Sunday, 8 January 2012

Law Society spin Drs kick into gear in response to HSBC panel pruning

Last Friday HSBC launched the latest attack in war against the majority of conveyancing solicitors by announcing a limited a panel of 43 firms to handle its mortgage work, which customers will not be obliged to use as well – but it will be much cheaper if they do.

The Law Society have used the point that all the solicitors on the panel are members of the Law Society’s Conveyancing Quality Scheme to spin the news in their favour. The Law Society Gazette headline reads “Quality hallmark for HSBC’s conveyancing mini-panel.”

The fact remains though that if HSBC attached any real value to CQS surely they would limited their panel to all CQS firms. This news could result in significant drop off in firms reapplying for accreditation.

The HSBC conveyancing panel is not closed and others can apply to join. HSBC has 5% of the UK’s mortgage market. It introduced the new panel in response to the Financial Service Authority’s recommendations for tackling mortgage fraud.

Sole practitioners , who might be forgiven for having a persecution complex, are particularly likely to be hit by this news. It will be interesting to find out how many of the 43 firms are sole practitioners. I suspect that it is round number.

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