Yesterday the Bank of England announced the completion of Project Meridian, a digital synchronised settlement prototype promising to reshape the way property payments are conducted, benefiting consumers, businesses, HM Land Registry and the wider property market.
To help ensure buyers and sellers see payment transfers go ahead as planned on completion day, preventing delays to keys being released, or sales to even fall through, a new approach used in the prototype was announced yesterday, which replaces the numerous manual steps and checks and avoids the exchanging of paper-based documents entirely. The aim is to reduce the risk of fraud or transactions being delayed at the eleventh hour.
The settlement prototype works by digitising the workflow between the commercial Banks, the Bank of England and HM Land Registry. Conveyancers connect to the service and send instructions which reserve funds. Then, at a pre-set date and time, the funds for that property transaction, or even for a whole chain of transactions, are moved in synchronisation. Immediately the funds are moved, digital deeds are issued, and instructions sent to HM Land Registry to update the register.
The prototype paves the way for the process to be made significantly more transparent and efficient, and reduces the risk of fraud.
John Reynolds, project director and COO at Coadjute, said “Settlement is particularly complex and can only be tackled through deep collaboration and partnership with the public sector. What the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub London Centre has done fantastically well here is create an open, innovative and collaborative environment for the public and private sector to work together to do just that.”