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AICWA Update - Opposition to Mandating

AICWA Update

Opposition to Mandating

Since launching its public opposition to the mandating of electronic conveyancing, the AICWA has worked with many interested parties who share similar beliefs in opposing regulation by mandate.

In opposing the mandate, the AICWA wish to make it clear we in no way advocate an opposition to lodging via PEXA. In supporting AICWA’s opposition to mandating, members should not be reluctant to learn and experience electronic lodging. AICWA strongly support e-conveyancing and would encourage members to either attend ECA training or contact a PEXA Direct Specialist to learn how they can begin to integrate.

AICWA opposition to mandating has continued on regardless while new regulations are being drafted. Having been key stakeholders in the regulatory development of e-conveyancing in WA the AICWA would be disappointed if we were to be ignored in the consultation process to create new regulations. AICWA has dedicated countless hours and resources to supporting e-conveyancing. Any gazetting of regulations without consultation would demonstrate a clear disregard for the AICWA, its members and the profession of conveyancing.                           

The WA Lands Minister’s office has confirmed that ARNECC are currently working with the ACCC to undertake a review of the pricing and access provisions for further ELNO’s to enter the market. On the 31st of March 2017 ARNECC advised stakeholders of its intention to undertake the review of the regulatory framework, including:

  • how multiple ELNOs may participate in that marketplace and inter-operate;
  • whether, in the ELNO marketplace, regulation relating to access and pricing is necessary;
  • whether existing access and pricing regimes, such as that under Part IIIA of the Commonwealth's Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth), or State and Territory access and pricing regimes, are relevant and could be utilised.

Since the announcement of the Regulatory Review, AICWA has accepted invitations from SAIG to attend meetings with the minister to call for the postponement of mandate until the regulatory environment and competitive framework has been completed to the satisfaction of the industry.  Of particular concern in the mandate timeline currently proposed is the absence of risk management planning given the significant transition risk associated with an industry wide bulk conversion and impost to consumers

ARNECC has recently advised that stakeholder consultation on the review is likely to occur in the coming months pending the preliminary review of the findings from an external consultant on the terms of reference.  It is important to note that the AICWA have not been interviewed as part of the initial interviews, however, we will be involved in the public consultation process once the findings and proposed changes to the framework are published.              

While significant reviews are taking place the AICWA is adamant that a mandate is premature and demonstrates a disregard for potential findings and recommendations of the review and any public consultation process that will follow.  Reviewing the ELNO marketplace whilst entrenching the incumbent through mandate will limit the industry input and influence on any changes necessary under the regulatory framework involved in the review.

AICWA are of the firm belief that a monopoly provider mandated too early will only saddle the industry with an ecosystem that is immature.  A monopoly results in no competitive pressure to improve its service offering in order to attract customers. Currently, there are no pricing controls (thus the review) and an inadequate regulatory model for such a large infrastructure asset with a single point of dependency to be mandated in the middle of the financial services industry.

The AICWA in opposing mandating will focus on ensuring that conveyancers and consumers have the ability to settle electronically in an ecosystem that has appropriate regulatory regimes and in a marketplace that provides for competition or pricing protection.  While AICWA continues to object to mandating we encourage members and colleagues to embrace e-conveyancing. ECA workshops delivered by the AICWA will be offered in 2018 (subject to demand) along with CPD training that will assist settlement agent’s to manage risk in transitioning to online settlements.  

AICWA acknowledge the frustration being felt by the early adopter members of AICWA that the uptake is slow.  However, forcing those who have concerns about transacting in the electronic workspace is not the answer.   Instead, the ecosystem should be improved to a point that users provide more positive feedback regarding their transition, which will encourage other Members to transact.   While we acknowledge these early days are not ideal, we are looking at protecting our industry and the consumers now and in the future

Member’s wishing to provide feedback or to make further enquiries regarding AICWA opposition to mandate are welcome to do so directly to the AICWA.


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