By Gavin Connor, Team Leader, Trust Accounts Department at The Law Society NSW
Ensuring source funds are available when required is key to the completion of timely settlements. With the NSW industry completing a significant transition to digital property transactions from 1 July 2019, it’s an ideal time to evaluate your current processes around supplying source funds and understand the options available.
The use of a Trust Account is the preferred method that allows you to contribute funds to settlement on behalf of your client. There are a number of benefits to utilising your Trust Account in PEXA.
- When operating your Trust Account, you have full visibility of the funds available for settlement.
- You also have the ability to verify funds on the day of settlement, provided they are cleared.
- Further, you have the flexibility of being able to provide funds when acting on either side of a settlement.
As an alternative, a Source Account is offered by PEXA, in cases where a Trust Account is not yet available. This enables practitioners to provide funds when they are representing an incoming proprietor, with certain conditions in place.
- The PEXA Source Account is only available for use when representing the incoming proprietor.
- When using PEXA’s Source Account, cleared funds must be available in the account no less than three business days before the date of a scheduled settlement.
Authorisation of any Trust Account instruction in PEXA is confirmed securely using your unique Digital Certificate. When providing source funds or completing any action in the digital settlement process, it’s important to be conscious of your security requirements.
PEXA’s Subscriber Security Policy outlines firm and user requirements. Additionally, PEXA’s e-Conveyancing Community assists its members with security tips and guidance notes in achieving their compliance obligations.
Key security tips when using PEXA include:
- Ensure you are the only person who knows your PEXA password.
- Ensure each employee required to sign documents and authorise funds in PEXA has their own Digital Certificate.
- Ensure no one else has access to your Digital Certificate and PIN.
- Verbally confirm bank account details with your clients before entering them into the settlement schedule.
Other general security tips include:
- Ensure you have up-to-date anti-virus and firewall software on devices across your business.
- Be aware of phishing emails.
- Don’t share your login credentials and update these regularly.
I recommend being proactive in reviewing and maintaining security within your business. Take the time to review your organisation’s risk profile, ensure staff are trained and aware of potential risks and set guidelines about the communication of sensitive information.