Last week the SRA held a consultation webinar regarding the proposals on the SRA accounts rules changes due in 2017. Tlam dialled in and since then, we have been openly discussing what this means for us and our firms in the future. We have debated and deliberated on the changes as these reforms are comprehensive and leaves some questions unanswered. However, our overall judgement is that these changes are forward thinking and more in line with the expectations of other professional services associations and regulatory bodies.
The key areas of reform:
- Definition of Client Money and Client Liability
- Abolition of the ‘Office Account’
- Mixed Payments
- Payments from the Legal Aid Agency
- Alternative Client Accounts – TPMAs (Third Party Managed Accounts)
Like all big changes intended to simplify regulation, these carry the potential for increased risk over compliance, cybercrime, reputation and ultimately financial health. However, we at Tlam believe that, with the right tools and training resources, these changes provide new opportunities for law firms to expand efficiency, profitability and dynamism.
Over the next months we will be sharing our judgements on the main areas of reform, offering insight and advice to those who are unsure of what the SRA rule changes mean for them.