Millar & Bryce to partner with data intelligence firm Armalytix to enhance anti-money laundering checks

Millar & Bryce, Scotland’s premier land property search expert, has today announced its partnership with Armalytix, a data intelligence firm that allows the safe sharing of financial insights.

With Source of Funds (SoF) and Share of Wealth (SoW) checks both a mandatory requirement, this partnership will allow Millar & Bryce’s legal customers to conduct faster and more effective checks that provide greater insights and reduce their risk in transactions.

Home movers are able to share data via Open Banking services to deliver the financial insight law firms require to run comprehensive anti-money laundering (AML), fraud and financial risk checks. Evidence collated via Armalytix can be used to build the rationale as to how a client can fund the transaction and provide assurance that these funds were obtained through legal and visible means.

Millar & Bryce customers will also have access to new modular features, including;

  • Dedicated Commercial Property journey
  • Income Verification
  • Upfront financial fact findings
  • Market-leading analysis
  • Legal Eye endorsed questionnaires

Richard Hepburn, Managing Director at Millar & Bryce, commented:

We’re delighted to be signing this partnership agreement and working with one of the UK’s foremost companies in the provision of data for AML checks. This agreement will allow Millar & Bryce customers to enhance their AML checks and will provide them with peace of mind that they have all the information necessary to make a decision on a client and demonstrate that to the regulators.

Our commitment to the continual improvement of our tech stack to complement the huge knowledge and experience we have within the team is now bearing fruit, and we are now seeking to further enhance that via relationships with data providers such as Armalytix.

 Tom Lyes, Head of Legal and Property at Armalytix, stated:

Partnerships are incredibly important to us at Armalytix and we’re excited to be working with our first partner in Scotland. From speaking to Millar & Bryce’s MD, Richard Hepburn, and Director of Operations, Gary Donaldson, it’s really clear that they have a wealth of experience in the Scottish market and really know their clients’ regulatory requirements. Our partnership allows access to our market leading solution to transform the complex, manual process of Source of Funds and Wealth checks.

We’re holding a joint webinar on Wednesday 11th October looking at the challenges faced by property lawyers when it comes to collecting and reviewing SoF information and how technology can help aid faster, more accurate risk based decisions. Click here to register for the webinar.

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Landmark property Trends Report - Q2 2023

A subdued market struggling with uncertain conditions   

The residential sector is still navigating a period of uncertainty. Although listing activity has strengthened this quarter – with June ‘23 outperforming June ’19 by 10% in Scotland and 12% in England & Wales – demand remains weak with volumes struggling to progress through the transactional pipeline. 

Overall, this trend is likely due to ongoing high interest rates, restricted mortgage availability and affordability being squeezed as the cost-of-living crisis continues to impact the sector.   

As a result, our report shows lower volumes have been feeding through to the rest of the transaction pipeline. In Scotland, the market seems to be more resilient. When compared to Q2 2019 levels, our data found that STTM levels were down 10%, completion activity reduced by 13% and registered sales dropped by 11%.  

In England and Wales, if we compare the same period in 2019, SSTC volumes were down 30%, residential search order levels dropped by 32% and completion volumes were reduced by 39%. 

Landmark CEO Simon Brown commented:  

“While there is strong supply in the residential market, the sector continues to be impacted by the cost-of-living-crisis, with mortgage availability and then affordability limiting consumers’ ability to move. We will only see activity flow through the pipeline once the market finds a balance between interest rates, inflation and the cost of housing. When that time comes, speeding up property transactions – which now take an average of 133 days in England and Wales – will be essential to ensuring a swift and sustained recovery.” 

Click here to access the Cross-Market Activity edition of Landmark’s Q2 2023 Residential Property Trends report.  

NB: In order to benchmark pipeline performance, this report compares our latest data with 2019 as the last ‘normal’ trading year.  

Millar & Bryce to help bring empty homes back into use

Property title and land register information provider Millar & Bryce is to partner with the Scottish Empty Homes Partnership following a successful trial period.

The Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, funded by the Scottish Government and hosted by charity Shelter Scotland, aims to support councils to bring 43,000 empty properties across Scotland back into use.

The initiative is undertaken in partnership with local authorities who identify the private owners of empty homes and support the property to become a home for someone again.

Transparency of property ownership can be a challenge in Scotland where over 30% of land and property is locked in the historic 400-year-old Sasine Register.

Unlocking this data and providing answers on ownership is the main barrier to getting homes that have been empty for a significant period, back into occupation.

Using its 400 years of Sasine Register expertise and digital platforms, Millar & Bryce helped Moray Council identify the private owners of a number of empty homes.

Following the successful trial, Millar & Bryce will be able to collaborate with other local authorities in the SEHP network and help them unlock access to the empty homes in their area.

Andy Moseley, policy and projects manager, Scottish Empty Homes Partnership, said: “Empty homes are a wasted resource at a time of a housing emergency in Scotland, and it is our mission to make sure these homes are brought back into use wherever possible.”

However, there are challenges to this, including difficulties in finding out who owns an empty property, where they have been empty for several years or even decades in some cases. Millar and Bryce have been able to address these issues and help Local Authorities speed up the process through their search expertise and tech led platforms. We’re looking forward to working with them in the future and unlocking access to more empty homes across Scotland.

Richard Hepburn, managing director of Millar & Bryce, a Landmark Information Group business, added: “With the property market under pressure, it is vital that we are able to bring homes back into use to boost supply.

The opportunity to deploy Millar and Bryce’s skills in complex property and land ownership identification in such a beneficial way for communities across Scotland will help to ensure we can unlock homes quicker for people.

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The New Register of Overseas Entities

Hot on the heels of the introduction of the Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest in Land (RCI) last month, we are about to see further measures implemented. These measures will give additional transparency on foreign ownership of land and property in the UK and crack down on foreign criminals using UK property to launder money.

Unlike the RCI, which is held by the Registers of Scotland to show who has significant influence or control over the owner of land in Scotland, the new Register of Overseas Entities (ROE) is UK-wide in scope and will give details of the beneficial ownership of all overseas entities that own UK property. Overseas entities will not be able to buy, sell, transfer or lease land, or create a charge against the land in the UK unless they have registered in the ROE, which will be held and maintained by Companies House.

Similar to the transparency aims of the RCI, the ROE will require anonymous foreign owners of UK property to disclose their identities to ensure that they cannot hide behind secretive chains of shell companies.

Once the overseas entity has registered and provided all the necessary information, an ID will be provided by Companies House for the entity. In Scotland this ID will need to be shared with the Keeper of the Registers of Scotland and used whenever the overseas entity buys, sells, transfers, leases or charges land in Scotland.

The measures under the ROE will apply to any company or similar legal entity that is governed by the law of a non-UK country. Overseas entities that already own land in the UK will be given 6 months to register their beneficial owners or managing officers from the date that the register is launched. 

Companies House are contacting all overseas entities captured by the Act that own land in Scotland (and England and Wales) to make sure they are aware of their new responsibilities. The measures will apply retrospectively to property bought since December 2014 in Scotland (and since January 1999 in England and Wales).

Amendments are being made to the Land Registration etc (Scotland) Act 2012 requiring the Keeper to reject applications for registration in favour of unregistered overseas entities.

If you are acting in conveyancing transaction for a party transacting with an overseas entity, you will need to confirm that the overseas entity is registered in the ROE. You will also have to confirm the date of registration, the entity’s ID reference and that the entries for the entity in the ROE are up –to date.

The launch date for the new register is yet to be announced, however you can be assured that Millar & Bryce will be on hand to provide you with a search in the ROE when applicable.

Please contact us on 0131 556 1313 or for more information.

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The Register of Inhibitions and what it means for Millar & Bryce Customers

We have recently had a number of enquiries regarding searches in the Register of Inhibitions (ROI).

We have received these enquiries because Registers of Scotland (ROS) recent withdrawal of their bulk supply of daily applications to the ROI. The provision of this bulk data previously allowed us to create and maintain a database of ROI entries and apply enhanced searching rules.

We want to take this opportunity to assure you that Millar & Bryce will continue to provide this enhanced level of searching against names and variants of names in the ROI.

What does it mean in practice?

Since we were first made aware of the withdrawal of this service around three years ago, we have been working with ROS to access the register via an API. We have invested considerable time and IT tech resource to ensure that we continue to apply enhanced names searching and minimise any risk of missing an adverse entry in the ROI.

What does this mean for you?

It’s for these reasons that we have invested in our processes and technology to minimise the risk for you within the legal sector. Please be assured there will be no change in the Millar & Bryce process; we will continue to not only search against names provided but to also search against all reasonable name and address variants.

Our team is on hand to help with any further queries you might have. Please contact us on 0131 556 1313 or for more information.

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Landmark Residential Property Trends Report – January 2023

Landmark’s Residential Property Trends Report is now live, providing key insights for Q4 2022. This report shows the entire residential transaction pipeline in England, Scotland and Wales, tracking all the important milestones from listings to SSTC, and searches instructed to completions.

A market on hold?

Landmark’s Residential Property Trends Report delivers a concise view of the entire residential transaction pipeline in England, Scotland and Wales.

Q4 2022 data covers the period after late September’s fiscal event. Download the report below to find out more about the market after-effects, including:

  • The impact on supply and demand for UK residential properties
  • Completions trends across Q4, compared with the pre-pandemic benchmark
  • How search volumes and SSTC compare in England, Wales and Scotland

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Millar & Bryce Search Capability Integrated into Denovo Platform

Integration will allow conveyancers to make property searches from within Denovo’s CaseLoad platform


Millar & Bryce are delighted to be able to announce our integration with case management specialists Denovo Business Intelligence

The integration will allow lawyers using Denovo’s CaseLoad software platform to order property searches through Millar & Bryce. All ordering, updates and report downloads sync automatically with CaseLoad, including the M&B invoice. Conveyancing teams working within CaseLoad can order core search products from Millar & Bryce, without ever leaving their case management system.

The integration has taken place as more lawyers have called for increasingly sophisticated software to help them in their everyday tasks. The integration will support conveyancing teams by saving them precious time in not having to leave their case management platform, providing the information needed to support their transaction, when they need it.

By having Millar & Bryce’s search capabilities embedded within their case management system, conveyancing teams will remove the need for information to be rekeyed, reducing errors and ensuring reports are received directly back into the relevant matter inside CaseLoad.

Millar & Bryce, as part of the wider Landmark Information Group, have worked to upgrade to the latest cloud technologies over the past three years and are now beginning to see the fruits of this investment in initiatives like this with Denovo Business Intelligence all with the aim of enabling  better and faster servicing of customers through enhanced search order and production technology.

Richard Hepburn, Managing Director of Millar & Bryce said: “We’re delighted to get this integration complete and start to see the tangible benefits that we know it will bring to Denovo customers. Current case management integrations in the Scottish market tend to be simple clickable links to open the search provider’s online platform, so still requiring extra time in rekeying information and risking errors. This new integration will see Denovo customers offered an unparalleled experience as they will be able to make time and efficiency savings by ordering reports and receiving results from Millar & Bryce without leaving CaseLoad”.

Steven Hill, Operations Director at Denovo, added: “This is an exciting moment for Denovo and for our law firm clients. We now have the ability to expand our case management software capabilities by integrating with Millar & Bryce. The integration provides CaseLoad users with the ability to create property searches in minutes using existing matter data, dramatically reducing the possibility of manual input errors. One click sending, status updates returned automatically, reports being auto downloaded to the matter, and having the ability to add multiple products to single orders, reducing data input and the time taken to place orders, are just a few of the benefits law firms will inherit by using this integration. Partnering with Millar & Bryce helps to further streamline the CaseLoad user experience. We will continue to work closely to ensure our customers can accurately and efficiently process and progress orders all from one place.”

About Millar & Bryce

Established in 1875, Millar & Bryce has been supporting the legal profession providing title information, conveyancing searches and land reference services.  Employing 100+ experienced searchers, geospatial experts and technologists, the company combines time-honoured professionalism with modern-day innovation, supporting decision makers on buying, selling, conveyancing and financing land and property transactions.  

As a wholly-owned business unit within Landmark Information Group, Millar & Bryce can draw on expertise focused on the entire property process including estate agency, surveyor, lender, broker, land agency and developer services alongside property lawyers, all backed up by world class technology platforms and solutions.  At the start of 2022 Landmark Scotland was launched to bring these disparate services together with a direct focus on the Scottish property market.    

About Denovo Business Intelligence

We’ve been developing legal case management software to help the legal industry for over 30 years. Our software is solicitor led, meaning we collaborate with solicitors to design and develop software solutions and services for law firms in the UK. We have built a cloud-based legal software platform that is dynamic, fully customisable and ever-evolving.

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All you need to know about coal reports

The heyday of coal mining in the UK is well and truly behind us. According to a report by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy in 2016, at its peak coal mining employed over 1.19m people in the 1920s.  However, the many coalfields that operated across the country, such as those in Durham, Wales, Scotland, Yorkshire, Kent and across the Midlands, all closed several decades ago and fossil fuels are no longer in favour.

In fact, the consumption of coal as an energy source has dramatically fallen. Mining has virtually stopped and coal represents approximately five per cent of overall energy usage – much of which is now imported from other countries.

While many consider coal mining as something that has been dispatched to the history books, it leaves behind a significant and long-lasting legacy that will continue to have an impact well into the future.  Namely, ground stability poses a real hazard for properties located over mine workings.

When transacting properties, it is important to consider ground risks as part of the due diligence work.  Mining coal below the ground has the ability to cause subsidence. With deep mining this lowering of the surface takes place over a relatively short period of time. This can manifest itself as tension or ‘compression strains’, resulting in damage to buildings or quite simply a lowering of the surface and no damage at all. Shallower workings do not consolidate in the same way and the impact of these can continue for much longer, representing a continued present-day risk.

What is important to understand is that an area affected at the surface by mining activities may just be the tip of the iceberg.  People are often unaware that the area considered to be at risk could in fact far greater than the immediate site of historic coalfields, due to the multiple angles, directions and depths involved in the mining process.

To calculate ground stability risk as accurately as possible, the ‘Zone of Influence’ (ZOI) needs to be taken into consideration, but what is this?

The ZOI is a complex three-dimensional calculation that is based upon the depth and slope of the workings, together with the surface terrain. Due to the various angles, directions and depths often involved, it is not sufficient to simply create a ‘buffer’ around the underground workings

These complex ZOI calculations are important and take into account a huge amount of data, which enables ground stability risks associated with mining activities to be assessed with a very high degree of accuracy.

People may say “coal mining was all a long time ago – what is the relevance today?” Within an area affected by deep workings the number of properties damaged is not universal or consistent, and subsidence or sinkholes remain a current risk, particularly given that historic mines or workings are no longer being maintained.

Obtaining a coal mining report enables prospective purchasers to be made fully aware of the risks and to see whether there is any history of damage – including where a claim has been made, or been rejected.

If the claim was accepted and repairs were carried out, it is suggested that you might want to commission a survey to check if the repairs are of an adequate standard.

In addition, if compensation was paid instead of repairs, it is important to know why and what, if anything, was done in relation to the damage.  It gives the buyer the opportunity to research into the detail before the transaction completes.

Landmark’s Coal Mining Report – powered by PinPoint –provides all the standard answers required by the Law Society together with additional information about mine entries and claims when they are reported. The reports are supported by professional opinion from a Chartered Minerals Surveyor.

Therefore, while active coal mining may well be condemned to the history books in the UK, the after-effects leave behind a lasting legacy that certainly means it will not be forgotten. Forewarned is forearmed.

Speak to us today about ordering a Landmark Coal Report.

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Landmark Information Group appoints Business Development Director to extend commercial strategy in Scotland

With a strategic focus on developing its reach in the Scottish property market, Landmark Information Group, the UK’s largest property and land data business, has announced the appointment of Lorna Kerr as Business Development Director, Scotland.

Lorna joins from OnTheMarket where she led the rollout and market growth of the estate agency portal in Scotland, building on previous sales and business development experience with s1homes, the property site of Newsquest Media Group in Scotland.  Her extensive experience, knowledge and contacts means Lorna is ideally placed to promote and develop the local market presence for Landmark Information Group.

Lorna will work closely with senior leaders across Landmark’s business units, including Scottish legal search and due diligence provider Millar & Bryce, Landmark Estate Agency Services, Landmark Valuation Services and Optimus panel management, to deliver best-in-class products, services and market-leading data to the total Scottish property industry.

Richard Hepburn, Managing Director for Landmark’s Millar & Bryce said, “Lorna’s market knowledge and experience greatly complements Landmark’s overall commercial strategy for the Scotland region.  She is a great asset to the Landmark business; with an initial focus on the estate agency sector, Lorna has the opportunity to provide additional local support to existing customers, while also identifying new opportunities to provide tailored service solutions from across Landmark’s wide-ranging product portfolio. We all extend a very warm welcome to Lorna.”

Lorna Kerr, Business Development Director for Landmark Scotland commented, “I’m excited to join Landmark Information Group and to have the opportunity to grow awareness of the Group’s products and services across the legal, estate agency, surveying and mortgage markets in Scotland. It’s also fantastic to have the support, infrastructure and established market legacy of Millar & Bryce to lean on as a solid base for development of new services specifically for the local property market.”

For more information on Landmark Information Group, telephone 0330 0366 000, or visit

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M&B Celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week, we’d like to pay tribute to those within the Millar & Bryce family who have made a herculean effort to achieve their apprenticeships during such an extraordinary time. 

Our 2020 graduates have now gained an industry recognised qualification, and we have another five apprentices set to graduate in 2021.

Richard Hepburn, Managing Director, Millar & Bryce, comments: “From a business perspective, the focused knowledge they have gained aligns us much more closely with our customers as well as demonstrating our commitment not only to the property industry, but to our employees’ professional development. We have always invested in our people, and with funding available to businesses who are willing to invest in their staff, the decision to create a brighter future for individuals and businesses becomes that much easier.”

Ellie Wilson, Administration Assistant, saw her paralegal apprenticeship as a good opportunity. “To be the first group at M&B to undertake this course was nerve-wracking, but I think it went very well and I believe this could help lead me down a possible career path. It’s also something else to put on my CV.” Claire Baxter, Personal Searcher in the Operations Team, agrees. “After reading all the information about the Apprenticeship and what I would get out of it, I couldn’t turn down such a rewarding opportunity.”

The commitment to studying alongside a full-time job was not without its challenges. Ellie said, “With the global pandemic going on and being in lockdown, it was certainly challenging not being able to physically go over to my manager or other members of staff for support (although this was still available over the phone or by message).” Claire echoes this sentiment. “Some of the course content for me is quite hard to take in due to the nature of it – Scots Law is heavy reading! I’m really interested in the course, though, and am looking forward to increasing my knowledge.”

Time management was also the biggest challenge for Sandra Stolecka, Finance Assistant, who is taking the graduate apprenticeship in accounting to become a professional accountant. Already holding a Master’s in Economics, Sandra enjoys the flexibility of being able to learn and work at the same time. “Hopefully after five years I become an accountant, and this will bring plenty of opportunities for the finance department, as I will be able to tackle more tasks which, at the moment, I am unable to do.”

It’s clear to see how the apprenticeships benefit both the employee and the business. Claire said, “I’ll be a lot more confident within my own job role, and it’ll give me the determination to try new things within the business, whether that’s learning a new role or helping on new projects.” Ellie agrees, “I think this gave me a great opportunity to learn more about conveyancing relating to M&B, and I can use this knowledge in my day-to-day role. I was provided with great resources which I can always look back on. I feel grateful to have had this opportunity. For the business, I think this has been a real success.”

The course is provided through distance learning and quarterly on-site support from Scotia Law Training. Apprentices learn the necessary skills, law and compliance rules required to work to paralegal level. Munro McCannell, Managing Director at Scotia Law, comments: “The apprentice will become a more effective, productive and motivated member of staff, and we’re delighted to have worked with Millar & Bryce these last twelve months, and share our congratulations to the most recent graduates. We look forward to supporting the next cohort on their journey in 2021.”

Darren Mossman, Snr HR Manager, comments: ‘We are very excited to support our people in their professional development. Working in collaboration with Skills Development Scotland and our training partners we have been able to increase our number of apprentices year on year and launched our first Graduate Apprenticeship programme in Accounting in late 2020. The value to the business in backing talent through apprenticeships is not only recognised with the increase in skills and knowledge but highlighted in the feedback from the apprentices themselves. We are sure our apprentices will enjoy the courses they are undertaking albeit it is challenging in the current climate. We encourage all Scottish businesses to consider apprenticeships, especially with the financial help available, the opportunity for individuals to gain an industry recognised qualification and the positive impact it has on the apprentices themselves.’

The training is part funded and until 25 March 2021, there are grants payable to employers up to £5,000, via Skills Development Scotland. Chair of Skills Development Scotland, Frank Mitchel, comments: “Additional funding for employers to recruit apprentices means sustaining vital opportunities for people to work, learn and earn, while ensuring businesses have the critical skills they need”.

If you would like more information, please email

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