The process of buying or selling a property has, for years followed a well-trodden path that required clients to attend the offices of the law firm they had instructed to present various original identification documents, to have their face compared to their passport photo, akin to the border guards when going on holiday, and having to sign documents by hand, in person. The process of conveyancing as we all know is stressful enough, and that is before having to carve out the required time to attend the offices (during working hours) to complete these now considered onerous client on boarding processes.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic the conveyancing sector was largely starting to look at ways of changing the client onboarding journey described above and adapt to the new type of client that was instructing them to assist with their conveyancing whilst balancing the strict regulatory obligations placed on them by the Money Laundering Regulations. Clients are now (in the main) fully embracing of technology in their everyday lives, and, as such their tolerance to the old way of doing things is no longer acceptable. Many clients now have the expectation that things should be done quickly, and conveniently. With a generation of smartphone users, and the progression of technology the argument is that almost anything you need to do should be done with your phone.
There was a slow up take on new solutions entering the market, with many firms happy to maintain the status quo and not have to invest money into back-office functions (if it’s not broken does it need fixing?). One of the big advancements we saw was the ability for clients to complete their ID checks remotely, and for law firms the comfort that those documents would be verified by a trusted third party using biometric scanning. Not only was the solution more convenient, it was also more robust than just taking a copy and visually checking the identify documents.
A big reason which continues to put firms off modernising their processes is the investment required to integrate these new ways with the infrastructure in place. Firms wanting to invest in these efficiencies and adapt their processes to the changing type of client need to proactively invest in the technology, at their own cost, which puts a lot off, particularly given the other cost pressures most law firms find themselves under with increasing insurance prices.
With the outbreak of Covid-19, and the sudden nationwide restrictions imposed, even the simplest task of attending a solicitor’s office to present your documents became an impossibility. This was instrumental in the advancement of these technological solutions, and something Movus worked hard on to adapt their processes to the changing circumstances, but we also saw this as an opportunity to improve the overall experience for clients, whilst recognising the expectations of its changing client base. Through this direct investment Movus now have a client focused and easy to follow on boarding journey that allows the clients to upload various documents and other material related to their transaction, at a time that suits them, from the ease of their own home. It also balances our duties to ensure that all the regulatory checks are completed, and that information is independently verified. One such example of this solution is the introduction of Electronic Identification checks, which are run in partnership with our software provider (Infotrack) that allows a client to securely upload their ID documents. Using this known and trusted stakeholder also provides the client with reassurance of how their personal information is treated, and more importantly securely stored. In addition to this, the client is able to provide other supporting material to help evidence their source of funds, which again can see the overall process shorten as this is all automatically provided and checked.
Movus, with their investment and looking towards the future have this all now contained and accessed via an app that was developed exclusively for Movus, and which allows clients to keep track of their transaction, allow for much greater visibility on their matter with updates provided, and can be accessed at any time convenient to the client, and from the comfort of their own personal device.