SLC/BLG Annual Conference summary

This week, Today’s Conveyancer attended the much anticipated Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC) Annual Conference – organised in association with the Bold Legal Group (BLG). Attendance appeared significantly up in last year and attendees were warmly welcomed to the event, hosted by Paul Lewis, financial journalist and presenter on Radio 4’s Money Box.

Following a humorous and very original poem about conveyancing, created and delievered by Robin Wells, Head of Sales at PSG (Gold sponsor), a fantastic range of insightful speakers took to the stage throughout the day. There were also two panel discussions between delegates and a selection of the day’s speakers.

Below is a summary and a list of some of the main points that can be taken from the day:

Kate Fulkner from Designs on Property looked into property market figures since the credit crunch and made recommendations to conveyancers on effective use of data and importance of the buy-to-let market.

  • Regional house price figures should be compared against high and low of the market for increased accuracy
  • Significant amount (18%) of conveyancing is within buy-to-let: as investors are reportedly losing money year-on-year, advise to seek independent financial advice, ensure they are aware of the real returns, belong to a landlord association, and understand the new EPC rules
  • Better educate first time buyers on home buying options available – many are falsely under the impression it is unachievable as figures are inaccurate

Graham Farrant, CEO of Land Registry gave an overview of how far the business has come since the first registration and took delegates through the plans for the next 12 months.

  • For applications exceeding 12 months, conveyancers are invited to contact Graham directly to help resolve delay issues (as reported by Today’s Conveyancer)
  • Currently a programme to improve efficiency by recruiting and swiftly replacing employees who are expected to retire, with benefits of this likely to be noticeable within the next 3-6 months

Sheila Kumar, CEO of the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) presented a breakdown on the achievements and what the key focuses have been for the Council to improve service provision. Stephen Ward, External Affairs Director at the CLC touched on the consolidation of the profession and compared CLC and Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) regulated entities.

  • Conveyancers should use license renewal as a chance to raise any issues
  • CLC are looking to reintroduce BACS payments
  • There are benefits to having more focussed departments and being regulated by specialist conveyancing regulators
  • Introduction of new qualifications to become conveyancing or probate technicians, with an aim to attract students in partnership with SQA

Neil Scriven, Senior Fraud Investigations Manager at Barclays Bank gave his perspective on fraud issues for both lenders and conveyancers.

  • Be aware of the term and risks associated with “property hijack”: the impersonation of a genuine proprietor for remortgage or sale
  • Always meet clients face-to-face and view original documents. If this is not achievable, conveyancers must contact and confirm certification of the 3rd party identifier
  • Don’t obtain and check passport codes yourself, this can only be done at the Passport Office
  • With regard to invoice fraud, don’t trust contacts who claim to be from the fraud department
  • Be aware of the term and risks associated with “malware”: fraudsters can take control of your computer and anti-virus software does not always detect this

Dame Janet Paraskeva, the new Chair of the CLC raised a number of very interesting points and was one of the most insightful speakers of the day. We will cover in much more detail in a full article of her thoughts.

  • She called for a full review of financial protection for consumers including calling for a legal industry single compensation fund
  • A review of why, when switching regulators, there is a need for run off insurance and the distorting effect that this has on the market
  • She questioned whether the way that lender panel management presently operated amounted to a detriment to consumers. This was reiterated by Mike Ockenden of the SLC later

We will be interviewing the speakers from the conference, so if there are any questions or issues you’d like us to raise during this process, please email Heather Cameron at [email protected].

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