MDA Searchflow holds the licence to run the NLIS hub channel, owns it own channel, operates a personal search business and provides a broad range of services to the UK property sector.
Prior to my holiday last week MDA Searchflow presented its quarterly podcast to its investors and released news indicating quite how badly the search sector has been hit by the suspension of HIPS. After I listened to it I contacted MDA Searchflow to invite their comment. When writing articles I usually do this as a matter of course as I would have preferred to have given them the opportunity to let me understand their views prior to me publishing however despite promises to respond by last Friday I am yet to receive a substantive response.
The President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Friedman of the satellite to searches multi billion dollar group reported that following the suspension of HIPS the UK personal search business had dropped from 2400 searches per week to 250 searches per week, whilst the volume of searches going through the NLIS channels dropped marginally from 3200 to 3100. This 90 % reduction has resulted in a write down of Can $ 2.1 M.
But Daniel Friedman went on to say "We believe we are at a low in search volume right now….we expect search volumes to go up…..we think we are well positioned to recover what has gone down and well some." Explaining that now HIPS had gone he expected that conveyancers will revert to using official searches and that given the MDA ownership of an NLIS channel this would leave them well placed.
He clearly had an expectation that over time the MDA Searchflow market share would increase. This podcast was prior to the announcement by the Government to remove the £22 access fee for personal searches.
MDA also stated they were working on a service for lenders to avoid mortgage fraud by professionals by developing a pre qualified list of approved professionals.
Otherwise MDA indicated that they had a series of new deals with Commercial Property Lawyers including a 15 year exclusive deal.