27 July 2018

Tech provider aims to start a revolution over handling of client money

A new global fintech offering is aiming to transform the legal sector's handling of client money.

The firm cites a report from the Solicitors Regulatory Authority revealing that money laundering reports from law firms are up 67% over the past 15 month. Cyber-crime is also up 50% year-on-year, reaching a record level of 157 cases in 2017 with £20m of client money lost across two years.

Mitigates risk

Shieldpay says its technology mitigates the risk of this happening, as the platform verifies all parties involved with robust bank-grade identity checks. Client money is then held in the secure Shieldpay vault and is only released when authorised by both sides, or at a pre-agreed milestone throughout the legal process. Third party managed accounts are being adopted for on-going legal services as firms are encouraged not to handle client money by insurers and regulators alike. Tom Squire, Enterprise Director at Shieldpay, comments ‘traditional payments processors often came at a high cost and with less visibility, but our custom-built platform means that firms can reduce costs and provide a transparent solution that will benefit their clients.”

Black hole

Shieldpay’s digital third party managed account solution offers full transparency on the status of client money to benefit lawyers and clients alike. The fully digital third-party managed accounts will replace traditional providers, which are slow and expensive and lead to client money often being left in a ‘black hole’ as firms and clients are in the dark about the location of funds and the status of the transaction, the firm claims. Firms will no longer be restricted by traditional banking hours or have to complete lengthy paperwork to set up transactions and release client money. Shieldpay says its patented digital payments process features increased efficiency and transparency of the handling of client money, full visibility on the status of funds, and real-time notifications. Among the law firms joining Shieldpay are Evolve Family Law, The Legal Director and Lexoo. Robin Charrot, Co-Founder at Evolve Family Law, comments ‘while the traditional use of escrow or third party managed accounts is slow and expensive, Shieldpay’s digital solution is an industry game changer that means we can provide increased visibility to our clients over the status of their funds.’