Restricting panels may be good thing

There has been a lot of talk, mostly negative, about HSBC restricting its conveyancing panel to 42 firms.

Initial reactions point to it being a black day for conveyancing, but it might be what the industry needs.

There are suggestions it will restrain choice because it will cost clients who want to use their own solicitor more. That may be but what we have here is an illustration of the society we live in.

Clients want good service and conveyancing, like other sectors, has good and bad practitioners. There are those involved in the business all day, every day and those that dabble in it on an ad hoc basis.

The problem is that if you don’t do something regularly you are more likely to make mistakes.

HSBC has recognised this and is sending a message to customers that its panel is accredited and trusted to do a good job. Unless clients are fortunate enough to have good connections or a family solicitor it can be difficult to access comprehensive legal advice.

This is where brokers come in. They are in the enviable position of being able to speak to clients face-to-face in their own home, clearly an advantage when it comes to explaining products. In turn, having approved solicitors on a panel reassures introducers that the firm they are recommending is trusted by the lender.

The market we work in is changing, but it is not something we need to be worried about. Instead, it should be embraced.