Here at Today’s Conveyancer we try to pick things up in a timely manner so firstly an apology for not spotting this one sooner but we still think it will be an interesting read.
Precise Mortgages which launched its new buy to let mortgage lending brand on the 24th May has given detailed information on its site about it conveyancing panel. Precise Mortgages have a number of the ex Edeus lending team as their senior management team including Alan Cleary. The wealth of knowledge and experience they have in the mortgage sector is exceptional.
In a sad indictment to all conveyancers Precise have decided to limit their panel of approved conveyancers who are authorised to act for both the borrower and lender to only two firms. The Precise “Guide to Our Solicitor Panel” states that this is to “reduce the risk of potential fraud that we could be exposed to and to ensure that the quality of service to borrowers and intermediaries is kept to a very high standard”. This is a recurring theme with many lenders reducing their panel sizes and stating concern about the quality and risk associated with conveyancers.
Alan Cleary, Managing Director said ““We decided to limit the number of firms on our solicitors’ panel in an attempt to mitigate the risk of fraud arising from the use of an ‘open’ panel where the risk of collusion between fraud rings involving a number of professional firms (e.g. solicitors, valuers and brokers ) is greater. However, to be fair to our borrowers, they are free to use their own solicitor if they wish but either Shoosmiths or Goldsmith Williams must still act for us.”
The two firms appointed are Goldsmith Williams and Shoosmiths. Both firms conduct considerable volumes of work and are well respected. They have agreed a set of fees that they will act for the lender on and these fees are published within the Guide. If the borrower wishes the firms will act at no additional cost for the borrower.
All completion advances will be handled by the panel firms.
Where a purchaser is also selling a property the fees for the sale will be agreed between the borrower and the acting conveyancing panel firm.
Given the woes that we hear from many conveyancers about the challenges they face with other firms it seems that Precise has taken a policy that is entirely rational and one that may be followed by other lenders. How long will conveyancers and the SRA continue to allow firms on the other side to manage risk and controls in a way that induces a lender to reduce its panel to avoid fraud?