Are you ensuring the safety and security of your client’s money? Are you the COLP for your law firm?

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17 June 2014

Whether you answer yes or not to these questions, it is irrelevant. We just wanted to get your attention. Got it? Great!

Consider this; does the structure and risk regimen of your conveyancing department include an effective and efficient way of checking and ensuring that client money is sent to a legitimate recipient?

You may answer; ‘we only deal with conveyancers that we know’, ‘we do enough checks of our own’ or even ‘The risk is too small’.

These answers unfortunately could be the failing of your conveyancing department.  Consider our top ten facts on vendor conveyancer fraud:

  1. 1.      549 reports of bogus firms to the SRA in 2013 – representing a rise of 57 % in attempted fraudulent activity through the use of bogus law firms.
  2. 2.      103 warnings issued in 2013 by the SRA a massive increase on the figure of only 22 in 2012.
  3. 3.      46% of mortgage lenders agree that controlled processes are the way forward for the reduction of risk of vendor conveyancer fraud.
  4. 4.      Almost 40% of lenders perceive solicitor negligence to be the biggest risk to their money.
  5. 5.      Of the Professional Indemnity Insurance claims made against solicitors, 70% of these relate to property transactions according to independent insurance brokers Lockton Companies.
  6. 6.      92% of lenders think that data sharing, transparency and controlled processes are major drivers to help reduce the risk of fraud in property transactions. .
  7. 7.      Only 15% of those lenders asked felt that solicitors and conveyancers are making big improvements to prevent fraud.
  8. 8.      RA Legal v Santander – changed the face of s61 relief for Conveyancers – lenders will expect conveyancers to be more diligent than ever before.  The burden of proof still lies with the legal profession – how do YOU prove your department and its fee earners have acted reasonably and honestly?
  9. 9.      SRA call waiting times can be high – do you want your fee earner stuck on the end of the phone using valuable billing time when a Lawyer Checker check can be performed? An average waiting time in the final quarter of 2013 was 1 minute 43 seconds – not helping the profession manage risk.
  10. 10.  As many as 63% of small businesses were attacked by an unauthorised outsider in 2013.

*Sources: TM Group White Paper, SRA call waiting times obtained by Freedom of information request, Spiders in the Web report issued by SRA – April 2014.

How do you manage your risk? With the age of face to face dealings with fellow law professionals dwindling and with the 2014 property market feeling buoyant, there is a £600million opportunity out there for the fraudsters – don’t let your client become a victim. Implement Lawyer Checker today call 0845 835 4666 for your FREE trial of 3 free searches for the inclusive months of June and July*.

What do you have to lose? Ah yes, just potentially all of your client’s money….

*Please note that this offer ends 31.7.14 and there can be no free searches carried out after this date.

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I visit a lot of different businesses in the course of my job – both law firms and other types of organisations. This gives me a unique opportunity to compare how the legal sector is shaping up against the commercial world in how they welcome visitors to their business, and it’s fair to say that those that go the extra mile certainly stand out.

October 21st, 2016