Legal professionals attending SearchFlow’s risk management and compliance seminars were unanimous in urging lenders to adopt a single rationalised panel validation system.
When asked how best the profession could ensure lenders keep their panels open, every single delegate backed the creation an independent national database of validated solicitors and licensed conveyancers.
In response to recent legislative changes, SearchFlow, the electronic conveyancing search service, hosted the seminars in order to highlight the latest developments in risk management and compliance in the property transaction. They were attended by over 200 legal professionals from Leeds, Southampton, and London.
Alongside developments in lender panels and the role of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, delegates took part in sessions on common pitfalls in compliance rules and changes in flood risk requirements among others.
Looking forward to 2013 and to the areas expected to see the largest increase in client demand, the majority of delegates expect to see a significant rise in flood searches (57%), more double those expecting to see more planning searches (28%) and ahead of those predicting a rise in environmental searches (42%).
Delegates were also asked if the recent legislative changes had prompted them to join or if they are now planning to join an organisation designed to promote their collective interests. Around 10% said they had, with around 5% saying they were considering it, but the vast majority (85%) said they hadn’t and were not thinking about it.
When looking at how much business currently comes to law firms through instructions from ‘panel management’ companies, around 5% of delegates said a minority of their business was sourced from third-party panel managers, with the rest (95%) saying none of their business came via this route.
Richard Hinton, business development director of SearchFlow, said: “SearchFlow remains committed to ensuring best practice in the property transaction and the seminar series was designed to deliver all the information needed to run a successful business and to give the homebuyer peace of mind.
“The two big buzz words in the property industry at the moment are ‘risk’ and ‘compliance’. Keeping up with legislative changes and requirements is a challenge for everyone, and there is a huge demand for information on how people are affected.
“The most pressing issue for the industry remains lender panel validation. And the feeling is clearly that a single, rationalised panel validation system would be the best solution for all parties.”