The era of open banking has arrived 

Compli Image
LAST WORDS - Scott Reece, Head of IT Services at X-Press Legal Services

At The Law Society’s National Conference in October, Peter Rodd, Chief Assessor for the Conveyancing Quality Scheme, told the 11% of firms who said they have not undergone a recent audit of  practice-wide risk assessment for anti-money laundering, to get an audit done. 

He also called on the 29% of firms who are not Cyber Essentials- or CyberEssentials Plus-certified to reconsider.  ‘The risk [of cyber-crime] is substantial,’ said Rodd. A change is on the horizon and The Law Society is now emphasising the message that X-Press has been passing out to law firms through our continuing professional development (CPD) programmes for many years. 

Let’s take for example, Source of Funds at the beginning of every conveyancing transaction. It is still believed by many law firms that verbal or written statements accompanied by printed bank statements are sufficient forms of evidence.  They are not.

It is important that the legal sector becomes familiar with open banking for Source of Funds checks.  Not only does this help prevent money-laundering, it also helps establish the provenance of the particular funds for use in a transaction. Using a blended approach and utilising this new technology is proven to reduce the amount of time that is spent compiling this information. 

At X-Press, we work with numerous suppliers to provide legal firms with a choice of Source of Funds products to suit transactions of varying complexities and property types.  These tools are simple to use, secure and incredibly accurate in the evidence they provide.  And, as a Cyber Essentials Plus certified firm ourselves, we only partner with suppliers who match our commitment to online security.

Source of Funds tools have become incredibly sophisticated over recent years and can be worked into firm’s existing workflows.  The latest products are all incredibly easy to use, helping conveyancers streamline documentation collection by swiftly providing data, answers and evidence through open banking.  Such tools are transforming the convoluted process of conducting manual checks and provide conveyancers with the armour they need to protect themselves against money laundering and non-compliance. 

Source of Funds products help legal firms meet and prove their compliance responsibilities while also saving conveyancers a lot of time and money.   The use of open banking enables faster, accurate decisions that contribute to speeding up the transaction process.  If your firm isn’t using a Source of Funds tool, it may be the right time to reassess your current process. It could be the difference between passing that SRA audit or not. 

I highly recommend booking your firm in for an annual compliance audit.  Think of Cyber Essentials and practice wide AML assessments as an MOT for your firm that will enable you to keep the conveyancing engine running smoothly.  And open banking is the upgrade your Sat Nav needs to ensure you are always heading in the right direction!