UK Finance Designator: HSBC Bank plc
HSBC Solicitor Panel Guidance:
Do practices on the HSBC solicitor panel have to follow the CML Part 3 obligations relating to separate representation ?
The Scottish equivalent to the Council of Mortgage Lenders Part 3’s is said to follow shortly and is likely to apply to solicitors on the HSBC conveyancing panel.
Is there anything more that solicitors can do to defend their own interests and protect themselves from the damages from being removed from the HSBC conveyancing panel?
Some might be tempted to steer clients away from those who impose the greatest restrictions on panel membership. John Scott, secretary to the Society’s Property Law (formerly Conveyancing) Committee, advises: “The difficulty there is that you are effectively giving financial advice to clients. It might be that the best choice for them is from one of these lenders and it’s difficult to see how you could give advice not to choose that product without putting yourself in a conflict position.”
Could there be anti-competitive practices involved in the removal of a firm off the HSBC conveyancing panel?
The Law Society of Scotland’s opinion is that lenders such as HSBC are free to choose whom to instruct, and there are no competition issues unless a lender (or a number of lenders acting together) has a market share above 40%. Even Lloyds Banking Group doesn’t come near to 40%. Removal from the HSBC solicitors panel would therefore not be anticompetitive.
Is it true that the Law Society has advised that firms check their status on the HSBC conveyancing panel?
The Scottish Law Society has advised that solicitors should check their lender panel status prior to accepting client instructions to act. The advice is lender-agnostic since it does not relate specifically to solicitors on the HSBC conveyancing panel. Because a number of mortgage lenders remove solicitors from their panels without prior notice as part of their panel management system, some solicitors discover their removal too late to be effective. Checking one’s legal panel status is sensible advice because a client who finds his lawyer is not on the approved lender panel is very frustrating and can lead to complaints as seen on online consumer forums. Such forums include moneysavingexpert.com
Do banks such as HSBC run an independent conveyancing panel for buy-to-let mortgages?
Most lenders do not operate a specific buy-to-let conveyancing panel,
but a few do. We do not know what the position is with HSBC as of
today. If you're about to receive instructions from a client on a
buy-to-let purchase with a mortgage from HSBC, we suggest that you
call HSBC to check the position.