New legislation in Victoria from October 1 sees conveyancers having to use electronic lodgment systems and not everyone is comfortable with it. Lee Bailie discusses the challenges ahead.
Kevin: Well, technology takes us on an incredible journey and it just marches so quickly. Effective from October one, practitioners in Victoria, these are conveyancers, much launch certain conveyancing transactions using electronic lodgment network. Now, we’ve spoken about this in the show in the past, but legislation requires for practitioners to really get up-skilled very, very quickly. It brings along a challenge, I guess, for people who’ve been around for quite some time seeing how this is all changing.
Kevin: Joining me to talk about this, Lee Bailie. Lee is the general manager of product and innovation at InfoTrack and they have just launched Settle It. S-E-T-T-L-E-I-T. Very clever name Lee, and welcome to the show and thanks for your time.
Lee: Thanks Kevin, nice to be back and chat to you again.
Kevin: Yes, tell me what concerns are there around this … Has the industry, and I’m talking here about conveyancers, your clients, how are they reacting to this?
Lee: So, it is a challenging environment for a lot of the conveyancers and in Victoria where the first of October mandating came into effect, they are seeing some of the biggest challenges with regards to the, I guess the day to day activities of their business and their staff.
Lee: What we’re trying to do at InfoTrack Is assist them with that by providing them a solution which is essentially called Settle It, as you outlined. What Settle It does is enables them to continue the normal course of their business and the engagement with their clients and providing the professional service that they do, but actually outsource that challenging end of the transaction to us where we’re able to assist them with that settlement process, very similar to what we’ve been able to do today through our manual services.
Lee: Being able to move from outsourcing your settlement business to a settlement agent, which a lot of our conveyancers have done for a number of years, to now having to do it themselves in a workspace that they’re not used to, that they haven’t been able to use or sometimes get the requirements and the training requirements has been very concerning for quite a few of them.
Lee: To a degree, we’re seeing in the market some of them are actually considering not doing conveyancing anymore and then to some degree, that means some of them are actually considering closing up shop.
Kevin: So to keep this in perspective. How big is your business? In other words, how many clients do you have? Let’s move out of Victoria, because I know you’re in New South Wales as well and soon to be in Queensland. How many clients are you dealing with and what number of transactions are you settling a year?
Lee: So, InfoTrack currently deals with clients all over the country in Australia. We’ve got about 7,500 legal and conveyancing clients to which we provide services from ordering searches and titles and certificates and property inquiries all the way through to settlement services. Last year financially we probably settled just over 200,000 property settlements and we want to continue to provide that service to our clients in a manner of which they want to receive it.
Kevin: And once again, just to clarify your clients are conveyancers and solicitors. How would consumers? Will consumers see Settle It at all or will they be impacted in any way?
Lee: Not from our point of view. Our Settle It service is purely for the conveyancing and the legal practitioners who operate in the conveyancing space. Where I do think it will assist consumers is that hopefully some of the feedback we’ve got from some of our users of Settle It, it’s enabled them to re-prioritize staff to be on the client facing side. When I say that, I mean from our clients, the conveyancer when speaking to the consumer and they’ve been able to pass over that more administration and processed based work to ourselves to be able to provide the settlement process.
Lee: Hopefully, what we’re able to see is that the consumer gets a better quality of service, is able to have more open channels of communication whilst the conveyancer is able to actually move some of that work that they find quite challenging at times through different mechanisms and also a very administration based process, they’re able to hand that across to InfoTrack.
Kevin: All the research I’m seeing about consumer sentiment and how they’re wanting to be dealt with is that they want speed and they want transparency and they want to have a better contact or a better feel for the transaction. It seems to me that this delivers on all of those fronts, Lee.
Lee: Absolutely, Kevin. And you know, currently we are completing road shows around the country and we’re actually out talking to our conveyancing clients and we are getting exactly that feedback. The consumers expecting the opportunity to be able to access technology, the opportunity to be able to get a seamless transaction and that transparency, and what we have endeavoured to do with Settle It is provide that solution to our clients to enable our clients to speak to the consumer in real time at a quicker pace, provide them with more information and at the end of the day, this is a particularly stressful period of time for most consumers, buying and selling property. They only go through it every five to seven years, and so the more information we can give our clients, the better informed they can be when they’re speaking with the consumer.
Kevin: Great to hear, and good product called Settle It. You as a consumer might not come across it, but certainly you can ask your solicitor or your conveyancer about it, and I’ve been talking to Lee Bailie who is the general manager product and innovation with InfoTrack, and they’re behind Settle It. Always good talking to you, Lee. Thanks very much for your time.
Lee: Cheers Kevin, thanks a lot.