In December 2012, we published our review of the regulation of conveyancing services in England and Wales, particularly around mortgage fraud. This found that although there are clear risks in conveyancing, there is evidence that the regulators and others are taking steps to reduce the risks for consumers. The review made a number of recommendations designed to help the regulators (and future regulators) shape their regulatory approach. These are:
- The costs and benefits of holding client money need to be carefully assessed. The costs should include the costs of compensation arrangements (including contributions to a fund, the cost of maintaining and administering a fund and the opportunity cost of having a fund) and compliance with regulatory arrangements
- Alternatives to legal services providers holding client money should be explored
- Regulators should consider whether their client money rules are proportionate
- Regulators should develop a better understanding of the conveyancing services market(s) using the Oxera framework developed for the LSB and target their regulation accordingly
- Consideration should be given to the current training requirements, particularly ongoing professional development. Regulators should consider whether each provider has an appropriately trained and skilled workforce rather than if particular individuals have done a certain number of hours of training a year
- As new insurance products become available, regulators should keep under review whether the design of their professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements is optimal and
- Regulators should track and respond to new trends in the market and monitor changing risks for consumers and wider systemic risks.