At the completion of this short read, you will be able to set up your digital certificate for signing.
1. It is your digital signature
Your digital certificate is your unique digital signature in PEXA. Conveniently, it substitutes your wet signature in the paper world to a digital one in the digital world.
The implications and responsibilities attached to your wet signature still apply and therefore you must ensure that no one else has access to your signature (your digital certificate) . This includes employees that complete the conveyancing for your organisation. Employees required to digitally sign either documents or financials in PEXA, will need to sign using their own signature and hence require their own digital certificate.
2. Signing in PEXA is secure
Like anything else, you will need to take the usual security precautions in keeping your account safe. This is why you should treat your USB like your credit card, and your USB PIN just as would a credit card and its PIN. As long as you keep your certificate compliant and managed in the way that is outlined in the digital certificate agreement (your obligations are set out in section 7.1 of the PEXA Digital Certificate Signing Agreement), signing in PEXA is extremely secure.
3. You must not share your Digital Certificate
The rules around sharing your digital certificate are not designed to make your signing life difficult, but are designed to protect the integrity of the network, and the integrity of your signature. PEXA takes this issue very seriously, just as your business would when dealing with a wet signature on paper documents. To this end, it is your organisation’s responsibility to verify the identity of any digital certificate users or recipients.
4. There are some signing rules you must observe
Before you order additional digital certificates for your staff, a good question to ask is: who can sign? ARNECC have taken the hard work out of this and created an easy to read table to help you figure out who is entitled to sign registry instruments (found here). Once you become satisfied that you have met best practice around who can sign as per ARNECC’s direction and the Model Participation Rules (Participation Rule 5.3(b) which requires a Representative Subscriber to “take reasonable steps to ensure that a Signer complies with the laws of the Jurisdiction in which the land the subject of the Conveyancing Transaction is situated regarding who can conduct a Conveyancing Transaction and Digitally Sign Registry Instruments.”), you can then decide who best fits these signing rules within your organisation for the below 3 signing categories:
Documents – who in your organisation is legally entitled to sign registry instruments?
Trust account authorisation – Who is recorded as payment authoriser on your Trust Account at the financial institution where your account is held?
Financial settlements – Who in your organisation is responsible for signing off on the statement of adjustments/cheque directions?
5. Your digital certificate is hard-coded
Want your digital certificate to do what it’s designed to do? An important thing to remember before you order your digital certificate is that the information you provide will be hard coded to your USB. This means that if any discrepancies are detected between your PEXA profile and the information on your USB, you will not be able to sign.
Your name in PEXA must be identical to the name that is hard coded on your Digital Certificate. This includes the inclusion or exclusion of middle names, and names that do not match your legal name, such as the shortening of names – ie, Sam Vs. Samuel. Further to this, your email address in PEXA must be identical to the email address that is hard coded on your digital certificate, including the inclusion or exclusion of dots in between words. You can change your name in PEXA if it is incorrect (ie. middle name included in PEXA but no middle name on Digital certificate), however in order to change your name or email address on your Digital Certificate if it were ordered incorrectly, you must re-order the USB as changes cannot be made to the hard coding.