Why don’t they have CQS?

With CQS becoming increasingly dominant we analysed the top 150 accounts at the Land Registry to see how many were accredited.

Surprisingly 29% of solicitor practices in the top 150 are not Conveyancing Quality Scheme accredited.

But why?

Given that Santander has set Conveyancing Quality Scheme accreditation as a panel membership requirement, we thought it was time that we did some analysis around the market penetration of CQS.

This has produced some interesting results.

All firms regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority have had over a year and a half to get accredited.

If you haven’t managed this yet we presume that you either do not want to be accredited or potentially you have been rejected.

Desmond Hudson stated at the Law Society Property Section conference a couple of weeks ago that five firms have been rejected, although the scheme doesn’t publish who has been removed or denied access.

The three objectives of the CQS are to; (a) to restore trust with lenders, (b) to restore trust with insurers and (c) to create a conveyancing brand for consumer choice.

Those that are accredited presumably have determined that the scheme achieves at least some of these objectives.

What does that mean if you are on the other side and you are about to send money to a firm that are not CQS accredited?

From a risk management perspective is it a legitimate question to ask why a large solicitor’s practice that are known to do a lot of conveyancing are not accredited?

We have looked at the Land Registry’s top 150 accounts, by application made, to take a snap shot view as to the predominance of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).

In August 2012 the top 150 firms conducted about 32% of all purchases for residential property conveyancing transactions in England and Wales.

17 of the firms in the top 150 were Licensed Conveyancers and they conducted about 7% of all transactions in the total market.

These firms are not eligible to be part of the CQS as it is only open to solicitor practices.

Many lenders acknowledge that they are less concerned about licensed conveyancers than solicitors so we do not believe they are prejudiced by not being part of the scheme.

Most firms in the top 150 were solicitor practices. These totalled 133 firms of which 38 were not accredited by the Law Society to be part of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme.

So 71% of solicitors firms in the top 150 are CQS accredited. It begs the question why the 38 are not.

At Today’s Conveyancer we are curious to understand how not being accredited will impact these firms over time.

If the Conveyancing Quality Scheme builds trust with lenders, insurers and becomes a recognisable brand, these firms are going to have to join or provide a good reason why they have not yet been accredited.

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