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Stay of execution for Britannia sole practitioners

9 September 2009

The Law Society has won a two-week extension before up to 3,600 sole practitioners are axed from Britannia’s conveyancing panel.

Following its merger with Co-operative Financial Services (CFS) last month, the building society gave sole practitioners on the panel a month’s notice that they were being removed.

Des Hudson, Law Society chief executive, said that following talks yesterday

Britannia had agreed to delay the move by two weeks until October 4 while attempts to find a solution continued.

“Following talks with Britannia we hope to convene a further meeting to explore the drivers of the Co-op/Britannia decision to axe the sole practitioners from its conveyancing panel,” he added.

Mike Fairbairn, CFS director of risk, said the meeting, which also involved representatives of the Law Societies of Scotland and Northern Ireland, had been constructive.

“CFS wants to make it absolutely clear that our decision was a direct consequence of our insurers refusing to offer cover on our entire £20bn mortgage business unless we removed sole practitioners from our panel,” he said.

“We have a clear duty to our members and customers to ensure best cover at the best price – we can’t simply choose cover at any cost. We also reject strongly any claims that our actions are in anyway discriminatory on sole practitioners, for this same reason.

“We have committed to maintaining dialogue with the respective Law Societies but we need to achieve a position where we have appropriate indemnity protection across our entire mortgage book, without any adverse commercial impact or material change to the terms and conditions offered.”

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Financial services & Tax Procedures Vulnerable Clients Local government