Holding Money
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Client Money Handling Procedures

As a Member of Client Money Protect (CMP) Scheme, we adhere to the Rules of Conduct for Client Money Protection Scheme, and any other regulations as necessary.

 

All Client Money is held in a Client Money Account with a bank or building society authorised by the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), the Bank of England and the Financial Conduct Authority (the FCA) in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As a Scheme Member, we:

a) Maintain one or more Client Money Accounts into which all Client Money is paid.

b) Ensure that Client Money Account(s) are designated as such and easily distinguished from other accounts.

c) With effect from 1 April 2019, advise clients of Client Money to be held in a Client Money Account.

d) Confirm in writing with the bank with which it holds a Client Money Account that the bank acknowledges that monies in the Client Money Account must not be combined with, or transferred to, any other account maintained by the Member, and the bank shall not be entitled to exercise any right of set up or counterclaim against money in that Client Money Account in respect of any sum owed to it in respect of any other account of the Member firm.

e) Keep records and accounts which show all dealings with Client Money, and demonstrate that all Client Money held by the Firm are held in a Client Money Account.

 

As regards handling Client Money, we:

a) Have and comply with written procedures for handling Client Money.

b) Publish our procedures for handling Client Money on our website.

c) Provide a copy of our procedures for handling Client Money to any person who may reasonably require a copy.

d) Keep records and accounts that show all dealings with Client Money.

e) Repay any Client Money, including where feasible any interest earned, without delay if there is no longer any requirement to retain that money or it needs to be paid back in accordance with the tenancy deposit scheme; and

f) Hold and maintain professional indemnity insurance cover that is appropriate for the Member’s size, income, type of work and the amount of Client Money held.

 

General controls

  • Employees have clear segregation of duties and responsibilities and that a Principal or appropriately qualified individual oversees the client accounting function.

  • Employ competent and knowledgeable staff who are responsible for processing clients’ money.

  • Accounting systems and client data are securely controlled and protected.

  • Computer systems are adequately protected for access, firewalls, back-ups and disaster recovery.

  • There is adequate cover for holiday and long-term absence.

  • Principals cannot and do not override controls surrounding the accounting system.

  • All areas of the business apply the same level of controls in relation to the client accounting function.

 

Client bank accounts

  • We hold clients’ money in one or more client bank accounts separate from all other monies. 

  • The bank account is correctly titled to include the name of the Firm and the word “client” to distinguish the account from an office or any other account. 

  • We advise clients in writing of the bank account details (account name and name and address of the bank).

 

Client Accounting Systems and Controls

  • Accounting records and systems are appropriate to the nature and volumes of client account transactions.

  • Systems provide details of all money received into and paid from all client accounts and show a running balance of all client money held in that account.

  • Systems identify all receipts and payments to the client to which they relate.

  • Accounting records are completed chronologically and promptly.

  • All ledgers have the client name, reference number and an appropriate description, e.g. the property address.

  • Adequate controls are in place over unidentified client money to ensure that such funds are kept securely. The client should be located and funds allocated accordingly.

  • A central list of client bank accounts is maintained including dates of opening and closing of accounts.

  • Reconciliation is completed at least once every month where clients’ money is held in a general client account.

  • Reconciliations are reviewed and signed off by a Principal or an appropriate independent senior member of staff.

  • Client accounting records, including copies of reconciliations, are securely kept for at least six years plus the current year.

 

Controls over the receipt of client money

The Firm ensures that:

  • Only a Principal or appropriate staff independent of accounting staff open incoming post.

  • Procedures exist to ensure all clients’ money is banked within three working days.

  • All cash and cheques received by post or by hand are promptly recorded.

  • Procedures exist to identify and distinguish between clients’ and office money.

  • Mixed monies are initially paid into a client account and the office element is paid to the office account when the receipt has cleared the bank.

  • Fees received in advance for professional work not yet billed are paid into a client account pending completion of the work.

  • Controls over the physical security of cash are effective.

  • Unbanked client money receipts are kept secure.

 

Controls over the payment of Client Money

The Firm ensures that:

  • Checks are made to ensure that sufficient funds are held on behalf of the relevant client before payments are made.

  • Adequate authorisation and supervision procedures are in place for payments made by cheque, bank transfer and electronic methods.

  • Insurance and adequate Principal supervision are in place where payments are made by non-principals.

  • All payment requests have supporting evidence and that documentation has been authorised in advance by a Principal or other appropriate person.

  • Blank cheques are not signed, and unused cheques are kept securely.

  • Effective controls are in place over the setting up of new supplier accounts on the system.

  • Cash payments are avoided.