housing technology

Land Registry-backed simultaneous settlement platform unveiled

A brand-new digital synchronised settlement prototype promising to “bring fully digital property transactions a step closer” has been revealed.

The prototype is born of collaboration between the Bank of England (BoE), HM Land Registry (HMLR), Bank of International Settlements, and Coadjute.

The concept, which forms part of Project Meridian, proposes to reshape the way property payments are conducted, benefiting consumers, businesses, HMLR, and the wider property market.

Of course, other solutions looking to build better efficiency within the settlement process have been proposed: PEXA Pay, for example, is an established payment platform that has been live since last year, with a full sale and purchase offering expected next year.

Coadjute highlighted the Project Meridian prototype’s infrastructure and the public sector partnership as key features of their offering. A spokesperson told Today’s Conveyancer:

“The new infrastructure envisioned by the BoE involves a next generation payment system that earmarks the money and the title, locking them together from the start, and then exchanging them simultaneously. This has never been done before.

This is the first time the key public institutions involved – the Bank of England and the Land Registry – have worked together to explore a solution. Many conveyancers, banks, and industry observers believe that only with this type of public sector leadership will such a system gain mass adoption.”

Coadjute explained that the current reality of the completion process is complicated, manual, and at significant risk of fraud:

“The new approach used in the prototype announced today replaces the numerous manual steps and checks and avoids the exchanging of paper-based documents entirely, cutting the risk of fraud or transactions being delayed at the eleventh hour.”

They went on to make clear exactly how the prototype will work in practice, and how conveyancers will plug into it:

“The settlement prototype works by digitising the workflow between the commercial Banks, the Bank of England, and HM Land Registry.

Conveyancers connect to the service and send instructions which reserve funds. Then, at a pre-set date and time, the funds for that property transaction, or even for a whole chain of transactions, are moved in synchronisation. Immediately the funds are moved, digital deeds are issued, and instructions sent to HM Land Registry to update the register.”

John Reynolds, Project Director and COO at Coadjute, said:

“Settlement is particularly complex and can only be tackled through deep collaboration and partnership with the public sector. What the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub London Centre has done fantastically well here is create an open, innovative and collaborative environment for the public and private sector to work together to do just that.”

Dan Salmons, CEO at Coadjute, said:

“I’ve spent most of my working life leading payments innovations in Banks and FinTechs – I was there in the early days of contactless cards and mobile payments – so know first-hand what it looks like at the start of a genuine change to the way we all move money.

Few payments are more important than those for property, and the work the BoE, HMLR, Bank of International Settlements, and Coadjute have done to reimagine the settlement process is extraordinary. We look forward to seeing the impact this project will have on shaping the future of property transactions.”

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