Our time in the sun

Our recent AGM and Legal Member/All-Member meetings brought together a range of stakeholders and the packed room at the House of Commons proved that the conveyancing market certainly has no issues in terms of sharing best practice and wanting to work within a collaborative environment.

At the start of the AGM I talked about how, in all the industries and sectors I have worked within, at some point they have their ‘moment in the sun’ – that is their time when they come under scrutiny or there is a significant change taking place. I often think that, it’s at times like these that you see the true stature of the industry in terms of how it reacts, and perhaps you also see the quality of its trade association in being able to lead the debate and present the required solutions.

Having been in my role at the CA for almost a year I think I’ve got a feel for the market and, it seems to me, that this is undoubtedly the ‘moment in the sun’ period for the conveyancing sector and 2019 in particular is likely to set the foundation for how the market will play out in years to come.

In that sense, the work that we are currently undertaking, the significant support of our membership – both firms and affiliates – and how other groups such as the Conveyancing Task Force (CTF) and the Home Buying & Selling Group (HBSG) are pushing the agenda and working with the regulators and Government to ensure we have a homebuying/selling process to be proud of, is a strong indication of what I believe is likely to be a very positive future.

As mentioned, this is a year which is likely to bring fundamental change and set the foundations for our future marketplace. The Government is committed to delivering better outcomes for consumers in this area, cutting back significantly on the thousands upon thousands of aborted transactions which take up such huge amounts of resource and end up wasting millions of pounds.

Even with all the political turmoil going on, there is a huge amount of political capital invested in this process and there is a dedicated team at the MHCLG which will continue to work hard in this area in order to deliver on the Government’s aims. Our aims as an association – working on behalf of our members and the industry at large – is to ensure that the solutions it seeks to put in place are not just right for the end consumer but that any change fits in with the business of conveyancing.

Again, it is heartening to see the industry – via the CTF and HBSG – if not always speaking with one voice then certainly very close to it. And in high-profile areas such as leasehold, a move towards commonhold, the provision of greater upfront information, potentially the use of reservation agreements, and the moves in this market by numerous PropTech businesses who wish to ‘revolutionise’ the sector, there is plenty of work for us to do.

However, we have the expertise and the commitment to do this. Our Policy & Strategy Board is heavily involved in this, often very detailed, work; we have a first-class business network within the CA with an active membership willing to help, and this source of technical help is a constant benefit to us at the Association.

So, at the AGM while I pointed out there was lot on the boil so to speak, and therefore a lot that could go wrong, I believe not only is it up to us to make sure it doesn’t but that we have everything we need within the CA, and the industry as a whole, to make sure the vast majority of the change goes right.

Paul Smee is Non-Executive Chair of the Conveyancing Association (CA)




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