Best Practice for Digital Client Onboarding in Conveyancing
16 October 2022 – London
By Mev Dzihic – CTO at Verify 365
Conveyancing, the legal transfer of a property to one person from another. But who are the “front-line soldiers” that carry out this gruelling? Real estate lawyers, or as we call them in England, conveyancers.
Property law, or conveyancing, is one of the riskiest areas of the legal profession due to the amount of money conveyancers deal with. It’s also a risky area because unlike other areas, like immigration or family law, partners, cashiers and even conveyancers themselves, have access to the client account, and although no one would be tempted to risk their job for fraud, there have been many instances where caution is thrown to the wind when that client account has seven zeros in it.
Because of the inherent riskiness of conveyancing, the SRA and comparable regulators like the CLC, have put in strict AML and client-due-diligence checks which are important for ensuring money isn’t laundered and that all money used in transactions is clean. Except in London, but we won’t go into that maze of contradictions and Middle Eastern and Russian money flowing through London law firms.
The AML regulations have created a system whereby lawyers go through a manual checking process when taking on new clients. They have to manually verify clients, or in some cases use an outdated system which they believe to be compliant, which in fact isn’t. For example, they will mail a client care pack in the hope is it is received and sent back quickly enough for the whole matter not to be slowed down and then comes the payment on account. Then there’s the chasing of a client to put some money in the client account so the matter can ‘officially’ start, which adds to the pain that a client goes through when trying to work with a typical conveyancer.
If your client is going through a painful experience, then as conveyancers you must ask yourself:
“What can I do to make my client’s experience smooth, enjoyable, professional, and most importantly quicker?”
Well, the simple answer is a digital client onboarding system that automates all of this and allows a conveyancer do request everything they need to in a couple of clicks.
This ‘ideal’, ‘perfect’, ‘too good to be true’ system fortunately exists, and it’s called Verify 365.
Verify 365 has been helping conveyancers up and down the country streamline their client onboarding procedures and making firms more efficient, automated, and helping them drive more clients per month, so increasing billing and revenue.
What is Verify 365 eIDV & AML verification platform?
The first thing any client onboarding solution needs to have is a market leading AML solution. If you’re a conveyancer, conveyancing firm or conveyancing department that still asks clients to verify themselves through Teams, Zoom, or through some web-based AML solution where you must manually input data, then remember that you’re living in the stone age.
The ‘perfect’ client onboarding solution for conveyancers would be a system where you input your client’s name, email and mobile number, and simply choose what verifications to run and that’s it, a simple 10-seconds job.
The client will the receive a text message and complete their ID/AML verification in the comfort of their home or on the go.
The key point being that we aren’t restricting them or forcing them to take time off work to come to your office and for your receptionist to verify their documents.
Once the remote, app-based verification is complete, the client onboarding solution should then deliver all this glorious ID/AML data in a single “source of truth’ document that can be easily read and understood in seconds.
Not only this, but the system should ensure that you’re compliant with all the various, and sometimes confusing, regulations that you must comply with. This includes the SRA’s enhanced due diligence on clients, HM Land Registry’s Digital ID Standard – Safe Harbour, the UK GDPR, Lexcel, CQS, etc.
The AML portion a client goes through is a small but important aspect.
But don’t make the process unnecessarily long, confusing and manual when you can automate it, streamline it, and save you and your client a headache.
What are Qualified Electronic Signatures from Verify 365?
So, as a conveyancer, you’ve passed the point where you can confirm the client is who they say they are and you’re happy with their finances.
Now you’ve got to get your client to sign you Client Care Pack (which includes your engagement letter and terms of business) so that you can officially start the matter.
If you’re ‘old school’ you’ll print of the 50-odd pages that make up your client care pack, terms of business, various forms to sign, etc, and few more miscellaneous documents that you usually post to new clients. In a few days, they then receive this and then call you in two weeks asking how the matter is progressing only for you to find out that you’re still waiting for the signed documents to be sent back to you. You’ve not started – as you didn’t get your signed engagement letter back. This is when things usually get messy. Every time.
Now the client is annoyed with you, because you, in their eyes, have wasted time and you’re disappointed with them, though you can’t say this, because it was them that forgot to send the documents back.
But imagine if this issue could be avoided, through a single, unified conveyancing client onboarding journey.
Better yet, imagine if this solution could send your client care pack electronically, and ensure it was your client signing them. Instantly. Automatically. Done in minutes.
The Land Registry have recently released their Digital ID Standard for AML verifications and will soon be releasing a new standard for electronically signed documents.
This new framework sets out the procedure for ‘Qualified Electronic Signatures’, or QES.
A truly great conveyancing client onboarding solution must ensure that it was indeed your client signing the document intended for them and not some sort of lookalike hacker. And that’s exactly what Verify 365 does. If you use Verify 365, your client’s signed documents will then be delivered back to you in seconds. Why? Because we have built a solution that enables this. And because time is money! Especially for conveyancers and the quicker we can speed up processes, especially the client onboarding process, then the more time conveyancers have for more work.
How can Verify 365 be used for Initial Payment on Account?
So, by now we are sure that you are convinced to use Verify 365, however you still need to ensure you can collect funds on account quickly. Why? The problems usually arise when your client doesn’t put any money on account. They haven’t added that £500 or £1,000 or £1,500 you asked to be paid into the client account, so you cannot start the work.
A great client onboarding solution should incorporate this along with AML verifications and QES. Why? Because this is part of the client journey, and a client onboarding system that cannot help at every moment of that journey isn’t much of a system. And guess what? Verify 365 does this. It does it perfectly, better than any of our competitors.
A system designed for conveyancers should make it very easy to get clients to pay during initial onboarding.
As a conveyancer you can log into Verify 365 dashboard which incorporates all the aspects mentioned above, along with payments, choose how much you client should pay, what they’re paying, send this automatically to them and allow them to then pay this immediately. Your law firm will get the money quicker which is great for cash flow. But just as great is the fact that your client’s matter can now be started on without any further delay.
Verify 365 is the Perfect Client Onboarding Solution for Conveyancers
For conveyancers, speed, time, efficiency, and automation is key. Whether you do 20 hours of work on a conveyancing matter or 100 hours if you’ve charged a fixed fee, there is little scope to charging your clients extra. So, you must make sure that the processes that can be automated are automated, as highlighted above, during the client onboarding process.
A system like Verify 365, which combines biometric ID verification, AML checks, address checks, QES, and Payment on Account, is designed to make the life of a conveyancer easier.
Through market-leading automation and speed, our solution means that you will remain compliant and be able to increase the rate of client onboarding. The result? More clients, higher revenue, and greater profit margin!
The choice is yours. You could go for a series of stand-alone outdated systems that do this all separately, or you could implement one market-leading “unified” client onboarding solution, like Verify 365, which will ensure you stay compliant and more profitable.
If your law firm is looking for a digital client onboarding solution specifically developed for SRA regulated solicitors firms in England and Wales, please visit www.verify365.app.
16 October 2022 – London