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07 January 2021 00:00
‘HM Land Registry’s Safe Harbour Standard is good news for conveyancing’
UK - Mortgage Finance Gazette
Back in November, HM Land Registry unveiled a draft set of requirements to encourage digital identity checks in the conveyancing process and provide a ‘Safe Harbour’ for those law firms who use a digital ID provider that meets the Safe Harbour standard.
Those conveyancers who do use an ID provider which meets the standard won’t be pursued by HM Land Registry in any recourse claim against a conveyancer resulting from the registration of a fraudulent transaction, on the grounds that identity checks were inadequate.
It’s an important and timely development and, ultimately, good news for conveyancing. HM Land Registry carries enormous influence and this step will help give clarity to law firms, whilst helping to drive the industry towards a clear framework for using digital ID.
So what changes is HM Land Registry proposing and why?
Mortgage Finance Gazette
Will the surge in first-time home buyers lead the recovery in the property market?
South Africa - PropertyWheel
The property market has seen vacancies rise and values drop, in some cases by up to 30% during 2020 with an unexpected surge in activity in ‘entry level’ residential properties. Whilst the current prime interest rate of 7%, lower than it has been for more than fifty years, is undoubtedly one of the main drivers of this boom, it is unexpected in the circumstances that 2020 has produced and warrants attention.
Whilst the boom is widely acknowledged and welcomed it warrants unpacking the drivers of this demand and the implications this has for the economy in general.
“It became apparent that something in addition was going on with the volume of trade and the number of transactions taking place” says Dr Andrew Golding, Chief Executive of Pam Golding Properties. “For the first time in many decades, we are seeing an appetite for significantly younger potential home buyers who would have been renters for quite a few years”.
The changing world of compliance
UK - Today's Conveyancer
Welcome to 2021, few will be sorry to say goodbye to 2020 and even fewer will have seen their 2015-2020 5-year plan play out. It is important, nonetheless, to learn from the events of last year and the global pandemic. The Solicitors Regulation Authority Chair, Anna Bradley, speaking at the SRA compliance conference in late November 2020 stated ‘I really hope people don’t wake up [at the end of the pandemic] and say ‘right we can go back to the old way now’. That would be a travesty – we have been through such a difficult time and we really need to bag the benefits we’ve achieved and frankly we need to keep the pace of change up.’ However, with this pace of change comes changing compliance issues. Compliance issues that will put even more pressure on overstretched compliance officers, especially if those officers have spent more time on fee earning work and less on compliance duties.
One way to try and overcome such changing compliance challenges is to keep an eye on the horizon. The annual SRA risk outlook is a great piece of work discussing possible issues and challenges for the coming year. Paul Philip, SRA Chief Executive, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented real challenges for all of us and how we work. While it will take some time for the implications to be fully understood, it is already clear that the pandemic has also exacerbated many of the wider, day-to-day risks faced by law firms and their clients. While none of us can predict exactly what 2021 will bring, we know that by considering likely risks, identifying where they may be vulnerable and planning accordingly, firms can take preventative action. Our Risk Outlook helps firms to do that and I would encourage everyone to read it and take any necessary action’. The SRA risk outlook 2020-21 covers areas of the market landscape 2020-21, anti-money laundering, client money, diversity in the profession, information and cyber security, integrity and ethics, meeting legal needs and standards of service.