The following article is provided to us by the Society for Licensed Conveyancers. We would be interested in your views.
The Chairman of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers puts forward a strong case for converting to Licensed Conveyancer status.
The profession of Licensed Conveyancers was created by Act of Parliament more than 25 years ago and has become an established feature of the legal marketplace such that today the very largest Conveyancers in England and Wales are regulated by the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC). Often marginalised and even derided in the early years, Licensed Conveyancers have gained the reputation amongst property professionals in recent times as being reliable, efficient and, in particular, free of fraud risk.
As the number of firms regulated by the CLC continues to grow there is an increasing recognition amongst conveyancing solicitors that becoming Licensed Conveyancers is an option that merits consideration. Indeed a number of firms have already made the switch and report favourably on the experience.
So what are the considerations?
First of all the CLC is recognised as an effective and proportionate regulator. Whilst the processes associated with oversight are robust and the inspection regime is demanding, the outputs are constructive and aimed at helping firms achieve full compliance and follow best practice. This, rather unusually in respect of a statutory regulator, has resulted in the regulated community being very favourably disposed towards the CLC and to respect the work that they do.
But what are the material benefits? There is a master PI policy available to all Licensed Conveyancer firms that offers very competitive premium rates. Licensed Conveyancers can earn commissions on the added value services that they offer, provided these are appropriate and proportionate (and of course disclosed to the client). Further, Licensed Conveyancers are regarded as a good risk by mortgage lenders who are carefully managing their panels following the Mortgage Market Thematic Review. In a number of instances lenders are preferring Licensed Conveyancers in the criteria that they apply to panel membership.
Licensed Conveyancers are represented by an active and growing professional body – the Society of Licensed Conveyancers (SLC) which unlike the Law Society individual Licensed Conveyancers can elect to join (or not!). This focuses the Society on meeting the needs of its members and addressing those issues that are most topical. Recent examples would be successfully lobbying for changes to the PI run-off cover rules and taking an active stance against the Land Registry’s ill considered plans to centralise the Local Land Charges Register.
As the world of conveyancing continues to change and evolve, the time is right for conveyancing solicitors to consider the switch.
At Today;s Conveyancer we don’t believe the argument is so simple or many more solicitors would be converting. What are your views?