Is the Industry threatened by conveyancing diversification?

With the legal industry evolving over the last 12 months due to the impact of Covid-19, a lot of businesses are reflecting on the events of the last year. Competition for clients can be fierce and in previous years consolidation within the legal industry has been rife with mergers and acquisitions taking centre play.

Another way is diversification by joining forces with another business to add to their practice areas to boost their reputation, enhancing their offering and expanding their client base.

Previously dealing in only one area of law, businesses are branching out in new practice areas. A couple of years ago the Council for Licensed Conveyancers started regulating Wills and probate practitioners as well.

Today’s Wills and Probate asked organisations whether there is a threat of conveyancers diversifying into the sector or does it create more diverse healthy competition and choice within the market for consumers.

Sue Ioannou TEP FIPW FCMI, Chair and Head of Training at Institute of Professional Willwriters said:

“As an organisation the IPW welcomes collaboration between different organisations within the same and complimentary sectors. We feel that it can only add credibility to the profession over all and give options and choice to the consumer. We have served for many years to highlight the benefits of regulation within the Willwriting and estate administration sectors and have actively campaigned for this.

“We are currently talking to other organisations with a view to forging closer links with them to mutual benefit and in the main, we have found working with these organisations to be a good experience through their helpfulness and wiliness to work with us towards the same ends.”

Charlotte Ponder, Legal director at Countrywide Tax and Trust Corporation Ltd commented, she said:

“As a business we welcome competition and believe that the widening of choice of available services benefits the consumer. The industry as a whole should welcome the chance to attract customers to their offering – for too long firms have sat back on the basis that clients come through the door, without doing anything to encourage and retain them. The modern consumer is far more discerning, and technology and the advent of virtual advice post Covid-19 means the market has completely opened up. Clients are not restricted to their geographical area alone and are able to shop across the entire jurisdiction for services they need at the level they require. The onus is on firms to focus on the customer journey and ensure that the client is attracted and retained on the basis that the service offering is the best it can be. It is in all of our interests as an industry for as many clients to seek advice and put estate planning in place as possible, and the widening up of access to services can only help to further achieve that aim.”

Dave Newick, CEO of Arken.legal added:

“Two thirds of the UK adult population don’t have a Will, so there is plenty of scope for new providers to enter the market. Conveyancing is one of the life events which triggers the need for a Will, so it’s a logical extension for practitioners in that market to start to provide estate planning services. The key to success for new entrants coming into the market is to deliver a quality service and to ensure that the customer experience is placed at the forefront. To do that, and provide a profitable, efficient service which secures market share, they need to base new practices on technology platforms, not replicate manual processes. The industry should welcome new entrants and increased competition, and use those things as an opportunity to grow and enhance the sector, raising service levels, providing increased accessibility and delivering efficiencies to drive value and therefore profitability.”

Today's Wills and Probate