• A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

    A reputation for professional excellence with integrity

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis

    Accurate understanding and technical analysis

  • National and International Experience

    National and International Experience

  • 34 years in private legal practice

    34 years in private legal practice

  • A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

    A focus on events and consequences, not gossip

  • Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

    Helping lawyers, brokers, accountants, surveyors and other professions

  • There when you need him

    There when you need him

Telling Tales August 2018

20 Aug 18

The Banks Must Have It All

It’s August. Less business gets done. But plenty gets spoiled or lost, because relevant people are not around to avert omissions, correct errors, or spot opportunities. Devils, gremlins and malefactors of all kinds benefit. It’s a good time to change or improve systems, share information and exchange cautionary tales, especially with regard to engagements involving movements of money. Perhaps that’s why the Solicitors Regulation Authority has chosen this month to release its refreshed and updated Warning Notice against misuses of client accounts for purely ‘banking facilities’ which are unrelated to underlying legal services. Every UK bank customer has experience of the tedious and sometimes exasperating regulatory procedures affecting even the most straightforward transactions; and professionals who handle other people’s money are being subjected to similar authoritarian pressures, not only to tighten up their own systems but also and foremost to minimise the range of money-movement services they provide, leaving these exclusively to the banks wherever practical: “There must be a proper connection between the underlying legal transaction or advice and the payments you are asked to make or receive. The rule is not intended to prevent usual practice in traditional work such as conveyancing, company acquisitions, the administration of estates or dealing with formal trusts….” But  “Allowing clients simply to hold money in a client account gives rise to significant risks and may evade sophisticated controls and risk analyses that banks apply to money held for their customers…. Movement of money through client account is attractive to those with an improper purpose … It largely circumvents the sophisticated risk systems used by banks.”

The nobility as well as administrative convenience of these aims for the Financial Conduct Authority and other regulators is self-apparent. The scope for concern, on the other hand, is that all the power as well as wealth generated by money movements is becoming clustered to one industry, and that doesn’t seem healthy, still less fair. There will be tears.

https://www.sra.org.uk/solicitors/code-of-conduct/guidance/warning-notices/Improper-use-of-client-account-as-a-banking-facility--Warning-notice.page

 

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Professional Risk Expertise

Mike Willis has worked with a diverse range of professions including...

The FMWL Approach …

  • Accurate understanding and technical analysis;
  • Focus on duty, causal event(s) and consequences; not gossip…
  • Sensitive but objective empathy;
  • Overarching commerciality; and
  • Clear aims, with vision where necessary to explore indirect routes to solutions.