Mike Cameron, Group Executive – Customer and Revenue at PEXA, discusses the evolution of e-Conveyancing, the benefits for all parties and the need to drive the property industry towards digitisation.
For most of us, buying or selling a home is one of the more exciting times in our lives, and for approximately 57 per cent of us, it’s also the most stressful.
Traditional conveyancing, the legal preparation of documents for the transfer of property, is often a complex and laborious process. When utilising the traditional, paper based method, the conveyancing process could take up to 30 days to complete, with close to 25 per cent of settlements falling over due to a delay in financial approval, manual processing errors or late submissions.
This is set to change.
The birth of e-Conveyancing
In 2010, in response to a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) initiative, an e-Conveyancing platform was formed. The drive for this was a consequence of two previous attempts, VIC’s Electronic Conveyancing Victoria (ECV) and NSW’s National Electronic Conveyancing Office (NECO).
Originally known as the National E-Conveyancing Development Limited (NECDL), the company was renamed Property Exchange Australia Ltd (PEXA) in 2014. As Australia’s online property exchange network, PEXA assists members – such as lawyers, conveyancers and financial institutions – to lodge documents with Land Registries and complete financial settlements electronically. The platform boasts over 7,000 members and is fully integrated with five land registries and revenue offices as well as over 150 financial institutions. To date over 1.5 million PEXA Exchange transactions have been completed on the platform for properties worth in excess of $200 billion. And those numbers are growing.
Digitisation has clear benefits for the industry. KPMG reported that e-Conveyancing saves practitioners between three to five hours per transaction. This time saving is a result of less time traveling to physical settlement rooms and conducting administrative tasks. To conduct an online transaction, a PEXA Workspace is created on the platform, where all parties involved in the transaction are able to share information, upload necessary documents and work together on a settlement date. By eliminating paper and allowing parties to collaborate online, PEXA reduces the risk of last minute delays. The fact that parties ‘meet’ online in the Workspace means that there is the added flexibility and transparency, and once a settlement occurs, the transaction is completed in seconds.
Deloitte calculated that a 100% electronic lodgement and settlement system will provide approximately $296 million worth in gross benefits to practitioners, mostly through time efficiencies. The report goes on to say that the industry would stand to realise around $89 million in net benefits per annum when e-Conveyancing is fully adopted.
Industry progress towards digitisation
The industry’s transition is well on its way as timelines to phase out paper-based property settlements are being rolled-out by state governments. These timelines, as a result of feedback from the industry, provide certainty around the way property transactions would be completed in the future and give practitioners a natural progression towards adopting a digital platform. It is envisioned that by 2019, the majority of transactions, with a small list of exclusions, will be processed electronically.
This change in the industry is as much driven by the need for a transparent and efficient system as it is by the experiences consumers have in their everyday lives. Digital disruption continues to affect the value proposition of existing goods and services, reshaping the customer experience, redefining the game for buyers, sellers and other players in the property industry.
Bringing the property industry into the 21st century is long overdue. For those who have yet to jump on the bandwagon, the learning curve may be steep, but change is the price we all pay for progress.
Mike Cameron joined PEXA in 2012 as the Chief Operating Officer, subsequently as the Group Executive, Operations before being appointed to his current role in July 2017. Mike has over 25 years of experience in the finance industry and specialises in delivering transformational change and outcomes.As a proven executive and experienced authentic leader, prior to PEXA, he has succeeded in a number of high profile roles at National Bank Australia. In his current role, Mike is responsible for boosting the growth of PEXA’s national e-Conveyancing solution and driving adoption by banks, lawyers and conveyancers. Mike can be contacted at [email protected]
 A Workspace is a shared area in PEXA where members prepare property instruments and settlement documents for a property exchange transaction to effect lodgement and or settlement.