Working for an employer with a bad claims record could damage your conveyancing career

The issue of “fraud” by conveyancers on lenders is a very contentious issue.  An issue that one organisation can perceive of as fraud can be another’s perceived negligence.  What is a deliberate act and what was foolish but without malice is often very difficult to judge months or years later.
According to Mortgage Introducer, xit2, part of the group that also owns Searchflow, is the latest business to launch its new anti solicitor fraud protection service for lenders.   There are now quite a number of competing organisations claiming to be able to vet firms and individuals to mitigate against the damage caused by conveyancing fraud.   Presumably xit2 have timed the launch of their new service to coincide with the CML 4th Anti Mortgage Fraud Conference, a two-day event in London starting today.
Like many of these businesses checks from passports and other information gathered from lenders would appear to be shared between lenders.  Most conveyancers won’t even be aware that this is happening or understand what data is held about them individually and whom it is shared with.
So what does this mean for individual conveyancers?  Quite simply no one knows at the moment but we suspect that if you move between firms the track record of your previous employer will be attributed to you as you move.  Working for claim free businesses will allow you to continue but an ex-employer with a bad claims record whilst you were there might damage your future career prospects.
It is difficult to argue that at a firm and owner level there should not be rigorous tests put into place to ensure that there is a “trusted community” of conveyancers but it could become more challenging for junior staff.
In the future will a young conveyancer who is employed by a business that behaves inappropriately have their career blighted by a black mark in a database they are not aware of or even able to challenge the accuracy of?
Some of these new types of risk managers for lenders seek to determine who is safe for lenders to work with and who is not, but how accountable are they going to be when they make mistakes?
Working in a conveyancing practice can be pressured and stressful.  At times business owners can expect their staff to conduct long hours, cover for colleagues’ sickness and holidays and quite frankly take risks when business is busy.
It is very hard for a young conveyancer to say no when they are put under pressure but failure to do so could result in your career being blighted if a new lender risk management business considers that you have behaved inappropriately.
Our advice to staff in conveyancing practice is that you should insist that you know what personal data your employer is passing to lenders and their risk managers about you, and secondly you ensure that you are not placed in a position where the firm or an outside observer can say that you should have said no to pressure from your employer to do things you know could damage you in the eyes of lenders.  Finally when you do seek employment with a new business consider their track record and conduct proper due diligence on them to avoid your name being put on a warning list for lenders.
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