In October 2019, Sympli lodged it’s first registry instrument, a mortgage, in NSW. With two electronic lodgement network operators (ELNOs), how will e-Settlements work?
In order to facilitate competition between electronic lodgement network providers, it’s important that customers can switch between providers easily. This means interoperability.
Interoperability will help enable switching (between two or more ELNOs) to be as frictionless as possible. This will drive efficiencies in the market as end users are able to identify and move to the best service.
Interoperability is common in industries where data is shared between networks. For example, telecommunication companies. They operate by sharing data to facilitate calls and text messages. This enables consumers to communicate with each other irrespective of which network carrier they are a customer of.
In an e-conveyancing context, interoperability is the ability for two or more ELNOs to communicate with one another via the sharing of an agreed data set, thereby allowing freedom of choice between which platform you use.
There is currently an industry forum working through the possible solutions to competition and interoperability. This is a collaborative national approach between ELNOs, banks, conveyancers, lawyers, state revenue offices and some land registries.
The Law Council of Australia, the Law Institute Victoria, NSW Law Society and Queensland Law Society, have all offered their support for interoperability.
So, what will interoperability mean for you when it comes to settlements?
Interoperability can be designed in such a way that ensures users continue to interact with each other. Specifically:
- there is no need to change how information is input into the workspace
- there is no need to change the information that is currently shared in a workspace
- there is no need to change the way subscribers sign registry instruments and settlement instructions
- your ELNO will retain its obligations to you under its Subscriber Agreement and other regulatory obligations
Interoperability means that every user gains the right to choose their ELNO for every settlement.
Interoperability and multiple ELNOs will create a competitive e-Conveyancing market, offering lawyers and conveyancers various points of differentiation when it comes to their providers.
How do I know which ELNO will be responsible for lodging?
The industry has determined that the Lodging ELNO should be the ELNO of the ‘Responsible Subscriber’ (which is the incoming mortgagee or cash purchaser if there is no incoming mortgagee).
In a linked settlement, it’s the ELNO of the Responsible Subscriber in the last financial workspace in the chain.
What changes are required by land registries and financial institutions in light of interoperability?
Sympli and PEXA have very similar processes to complete settlement due to the influence of the Reserve Bank of Australia, financial institutions and land registries. Based on discussions with land registries, revenue offices and financial institutions, interoperability does not fundamentally change the existing connections or commercial arrangements.
Competition and choice are critical to bring more secure and efficient ways of electronic property settlement. Without competition, ELNOs would not be commercially incentivised to continue to improve their service quality, efficiency and prices to attract lawyers, practitioners and banks.
Sympli have compiled a list of FAQs, to help property lawyers and conveyancers understand more about interoperability and the transition to two ELNOs.