12-11-2017 04:51 PM - edited 12-11-2017 04:53 PM
PEXA now has the ability to lodge an Encumbrance and Discharge an Encumbrance in SA. For Banks, they can now view a copy of the Encumbrance in the workspace and there is no danger of settlement falling over because they haven’t perused it, or worse they didn’t even know there was one in the transaction. For conveyancers, it’s another impediment removed allowing them to move their transfers online. Developers can now efficiently put through new stages they create through PEXA because of the functionality. But also for PEXA, it strengthens our value proposition to our members, and it demonstrates that we listen and act upon member feedback.
This is the culmination of 12 months’ work that started with a simple question to our members here in SA: “What is the most important update to PEXA we could make to enable you to transact?”
My team and I set about accumulating a reservoir of feedback around capability gaps in the platform, specifically as it related to the things that were preventing transfer transactions. The principle piece of feedback was the lack of ability to lodge an Encumbrance against titles and to conduct the lift and replace process.
Building the business case
At PEXA we are currently 5 states with over 15 different interest groups, each with their own suite of documents and pathways to mandating transactions that require particular functionality to enable.
To build the business case for prioritising the work, we determined how many transactions, as a proportion of the overall available transfer market, were affected by an Encumbrance. Also, and more difficult to measure, how does the very ability to create and lodge Encumbrances have a material effect in the marketplace on confidence and proclivity to transact. What we were able to demonstrate, through the cooperation of some of South Australia's best conveyancers, was that the introduction of Encumbrances would provide the biggest advancement towards the 'critical mass', or the majority of people transacting with the majority of transactions in scope. Through a combination of people power and economics, the business case was successfully made.
To co-ordinate the parallel development efforts across multiple network partners, PEXA together with the Australian Registrars’ Working Group (ARWG), have established a formal governance framework to manage the road map to 100% digital lodgement. PEXA has 2 major releases and 2 minor releases per year, with new instruments reserved for the major releases. Releases are agreed upon 3 cycles ahead by ARWG, so any newly introduced proposals have a realistic wait of up to 9 months before it can be deployed. This is the best case scenario, and one that we achieved for South Australian practitioners, when Encumbrances were debated and won for release 7 back in early 2017.
Build / Test / Re-test
At PEXA we are very fortunate to have some of the best and most experienced in the field, both here in Australia and also our extended family over in Manilla. With a working beta of the Encumbrance creation process, and some scenarios to talk through, we set about socialising the process with some conveyancers in Adelaide. Socialising solutions is one of the most important pieces in this process; it provides opportunity for our members to own part of the solution, it highlights usability issues prior to launch, and it gives developers and designers access to direct user feedback. It provided opportunities for the practitioners and LTO staff to pick the solution to pieces and allow the builders of the product to refine and perfect the final solution.
Marketing and training collateral
Knowledge is power, and with any new piece of functionality we strive to empower our members to promote confidence and encourage utilisation. This is particularly important for new instruments and processes. The training and communications teams at PEXA put together an outstanding suite of training and promotional materials, and in partnership with the AIC SA promoted these through our complimentary channels. Both our webinars were registered at capacity and our open rates on Encumbrance articles were the highest in the nation.
Today, South Australia witnessed a first in the history of the conveyancing profession. Jacinda Hutchinson at Trevor Tapp & Associates became the first conveyancer to ever lodge an encumbrance against a title electronically, only 6 minutes after settlement commenced.
Let's face it, this was an opportunity to participate in something historic. No-one anywhere, anytime, had done this before in the history of the profession. Congratulations Jacinda!
As I type this article I reflect upon the ability of the conveyancing community to voice their suggestions and recommendations, and effect real change in their network. The exercise of developing and delivering Encumbrances in PEXA is a perfect demonstration of the ownership conveyancers have in the platform; it belongs to you.
on 13-11-2017 10:36 AM
Excellent to see an immediate take up. This is certainly a unique component of SA and great to see further digitisation at the home of the mighty Torrens System
on 15-11-2017 09:51 AM
Well done PEXA. This is great advancement and I am sure that many more transactions can now take place on the PEXA platform. Looking forward to getting some of these up and running soon!
on 25-11-2017 11:24 PM
Congratulations Jacinda - this is going to make so many more transactions we share together able to be on the PEXA platform