The SRA has published an update on the approval of compliance officers prior to an announcement to its Board today on the nominations process for COLPs and COFAs.
So far 98.5% (9744) of the firms expected to take part have completed the nominations process.
Enforcement action has commenced against 152 firms have not completed their nominations.
Of the firms who have completed the process 94% (9165) have been approved.
This leaves 579 unapproved firms. These firms have not been approved for a variety of reasons including declarations that have required further investigation, those who have failed to disclose suitability issues subsequently identified by the SRA and nominations that were made late.
Outstanding nominations are still being progressed by the SRA and firms will be notified as these are concluded. In most cases this will be by the end of January.
SRA Executive Director, Samantha Barrass, said: "In general, our strategy to achieve compliance by engaging with firms to actively seek alternative nominations, encourage completion of nominations and investigate issues that have been identified, has paid dividends.
“However, we are now at the stage where there are only a small proportion of outstanding approvals to be made and our focus will switch to proportionate enforcement action against those firms that have refused to nominate or otherwise failed to engage appropriately with the process.
"Enforcement action will be proportionate and will range from letters of advice, fines, rebukes, through to revocation of authorisation, and referral to the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal.”
The SRA will shortly be communicating with the COLP and COFA community to advise them on the processes it is putting in place to facilitate engagement with the Authority.
What does this mean for conveyancers? Is there any risk that you might be accepting undertaking from one of the 152 firms? What happens if they later have their license revoked?