We have published a Practice Note highlighting the changes introduced by the Money Laundering Regulations 2017. The legal sector regulators will be publishing shortly joint AML guidance in draft form which is subject to approval by HM Treasury.
On 20 July, HM Treasury published a consultation Anti-money laundering supervisory review which closes on 16 August 2017. This asks for views on the draft Regulations for the AML oversight body, Office for Professional Body AML Supervision (OPBAS).
We encourage CLC practices to respond in particular to Questions 2-5 at Annex A which ask about the resources regulated businesses dedicate to AML compliance.
HSBC has announced that its panel management services will in future be provided by LMS.
All CLC regulated firms will continue to be able to act for HSBC as now. SRA regulated firms must additionally hold a CQS accreditation.
HSBC has issued a statement with useful information about the transition to the new arrangements.
The CLC very much welcomes the government’s consultation on tackling unfair practices in the leasehold market. We encourage CLC firms to read and respond to that consultation. (Read more)
The use of leasehold for new build properties that do not require a leasehold ownership arrangement seems to be another manifestation of what has been described as the ‘broken housing market’. It is not yet clear why housebuilders began to use leasehold arrangements in the last decade, but it is clear that it was a novel approach that was neither explained nor widely understood as it began to be used.
All players in the housing market have a part to play in making it work for everyone. This begins with the housebuilders or estate agents, who should be clear with their customers about the details of the house they are considering buying and later the surveyors who are confirming the valuation of the property.
Our expectations of the specialist conveyancers that we regulate are set out in our Code of Conduct. We require the conveyancer to act in the best interests of clients – this includes the lender when the conveyancer is also acting for them – providing good quality, independent information, representation and advice.
We have launched a consultation on sanctions guidance that will help the Adjudication Panel, ensuring consistency and a common view of the appropriate level of sanction in different cases.
Join our lunchtime webinar on 5th September with MoL, one of the new education providers for CLC qualifications.
The webinar will be useful for firms thinking of putting staff through the qualification as well as for individuals looking to become a fully-qualified lawyer themselves.
The CLC is pleased that the SRA has decided to remove a barrier that has prevented lawyers from exercising their right to choose the most appropriate regulator for their business. The CLC’s regulation of specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers delivers high standards of consumer protection and supports innovation in the delivery of legal services.
The freedom to choose regulator was created by the Legal Services Act 2007 but was not a practical option for SRA-regulated firms because of the SRA’s requirement that a firm transferring to another regulator should take out run-off professional indemnity insurance cover as if it was closing. This made transfer between regulators prohibitively expensive. Now that requirement will be lifted, subject to approval by the Legal Services Board, by 1st October 2017.
We are already working with a number of firms who have been waiting for this announcement from the SRA. Any other firm considering moving into the CLC’s regime for specialist conveyancing and probate lawyers should contact us as soon as they begin to think about the possibility.
We always advise firms to discuss their plans with us at an early stage so that we can give them guidance about the best way to take their application forward and whether CLC regulation is right for their firm. This is just as important for established firms looking to move between regulators as for start-ups just entering the market.
In June we published our action plan in response to recommendations from the Competition and Markets Authority.
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