Conveyancers’ regulator to cut fees

Topics: Regulation and compliance,Conveyancing

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The specialist regulator for conveyancers plans to cut regulatory fees for all firms by a fifth, it was announced today.

The Council for Licensed Conveyancers said it intends to apply an ‘across the board’ cut of 20% to practice fee rates from 1 November. Rates have been frozen for the past four years. Rates for contribution to the body's compensation fund ‘will remain flat’.

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CLC chief executive Sheila Kumar said savings to the regulator’s cost base would ‘begin to be realised’ this year and ‘can be built into our planning for the coming years’.

She said: ‘Alongside the review of the CLC’s handbook that is now underway, these changes demonstrate our commitment to ensuring that specialist regulation of specialist property lawyers is as tailored and proportionate as possible so that we continue to support innovation and growth in the sector.’

The CLC is expected to consult on fee details in the next few weeks.

The announcement comes a month after the CLC’s business plan stated that there would be a review of the regulatory fees framework ‘on the back of reductions in staff numbers and streamlining of CLC activity’ in 2015.   

After relocating from Chelmsford to London in August, the CLC’s 2015 annual report showed that it realised over £1m from the sales of its Chelmsford office and a nearby storage unit.

However, there was also bad news for conveyancers today, after research by search provider SearchFlow showed that only a third of practitioners carry out electronic anti-money laundering checks for all transactions.

According to SearchFlow’s conveyancing sentiment survey, 38% of conveyancers never carry out electronic identity checks to verify the customer’s identity; 29% ‘sometimes’ carry out electronic checks.

The findings showed sole practitioners were most vulnerable to fraud, with 5% carrying out electronic checks compared to half of larger firms (15 or more partners).

SearchFlow managing director Greg Bryce warned that money laundering schemes were ‘continually’ adapting, but that many conveyancers are ‘still merely asking to see their clients with their documentation’.

He said: ‘Conveyancers are leaving themselves open to criminal activity that can seriously impact their careers and reputations.’ 

Readers' comments (9)

  • How much do they contribute to their compensation fund and is the is in effect their total PI insurance contribution, or is their 'compensation fund' a fund of last resort?

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  • "specialist" regulator ??

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  • I think this race to the bottom is a good idea for them David.

    Particularly if you are a litigator.

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  • @David Cairns23 March 2016 07:14 pm:

    "specialist" regulator ??

    Well the SRA aren't and the Law Society are no representative body for us. .

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  • @David Crawford 23 March 2016 03.01pm:

    I do think the SCF will be needed soon David:

    http://www.smh.com.au/business/slater--gordon-recruit-jumps-ship-as-stock-sinks-to-new-low-20160328-gns3sw.html

    True that the SRA will fight tooth and nail for its protege to survive but as the John Cleese sketch goes. This parrot is ......

    PS cut and paste this as the LSG are routinely taking off the more perspicacious comments on here .....

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  • Raynor, you are quite correct in your PS. And there are some very sensitive nerves out there. "They don't like it up 'em, they don't Sir".

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  • How long do you think that S and G will continue then
    ?

    It seems another CEO has gone if I read this right?

    And its now worth £80 Million Australian Dollars against borrowing of £741 Million?

    Good job the banks and S and G and their banks and the SRA are business 'partners' desperate to see the thing keep afloat (and not a debtor creditor regulator relationship that exists).

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  • I've practised under the SRA (tastes vomit in mouth) and now the CLC. Whilst I understand that some people like the bully tactics and approach of the SRA, I like the regulation of the CLC which is both correct and fair. Imagine a regulator who trains you in the rules (CLC) rather than beats you with the rulebook (SRA). Imagine being able to ring and speak to a person about a regulatory issue without being told to just refer to the guidance...imagine a fair approach being taken...it's not some mythical utopia, it exists...but not in the SRA.

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  • You cant yet do litigation work through the CLC yet Anon @ 30 March 2016, otherwise I would have thrown off the Claims Handlers Society and claims Handlers Regulatory Authority a long long time ago .....

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