Synchronisation: the next step in digitalising conveyancing?

The word innovation has undoubtedly become a buzzword over the course of the last few years, particularly in the property sector which, thanks to a whole host of moving parts, has found it trickier to modernise at times.

This is purely a consequence of the complex nature of any property purchase – while stakeholders want to put the borrower at the heart of the conveyancing journey, and want the technology to help them get there, the siloed nature of it up until just a couple of years ago made this hard. Digitalisation was piecemeal – no wonder stakeholders were struggling to see its benefit.

But there has been a lot of work done by third-party tech providers like LMS to address this head on in collaboration with the industry stakeholders themselves. It is up to us to make the technology not only easy to adopt and accessible to all, but also completely end to end if we’re going to make the whole journey seamless.


The missing puzzle piece

One of the missing puzzle pieces is fund settlement. As it stands, the process of completing a transaction requires buyers, conveyancers and lenders all completing and pushing numerous payments at different times.

Law firms and lenders on both ends of the transaction have to do this process manually, releasing the funds and the asset, while ensuring they verify the details of each account to prevent fraud.

Synchronisation sets out to reduce transaction cost and risk and increase efficiency with settlement of funds and lodgement of title happening synchronously. It digitalises the work and communications between lenders, conveyancers and HM Land Registry, with ‘synchronisation operators’ working to release funds and the asset simultaneously when certain conditions are met.

Such a platform drives efficiency and customer centricity, as well as reducing fraud and removing settlement risk by minimising potential access points for scammers and only releasing funds to verified bank accounts.

Until now, digitalisation has been relatively siloed but synchronisation changes the game. It connects various different elements of the process, allowing all stakeholders to ‘talk’ to each other simultaneously without compromising the end borrower. In essence, it moves the industry away from vertical or siloed digitalisation and towards a completely joined-up, end-to-end journey as the industry steps into the next phase of digital maturity.

However, this is a completely new process for every stakeholder and is not yet ready for implementation. No one has all the answers yet when it comes to delivery, and the best thing the industry can do is come together to ensure buy-in at every stage of the process. For it to work, we need true collaboration between all parties but no one can embrace something they don’t know.

Change on this scale, especially when it involves huge sums of money that often make up a borrower’s biggest economic commitment, is scary.


Where do we go now?

This is the direction in which the industry is heading, but everyone must go on the journey together. It simply will not work if implementation is haphazard, or any one provider tries to strike out on their own – the reality is that there isn’t anyone who has the expertise on this yet: it is still in its infancy.

In order to ensure that everyone is pulling in the same direction, it will be essential to create a community for the industry that will facilitate discussions. At the same time, it will be important to continue investigating the potential of the technology, the best and most efficient ways to integrate it into the current conveyancing journey, and the full extent of the impact it can have.

This is something that LMS has been doing over the course of the past year in order to inform these conversations. Its synchronisation taskforce has been established for this very goal, helping the industry work together to embrace change.

As with the development of technology across the conveyancing journey, it is up to tech providers to make it seamless. Collaborating, listening and working with all the key stakeholders is the only practical way forward. Synchronisation is not the only development needed for the sector, but it is a big step in the move towards complete, end-to-end digital conveyancing.

We have to navigate this change and make the most of it, together.


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To find out more, you can listen to our forth episode of The LMS Podcast – Synchronisation