SRA comment on HSBC

Professional Ethics have provided guidance to the Bold Group on the letter and undertaking that one of the HSBC panel members is using in the new HSBC separate representation process.  We talk exclusively to Bold Group founder Rob Hailstone.
Rob, a former conveyancer, is leading a campaign to help high street law firms survive the challenges that face them.  Historically he is well known for providing high street law firms with advice and tools to provide a solicitor led Home Information Pack.  Now they have been confined to history he is focusing on a broad range of issues for the 135 Bold Group members including the challenges arising from lender panel changes.
Rob has received a lot of recent publicity by calling for high street conveyancers to stand together to lobby and support their position.  One issue that the Bold Group is presently focused on is the HSBC decision to reduce its conveyancing panel to 43 firms and the process surrounding that. He has informed Today’s Conveyancer that he has asked the SRA professional ethic department for their guidance on the implications for conveyancers on giving the undertaking that is being required by one of the panel members on the reduced HSBC panel.
Speaking exclusively to us Rob said “I have obtained the guidance for all my members and have provided them with a copy of the advice.  It is clear from the SRA guidance that all solicitors should think very carefully before giving an undertaking in the form that is set out.”
He went on to explain “The letter explains in some detail when a solicitor should decline to act for the borrower in the event a lender asks for an inappropriate undertaking.  Many of my members have read the advice from the SRA and do not feel able to act for HSBC borrowers on this specific undertaking.”
Rob is also waiting to receive comments from a number of professional indemnity insurers on the new rules introduced by HSBC.
Today's Conveyancer