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Settlement Room Pilot South Australia

Edition 10 // April 2014

During the month of May, South Australia will be the testing ground for SAI Global Property’s Settlement Room service pilot which is scheduled for wider release across Australia mid-year. 

A major upgrade of our existing Self-Service Booking (SSB) service, it provides a collaborative online meeting space for all parties in a settlement (outgoing and incoming mortgagees and buyer and seller representatives) who can gather online to share, compare and agree on information prior to actual settlement. 

It also enables users to book the date, time and location of each settlement transaction online.

According to SAI Global Property’s Program Director, Electronic Settlements - Amanda Baker, who has been instrumental in Settlement Room’s development and roll-out – it has already undergone rigorous beta testing and is now ready for trialling across a much wider group of people.

She says the choice of South Australia for its initial pilot was a no-brainer.

“The majority of banks in the state currently use our SSB system; with 85 per cent of all the matters we handle being booked this way. Once these institutions upgrade to Settlement Room, this means a staggering number of matters will be managed via our enhanced new service.”

Amanda says the fact that SA does not have the complexity of other states when it comes to settlement day, has also contributed to using the state as a testing ground. “In other states, you can have up to 85 different venues for settlement. In SA all settlements are managed at just one venue and they happen strictly between the hours of 11.30-2.30. If something goes wrong and
a conveyancer does not arrive on time by way of example, this is not so problematic".

“In addition, the conveyancing community in the state is very tight-knit and works together to promote the betterment of their profession and encourage best practise. This is hugely important to the successful outcome of the pilot.”

The state’s Australian Institute of Conveyancers has also thrown its weight behind promoting Settlement Room to its membership.

Reducing settlement failure 

The key purpose of the SSB upgrade is to eliminate any opportunity for settlements failing and to make the business of arranging a settlement much more efficient. 

Says Amanda: “The creation of a virtual meeting workspace where all parties in a settlement can communicate in real time and verify information about the property, the payout figures, settlement balances and payment directions, will dramatically increase the probability of matters settling first time".

“Also, being able to book the date, time and location of each settlement transaction online, removes much of the frustration, delays and the time-consuming nature of the current manual settlement process for conveyancers. They will now be able to respond quickly and easily on the morning of settlement and at the drop of a hat, arrange cheque directions, get cheques sorted and confirm that settlement can go ahead. “

Amanda says another critical benefit of Settlement Room is that it will help prepare conveyancers for the transition to an e-Conveyancing environment and get them used to managing part of the settlement process online.

“By the time it comes to completing the full-blown electronic conveyance via PEXA (which is scheduled for limited release later this year), conveyancers will already be comfortable with working in an online environment."

“However, for those who opt never to embrace e-Conveyancing, it will still be the ideal forum for resolving problems but still completing a settlement manually.”

Amanda says that all going well with the South Australian pilot, Settlement Room will remained “turned on” as the roll-out in other states gets underway.

To better understand how the new service works, she is now urging conveyancers in South Australia to sign up to Settlement Room online workshops by visiting our website. However, to be eligible to sign up to the webinars, conveyancers will need to register with our Conveyancing Directory.

She says the SA pilot will initially involve buyers and sellers representatives but will be opened up to banks and financial institutions later on.

In addition to webinars, those participating in the pilot can also access ”how-to” videos located within Settlement Room itself or they can call the Settlement Room software support team on  1300 730 000 and select option 2.
  • Settlement Room will be integrated with Conveyancing Manager (our conveyancing workflow tool), Settlement Manager (our online settlement portal for banks), Search Manager (our search platform) and in time the PEXA platform, providing all parties in the settlement with a highly integrated space to collaborate.  

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