#BCAwards2023 | Sponsor Spotlight: Groundsure

#BCAwards2023 | Sponsor Spotlight: Groundsure

The third edition of the British Conveyancing Awards is just around the corner. Alongside a new, larger venue and a new headline sponsor in Groundsure, #BCAwards2023 is all about recognising and rewarding the herculean efforts of conveyancing superheroes who, despite hurdles aplenty, continue to go above and beyond to help clients move into their dream home.

Ahead of the splendour and celebration on the 21st March, Today’s Conveyancer will recognise those who help make the event possible through a series of “Sponsor Spotlight” pieces, beginning with headline sponsor Groundsure, whose Chief Operations Officer Malcolm Smith tells all.

First of all, tell us who you are and what you do

I’m Malcolm Smith, Chief Operations Officer at Groundsure. I am responsible for the commercial delivery of our services through our sales, marketing, and customer services teams, as well as our HR, consultancy, and data operations. Like many of the executive team, we have been either in the business or the industry for many years.

It’s all about the customer and ensuring we deliver for them day in, day out – both in terms of clear and actionable insights for their own clients, and also by leading the market through innovation in our products and support.

What prompted you to stand beside the British Conveyancing Awards 2023 as Headline Sponsor?

We were proud to sponsor one of the key categories in last year’s inaugural awards – Conveyancing Firm of the Year. The quality of entries and extent to which firms were going above and beyond in their support for clients, in often very difficult circumstances, tallied so strongly with our goals – to make complex information simple so that answers can be given with minimum friction, enabling firms to get on with supporting their clients.

This year, we are all about championing our superhero conveyancers. They have a lot on their plates and we wanted to be at the heart of recognising those firms that balance brilliant customer service with compliance and a high duty of care to their clients.

Groundsure have a brilliant insight into transactions through their work with conveyancers, lenders et al. What is one key change to property transactions you have seen over the last 12 month, and how have you adapted to this?

We all know that it has been a rollercoaster ride for transactions over the last couple of years that has challenged firms up and down the country. The stop-start caused by the pandemic, followed by the SDLT holiday and deadline, supercharged demand through a system with many overlapping stakeholders and technical integrations that can cause challenges. Transaction times are lengthening as chains and stakeholders try to line up, but the worsening macro-economic picture has accelerated fall throughs.

From our perspective, environmental search data is the least of our customers’ issues – it’s delivered rapidly and in the vast majority of cases presents few issues for their clients. So, it’s about how seamless tech integrations are with our channel partners so that they can deliver searches quickly and easily. But risk attitudes are also changing as we look ahead: our lender customers are taking ever closer look at how their mortgage decisions could be impacted by forward environmental risks driven by climate risks.

Groundsure have been a key voice on climate change’s impact on the property sector throughout the year. How do you see this impact developing into 2023?

None of us can have any doubt about the impact that climate change is having on our lives after last summer’s record temperatures, plus the storms and floods earlier in the year. It will be the same again this year and on into the future.

This has a direct impact on property assets, to the quiet enjoyment of clients’ homes and to commercial operations. It affects all of us.

Lenders have recognised this for a while. We have provided thousands of environmental search reports for Santander, Barclays, Natwest, and RBS for climate risk screening their high value commercial lending decisions for much of last year. Lenders are now turning to their general commercial and residential forward business and how climate risk information should be used in conveyancing due diligence. Indeed, our ClimateIndex™ analysis has already been provided for hundreds of thousands of transactions since going live, so it is a readymade tool for conveyancers to respond to these compliance changes.

The Law Society will also be releasing new climate guidance in the early Spring and using available property specific data should be a key part of the duty to warn. However, the duty of care on advising clients on climate change has been here for years already and firms shouldn’t wait for guidance to signpost this.

How must the property sector – including conveyancers – adapt to this ever-increasing impact?

We know that conveyancers want to stick to areas of expertise where they are comfortable and that don’t expose them to PI risks. But they have used environmental searches for many years despite not being flood or contaminated land experts. Environmental search reports should include climate information automatically, looking ahead and not just a snapshot of today or the past. This should be the norm going forwards. It’s our job to make complex information simple and provide the PI reliance in the same way.

Conveyancers and commercial real estate lawyers can adapt right now by highlighting climate factors in our reports that could play a role in the future and could have an impact on lending, insurance, or value. It’s also why we have developed climate clauses to help explain the results and next steps for their clients. We will be very active this year working with our customers to ensure they can embed best practice from the guidance and meet future lender compliance requirements.

Join the conversation | #BCAwards2023

Originally Appeared Here

About Caroline Vega 228 Articles
Caroline Vega combines over a decade of digital strategy expertise with a deep passion for journalism, originating from her academic roots at Louisiana State University. As an editor based in New Orleans, she directs the editorial narrative at Commercial Lending News, where she crafts compelling content on commercial lending. Her unique approach weaves her background in finance and digital marketing into stories that not only inform but also drive industry conversations forward.