Newsletter December 2016
January conference for Managers of CLC Firms
If you are a manager of a CLC-regulated firm, whether you are a lawyer or not, join us on 25th January 2017 for a half-day conference at our office in London.
The governing Council of the CLC will be reporting back on 2016 and looking ahead to the challenges and opportunities of 2017.
Key CLC staff will also lead discussions on topics including proposed changes to the Accounts Code, Continuing Professional Development, and price transparency of legal services as well as consumer feedback and engagement.
It’s a great chance to find out more, put your questions and help shape the future policy of the CLC.
First Direct Mortgage Panel
First Direct has informed us that their mortgage panel is now open to Licensed Conveyancers on the same basis as solicitor firms that are members of CQS.
Transaction value limits are as follows:
- Sole practitioners: up to £350,000
- Two-partner firms: up to £2m
- Four-partner firms: up to £3m
Separate legal representation is required for all cases of £3m and above.
First Direct have automatically added all CLC-regulated firms to their panel using information provided by the CLC, including the number of partners, so please do not contact First Direct. The CLC will keep First Direct informed of any change to your firm.
Increased online protection for CLC firms and their clients
All conveyancers are aware of the risks of fraud to their clients and their businesses. Firms can be impersonated online, in emails or on the telephone.
To address one of these risks, the CLC is establishing a scheme for the firms that it regulates. It will significantly reduce the risk of impersonation online through cloned or copied websites and will stop fraudsters setting up fake firms that claim to be regulated by the CLC.
The scheme will provide consumers with confidence that the website they have found is for a firm that is regulated by the CLC.
FIND OUT MORE
SDLT guidance amended
HMRC has issued revised guidance on SDLT for additional property. There are a number of new examples at Chapter 9 of the guidance. It is easy to identify the new paragraphs, which cover changes made to legislation, because they have a letter after the number (e.g. 2.10A).
READ THE REVISED GUIDANCE
Property Alert Service from the Land Registry
Don’t forget to have your clients sign up to the Property Alert Service from the Land Registry.
The service helps people to detect fraudulent activity on their property by sending them email alerts when there is certain activity on the property being monitored, such as a mortgage being taken out against it. The recipient can then decide whether they think the activity is suspicious and act quickly if so. The alert email tells them who to contact should they be concerned.
FIND OUT MORE
We have launched a consultation on a new approach to CPD for CLC-regulated lawyers.
The new approach moves away from a prescribed number of hours of CPD each year to an outcome based approach which concentrates on the impact of a CLC Lawyer’s learning and their ability to provide a competent service.
This approach makes each CLC Lawyer responsible for deciding the scope and volume of CPD that they should carry out.
FIND OUT MORE
DOWNLOAD THE CONSULTATION DOCUMENT
RESPOND TO THE CONSULTATION
Annual Regulatory Return Analysis
We are grateful to everyone who provided us with information as part of our Annual Regulatory Return. The analysis has now been published and provides valuable insight into the community we regulate. It will help us to improve and target our work and provide a great deal of information for those studying the legal services market. The report covers a wide range of topics, but from a practitioner’s perspective, the section about the pricing of services may be of particular interest.
FIND OUT MORE
Business Plan 2017
We have also published our business plan for the coming year. We are looking to build on the very significant advances the CLC has made in the past three years. Following the successful reform of professional indemnity insurance that enhanced consumer protection and reduced the burden on firms, and the 20% cut in entity fee rates. In 2017 we will complete our comprehensive review of the Handbook with the same objectives in mind of ensuring regulation is risk-based and targeted to protect consumers while keeping the burden on legal services providers to the appropriate minimum. We are anxious to ensure that we have in place the best possible framework so that your practices can serve clients better and meet the challenges of the coming years.
READ THE CLC BUSINESS PLAN FOR 2017
Fraud: Be aware
The last few months have happily seen a fall in the number of attempted frauds that have been reported to the CLC. However as the property market is traditionally very busy in the run up to the festive period, it is important that everyone remains vigilant to fraud, and is aware of a new email scam that has come to our attention.
The last 12 months have seen instances of clients’ or practices’ emails being intercepted and fraudulent emails being sent asking for deposits or purchase monies to be sent to fraudsters’ accounts.
Most CLC-regulated practices now advise clients
- that they do NOT send out client account details via email
- that they will NOT change their client account details, and
- that clients should advise the practice immediately if they receive any unusual request.
TAKE SOME TIME TO USE THE RESOURCES ON OUR WEBSITE TO HELP YOUR FIRM AVOID FRAUD.
New Email Scam
We have seen a new scam in which the client receives an email, purporting to be from their estate agent, asking for the deposit monies to be paid to a bogus account.
This is a slight variation on themes seen in the past, with the estate agent now being directly targeted and implemented, rather than the conveyancer. The CLC urges practices to be alert to such scams and to consider the following steps:
- Advise clients to remain vigilant to unusual emails or correspondence during the transaction.
- If expected deposit or other funds are not received then contact the client immediately.
The CLC-regulated community is asked to remain vigilant to this and any other scams, and to keep the CLC informed of any instances via your Regulatory Supervision Manager, Nicola Anthony, firstname.lastname@example.org, or John Hosie, email@example.com.
Webinar on fraud
Many of you took part in our webinar yesterday Fraud: Breach of Trust and Breach of Warranty of Authority - implications for conveyancers.
If you missed it, the recording is now available to WATCH ON DEMAND.
You can also DOWNLOAD THE SLIDES.
WATCH OTHER PAST CLC WEBINARS
Could you work with the CLC?
We’re looking for someone with conveyancing experience to join our team of Regulatory Supervision Managers. It is a fascinating and rewarding role maintaining standards in the profession, protecting consumers and supporting innovation, based at our London offices with travel across England and Wales.
FIND OUT MORE