Sunday, 24 March 2013

Risk management, compliance and technology

Risk management, compliance and technology. Every law firm will profess to address risk management and compliance, but not every firm does it well.  I have yet to find a law firm that states it does not care about risk, and forgets about compliance.  Firms may not have in the past called it risk management and compliance – but they have had processes from the ad-hoc to the mature.  What makes a mature risk and compliance approach – either at the departmental or firm-wide level – different from an immature approach is how the firm utilizes process, technology, and information. Technology makes risk and compliance and its individual components more effective, efficient, and agile.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

HSBC Solicitors Panel - Update to CML Handbook P2 change

Last night HSBC went against the grain of the current trend of increasing the number of documents to be sent to a lender on completion. The latest change which you can see by clicking here dispenses with the need to send the lender a signed blank stock transfer form or  Share Certificate if a requirement of the lease.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Revised CML minimum requirements on leases of roof space for solar PV panels

Back June 2011, the CML published guidance and a template letter setting out lenders’ minimum requirements regarding leases of roof space for the purpose of installing solar PV panels.

As of today the guidance and template letter and agreed a number of minor changes reflecting the practical experience of the lenders.

The guidance has been amended to provide extra information regarding the need for obtaining a mortgage lender’s consent for leases of roof space, and this is directed to members of the public considering lease agreements. There are also a number of minor amendments, designed to improve clarity on what the minimum requirements are and where they can be found.  The guidance also refers to re-mortgaging of properties with these types of leases.  Some of the content has been re-ordered for a better flow.

The changes to the template letter are designed mostly to help clarify existing requirements and improve the flow of the letter.  However, as a result of lender experience, there are a couple of amendments to note:

  • An amendment has been inserted to strengthen the confirmations regarding building insurance; and
  • A requirement has been inserted to require appropriate approvals/certification for the installation.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Small law firms more likely to be considered high risk by SRA

Large UK law firms are less likely than small ones to face interventions by the SRA according to an intervention agent working for the regulator.

Speaking at the recent Managing Partner’s annual Anti-money Laundering Compliance for Law Firms conference, Philip Barden, head of litigation and dispute resolution at Devonshires, said that small law firms were more vulnerable.

“A larger law firm is more likely to be able to persuade the regulator that its clients are not at risk,” said Barden, who has been an intervention agent for the SRA for ten years.

Ahead of the recent Blakemores intervention he predicted that there would likely be a “big increase” in the number of regulatory interventions in future, which have averaged at about 60 a year in the past ten years. So far in 2013 there are already eight firms in intensive supervision where intervention is highly probable and a further 48 where intervention is possible.

Enjoying ping pong

It's frankly impossible to have fun playing ping pong with someone who doesn't care, won't try or isn't any good (not that I am a good player)

The same thing is true of just about anything that matters where you have a partner or reseller to market your product.

For example working in partnership with an estate agency for conveyancing referrals ... If you're going to create something worth building, it's going to be because there's an infinite game going on, not merely blind obedience and tired conformity.

Last night I had a meeting with a leading solicitors PI insurance broker concerning a soon to be launched new risk and compliance software product ‘ClientCare Monitor’. At this meeting the brokers gave a lot of useful feedback and challenges. As a company we have to take a great deal of responsibility for creating this mutual enthusiasm and put the effort into creating an environment and a story where it's likely to happen.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

CML Handbook Changes likely to be prompted by Green Deal

Hot on the heals of my earlier blog relating to the conveyancing implications of the Green Deal the CML has outlined a number of issues where it sees potential problems.

Predictably, and no doubt wishing to be politically correct, the CML declares that lenders welcome measures to reduce household energy expenses, however funded. The initiative itself, however, raises questions around, for example, the impact on the value of the property, affordability and future saleability....something of course very dear to a lender’s heart.

Lenders are concerned with any changes or improvements made to a property, since they may have an impact on its value. The CML says that different lenders will have different approaches as to what constitutes a major change to the property and how much of an effect it may have on its value. If history is anything to go buy each lender is likely to take a different approach bringing further confusion to the conveyancing process.

Borrowers are generally obliged to obtain their lender’s consent for improvements that are likely to have a large impact on the property, such as solid wall insulation or amendments which can change the outward appearance of the property. Works likely to have less of an impact, such as replacement windows and doors, may not require consent. Chances are that Green Deal works may require consent.

It is extremely likely that within the next 6 months the CML will amend the Lenders’ Handbook to enable conveyancers acting for lenders to obtain information about the Green Deal commitments on a property. property lawyers should take advantage of LENDERmonitor to keep abreast of any changes.