Conveyancers regulated by the specialist licensing body CLC will face less stringent rules on how they handle client money under proposals published for consultation today. Plans include allowing practices to make use of third-party managed accounts as an alternative to holding client money directly. Solicitor firms have been able to hold money in third-party managed accounts since 2017, subject to Solicitors Regulation Authority guidance

Under its proposals for streamlining the handling of client money the regulator would:

  • Cut the time limit for delivering an accountant’s report from six to three months while allowing reporting accountants more freedom to set tests 'appropriate for any specific practice on its business model and risk profile'.
  • Introduce a new self-certification scheme for 'aged balances' of up to £50 and allowing practices to send balances of up to £10 to a nominated charity. 
  • Make provision for the use of third-party managed accounts.

Simon Blandy, director of regulatory standards said the changes would provide 'greater clarity for CLC lawyers and practices, making sure there is a clear focus on the real risks to client money'. 

The CLC aims to complete its review in July with the changes coming into force in January next year, subject to approval by the Legal Service Board.