know that Countrywide completed 14753 applications at Land Registry in 2012 from Land Registry data demonstrating that the majority of their cases are outsourced to their panel.  The ability to outsource work must enable their internal conveyancers to operate at near optimal productivity most of the year and not having to resource for seasonal low volume periods because they can just stop paneling it.  Other conveyancers can only wish for consistent volumes.
This table is taken from their results document last week.

The decision in 2012 by HSBC to alter its panel arrangements and to outsource their panel management function to Countrywide disappointed a large proportion of the market however the financial outcome for Countrywide looks positive.

Despite the strength of these results and the hard work that will have gone into achieving them we know that many other conveyancers have strong and deeply felt beliefs about Countrywide and perceptions of the quality of their work.    Given these views we have looked at statistically accurate sources such as the Legal Ombudsman’s published results and they show that Countrywide only had once case reported to LEO in the last data published and that complaint was not upheld.  This appears low to many other firms.

We can’t comment on Countrywide without acknowledging that some other conveyancers dislike their style, approach and engagement with the rest of the conveyancing community.  We know Countrywide have been sampling feedback from third party conveyancers to ensure that they improve the perception of some conveyancers but putting aside any perceptions, whether fairly or unfairly, held we should not detract from the success of these results.

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Today's Conveyancer