How our clients will benefit from the Bar Council's escrow account

Outside the narrow realms of consumer technology, there’s often an inevitable trade-off between cost and quality. In other words, you can have something at lower cost, or better—but not both at the same time.

But here at The Legal Director, we’d like to highlight a recent development at the firm as an exception to that rule. Because following a waiver from the Solicitors Regulation Authority, we’ve become the first law firm to sign up to the Bar Council’s BARCO escrow account.

Which should be welcome news for those of our clients wanting us to act directly for them in corporate transactions.

Because it means a better service—and lower overall costs.

Bar Council approved

Gaining access to the BARCO escrow account is quite a coup, and we’re very excited about it.

At a stroke, it breaks a regulatory log-jam that for years has hindered our ability to offer transactional capabilities to those clients who request them.

Namely, we’ve never been able to justify the considerable administrative and regulatory burden of operating client monies accounts.

And access to the Bar Council’s BARCO escrow account means that now we don’t have to.

So what does it mean in practice?

The simple answer is that when clients ask us go beyond our usual advisory role, and undertake transactions for them, we can do so, directly.

Previously, it was necessary to undertake these through third-party law firms which did operate client monies accounts.

Which, of course, added to costs: partly through engaging another firm, and partly because client monies accounts are expensive to operate, and the charges levied by third-party law firms reflect that.

From now on, clients’ funds intended for transactions are held in the BARCO escrow account—in effect a risk-free, outsourced client account, for which a single flat fee is payable.

So how does it work?

Essentially, the account operates like any other escrow account: funds are deposited with a trusted third party, who will only release them under certain conditions.

A joint venture between the Bar Council and Barclays Bank, BARCO is that trusted third party.

So when we’re acting for you in a transaction capacity, you lodge the relevant funds with BARCO, knowing that the funds can only be withdrawn in connection with that transaction. And never, directly, by us.

At a stroke, it provides all of the security—and more—that a client monies account provides, without requiring The Legal Director to change its regulatory status.

The bottom line

If you’re interested, a press release on the Bar Council’s website has more details.

But we think that it’s an exciting and innovative development, and one that provides us and our clients with new freedoms.

The Solicitors Regulation Authority is satisfied that it’s the right move, the Bar Council are happy, we’re happy—and we look forward to you, our clients, being happy, should you ever wish to engage us in a transaction capacity.

Better, and at lower cost. What’s not to like?

To find out more  about what the The Legal Director can offer, please call James Mallender on 020 3755 5099 at any time.

Posted Wednesday, July 6th, 2016 by Warren Ryland



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