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August 2014

Bringing transparency to the settlement process

SAI Global Property’s much anticipated online collaborative workspace Settlement Room, is to make a significant contribution to reducing settlement failure by providing all parties in the settlement process a clear line of sight into each other’s matters.

A first of its kind, the workspace is being rolled out in Western Australia, Queensland, Northern Territory and Tasmania this week and is scheduled for release in New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory and Victoria on 18 August.

Developed for use in both the manual (physical) and online settlement world, the new technology will also radically streamline and simplify the settlement booking process while at the same time preparing conveyancing practitioners for integration with PEXA.

It will be available to both SAI Global Property customers and non-customers.

SAI Global Property’s Program Director, Electronic Settlements, Amanda Baker - who has played a key role in the development of the software – says the key intent of the workspace was to eradicate one of the biggest ‘pain-points’ for both conveyancers and the banks: not having enough information about the other parties’ matters and not being able to easily check documents for errors.

She says this flaw in the settlement process has been the key contributor to settlements failing.
“According to statistics we collect, a staggering 58 per cent of settlements fail because of cancellations on the day due to problems not being picked up early on - parties which were assumed to be ready to settle, were not, or had insufficient funds to settle. Another 31 per cent fail because of problems with documentation such as typos on cheques, transfers that don’t have signatures, names on mortgages and transfer documents that don’t match or essential documents missing on settlement day.

“By providing all parties to the settlement process (outgoing and incoming mortgagees and buyer and seller representatives) with a virtual meeting or “transaction” workspace where they can upload documents and verify information about the property, we can resolve many of these issues ahead of time, dramatically increasing the probability for matters to settle first time.

“We can also eliminate the unnecessary expense of sending someone to settlement only to be faced with a barrage of problems that need resolving. Instead we can take the surprise out of settlement day, ensuring it is a quick, simple and event-free affair.”

Set to replace SAI Global Property’s Self Service Booking (SSB) tool, Settlement Room will also more effectively address the age-old problem of arranging settlement.

Conveyancers to a property transaction will now be able to book the date, time and location of each settlement transaction online, providing all participants with real time visibility of the status of a booking. They will also be able to respond quickly and easily on the morning of settlement and to arrange cheque directions, get cheques sorted and confirm that settlement can go ahead.

 “Currently no other provider enables this,” says Ms Baker.

The new online workspace will also make a major contribution to preparing conveyancers for their transition to PEXA by bringing some of the processes they will have to adapt to, into the manual world.

“It will provide them with incremental steps towards getting used to digital settlement.
Rather than picking up a file or phone, Settlement Room will encourage practitioners to go online and respond to email notifications and complete actions in the online world.”

However, she says those who never plan going down the electronic route, the workspace will improve their experience in the manual world significantly and in some instances may well encourage those who had not planned going down the PEXA pathway, to take the plunge.

For existing SAI Global Property conveyancers and solicitor clients, Settlement Room will be the final piece in the company’s end-to-end electronic settlement system.  To be integrated with the company’s conveyancing workflow tool, Conveyancing Manager; its online settlement portal for banks, Settlement Manager; search platform, Search Manager and in the future, the PEXA platform, the new collaborative workspace will provide users a highly cohesive space in which to work and collaborate.

“For companies already using Conveyancing Manager, information from this application will automatically prepopulate settlement matters in Settlement Room, eliminating unnecessary re-keying of data. Similarly for those already using Settlement Manager, information from this application will automatically prepopulate settlement matters in Settlement Room.

“Integration will also provide the potential for settlements to be arranged from any of these products or from Settlement Room directly, removing the need to log into numerous platforms and systems to complete arranging settlement.”

SAI Global Property help desk

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