Roundtable brings risks to the forefront of delegates minds

Last week, professionals in the industry came together in a virtual environment to discuss risks that have arisen in the wills and probate sector, especially since firms and practitioners have been adopting the “new normal”.

Hosted by Today’s Wills and Probate, the discussions were led by the roundtable’s two sponsors, Countrywide Tax and Trust Corporation and Start Software.

In the first discussion, the delegates discussed the internal problems that had arisen as a result of more remote working. The consistent theme throughout, regardless of being a sole practitioner or a firm was the isolation people felt, and sometimes a breakdown in communication as people.

In regard to client services and expectations, as the remote working culture further embedded itself, and people became au fait with using cloud based system and conducting virtual meetings, delegates revealed that their clients were happy with the service they received. Although the client experience could be improved by streamlining processes making them more efficient as people adapt to the “new normal”.

Naturally, in a virtual working environment the main risks that the delegates discussed that they had encountered were cyber crime, anti-money laundering and fraud. Although the “new normal” has had six months to embed itself into people’s working practices, the risks are still going to grow especially as we’re now set for another six months of home working as the UK steps up restriction in a battle against coronavirus.

The risks of remote working and what can be done to reduce the risks, were the main topics of discussion two, led by Start-Software.

Robin Bennett, Director of Start Software, commented:

“Today’s roundtable hosted by TWP was a great opportunity to talk about some of the ways to reduce risk in the “new normal”. With so many staff working from home, meeting clients virtually and relying on laptops and smartphones, it’s vital to stay safe and treat cybersecurity seriously. Hopefully the tips I gave will have helped the other participants and if they remember one thing it is that emails are not safe! Our new Alpha Legal platform (see alphalegal.start-software.com) takes the risk out of client communication and is really easy for all to use. You can sign up, risk free, in seconds at alphalegal.start-software.com.”

Tara McInnes, Principle Associate at Shoosmiths LLP, said:

“As usual, I thought the Today’s Wills and Probate roundtable was informative and insightful. As a solicitor I do not usually get the opportunity to discuss ‘non-legal’ topics with experts in their field so it was useful to hear experts discussing risk and compliance in the arena of cyber crime. A lovely group of people and an all-round enjoyable event.”

Jane Cassell, JC Independent Wills and Probate Limited, said:

“Today’s Wills and Probate roundtable brought together a wide range of people from big corporates down to sole practitioners like myself, and recognises that we all have a voice. We discussed technology and risk management, but overall the focus of fellow professionals is the client experience. This group of specialist professionals is a privilege to be a part of.”

Alex Holt, Director of Business Development at The Cashroom, who participated in the discussions, said:

“Our technical developments and service processes are always designed with a view to reducing risk while enabling our clients to work efficiently and compliantly. The discussion was hugely enjoyable and reinforced the importance of this approach, especially in this Wills and Probate sector where sums of money need to be moved quickly and securely.”

Finally, delegates were asked to discuss the practical steps forward that the industry has made. The general consensus around this was:

  • Ensure a positive experience by speeding up processes
  • Technology has come on leaps and bounds during this year. The use of video conferencing software such as Zoom is great, however more still needs to be done
  • Covid-19 has sped up the removal of risks and managing PII risks which are important to firms
  • However, using more traditional forms and posting them can be a safer form of communication than emails. For example, when obtaining bank details.

David Opie, Director of Marketing at the Practical Vision Network which publishes Today’s Wills and Probate, added:

“The ability for people to meet virtually in these roundtables, helps people to not feel alone, and realise that certain issues are felt by everyone in the sector. I want to thank everyone for taking time out of their schedules to take part and share knowledge in the sector.”

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