First Direct Conveyancing Panel Compliance Audit

It is very likely that at some point your firm will receive a file request to check for breaches of the conveyancing panel Handbook requirements of First Direct. Would you opt to be commissioning the audit or would you prefer to wait for your insurer or First Direct?

First Direct is in all likelihood, one of the firm’s most important clients for conveyancing work.

How certain are you that you are strictly following the instructions as a practice on the First Direct conveyancing panel?

It’s not a bad idea to bring in your own external auditors who may conduct your CQS audits but Lexsure is the only company offering a comprehensive lender panel compliance audit for your conveyancing files where First Direct are the lender.

Lexsure’s comprehensive directory of First Direct Handbook instructions enables us to review a law firms’ conveyancing cases whilst on the First Direct conveyancing panel retrospectively and in the same vein as First Direct would.

Lexsure’s panel of experienced assessors independently check using propriety templates and Lender instruction archives whether each conveyancing matter complied with the requirements at the time the CoT was submitted.

For conveyancing firms where their search provider is not offering the service, our fee for a First Direct compliance panel audit is £1,975+VAT. We tend to examine nine case files involving First Direct, which we can stratify by tenure (e.g. leasehold) year of completion or a mix characteristics.

Once the audit is completed, Lexsure will supply you with a full written compliance profile for your files with First Direct and a baseline risk profile. We will also follow-up with you to go through our auditor’s findings and guidance in a formal debrief. Subsequent audits can be scheduled. Our office will contact the appropriate personnel to request the status of planned actions. A maximum of one lender conveyancing panel audits may be commissioned by a firm per annum.

Lexsure’s Conveyancing Audit Scheduling System (LCASS) enables you to choose the date, time and location of a First Direct conveyancing panel compliance audit. The system is available 24/7, which eliminates most instances where you have to wait for business hours to contact Lexsure to schedule or reschedule a First Direct panel compliance file audit. Please note that before accepting a First Direct conveyancing panel compliance audit we have to conduct a conflict check. It may not be possible for Lexsure to carry out a First Direct panel compliance review

Frequently asked questions concerning First Direct conveyancing file audits

Will a satisfactory audit of my firm’s previous files involving First Direct enable my firm to be reinstated on the First Direct conveyancing panel?

That is not the case. We do not get involved in the First Direct conveyancing panel selection or reinstatement process

In light of recent events can Lexsure do a Lender Compliance Audits remotely as our conveyancing lawyers are currently working from home?

This is currently possible, subject to certain requirements which we will send you separately.

Why would my firm consider a First Direct handbook compliance audit?

Lexsure occasionally meets First Direct conveyancing panel companies who are confident that they have ‘bulletproof’ compliance protocols. Yet Lexsure sees common breaches of the lender Handbook instructions. In fact, we have yet to complete an audit that didn’t uncover serious breaches. An adverse externally-commissioned audit by a lender could result in an insurance claim or removal from a panel. Breaches of handbook requirements for First Direct or any lender leaves you open to costly and damaging claims if the lender suffers a loss and even disciplinary action by your regulator. Lexsure’s lender compliance audits are an efficient way to ensure there aren’t costly skeletons in your conveyancing cupboard.

How long will I need to wait before I receive my written report to share with my partners following an audit of our firm's First Direct panel conveyancing files?

We aim to have a written report within two weeks of an audit.

On what basis do First Direct select files for audits?

Lexsure are not privy to the reasons why First Direct would select a file from a firm presently on or previously on their conveyancing panel