Millar & Bryce celebrates Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2024

This week is Scottish Apprenticeship Week (4 to 8 March) and to celebrate we’d like to shine a light on the important and valuable role our apprentices play here at Millar & Bryce.

Skills Generation is this year’s theme of the week, and we are proud to join around the 12,000 apprentice employers in Scotland, supporting the new generation of Scotland’s skilled workforce, for now and in the future.

Darren Mossman, Senior Regional HR & Facilities Manager, comments: “Investing in our people is critical to the future of our business and through our continued investment in Modern and Graduate apprenticeships has ensured our employees are able to build necessary skills to support them in their role but also our clients. Apprenticeships provide a crucial bridge between education and employment, offering employees valuable hands-on experience, industry recognised qualifications and a pathway to sustainable careers, they massively contribute to building a skilled workforce for the future.”

At Millar & Bryce we offer both a Modern and Graduate Apprenticeship. Darren continues, “Millar & Bryce have been supporting Modern Apprenticeships for many years and more recently have partnered with Scotia Law Training who deliver the Modern Apprenticeship in Paralegal Practice. In addition we have expanded into Graduate Apprenticeships and have employees studying a Graduate Apprenticeship at Robert Gordon University which will see them achieve an honours degree in Business Management after four years.”

Leona Ferguson, Operations Team Manager, now in year two of a four-year Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management comments, Undertaking a Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management has given opportunities to combine academic knowledge with practical skills and applying these in real time in the business. It’s been reinforcing some of the skills and knowledge I already had whilst enhancing my “toolbox” with new learnings, boosting my confidence in my ability. I’ve had opportunities to connect with other leaders in group and learn from their experiences and included my team in these to help grow their knowledge and experiences too. This has brought about efficiency ideas and new customer experience suggestions.

It isn’t always easy juggling work, studying and life, especially if you have been out of formal education for a few years, however, there is lots of support from Robert Gordon University (RGU) and the business which helps make it a little easier. If anyone was to consider this route, then my advice would be “go for it”! You aren’t going to lose anything so it’s a win, win!”

Beth Farquhar, Operations Support Coordinator, entering year two of the Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management comments, “My manager offered the Graduate Apprenticeship in Business Management at RGU for all the hard work and the potential she saw in me. I was worried I would be quite overwhelmed with the workload of a full-time course and a full-time job. Millar & Bryce have been amazing though. They have given me time to focus on my university work and I think it’s the reason I am doing as well as I am, as I have had their support.

I’m almost finished with my first year – its flown by – and I’m really enjoying it overall. I’ve learnt I great deal so far and am feeling positive about it helping me progress in my career. I am looking forward to beginning my second year. I’ve also learnt so much about myself, so it’s been beneficial for me in many aspects. 

The work-based learning subjects are related to the conveyancing profession that Millar & Bryce serve. Gary Donaldson, Operations Director, comments, “I’m delighted that we are celebrating Scottish Apprenticeship Week. Work based learning has been remarkable for Millar & Bryce, we have seen our apprentices gain skills, experience and confidence that have helped develop them personally and professionally. The knowledge that this learning brings has also allowed interactions with our customers to be more meaningful, benefitting both our apprentices and our customers.”

If you would like more information, please email

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WEBINAR: Source of Funds & Wealth 2024

It is reported that organised crime costs the UK economy more than £100bn every year. For legal and property firms, conveyancing plays a considerable role in deterring money laundering cases.

With Source of Funds (SoF) and Source of Wealth (SoW) checks both a mandatory requirement for legal and property firms, Conveyancers are showing it is possible to tackle the financial crime increase at one transaction point.

Our partnership with Armalytix has created an effortlessly customer experience to conduct faster and more effective SoF and SoW checks that provide greater insights and reduce your risk in transactions.

We hosted a session with Tom Lyes, Head of Legal at Armalytix, and Kate Burt, Founder of HiveRisk, on Source of Funds & Wealth: Top Tips and Guidance on Wednesday 21st February 2024. Highlights from the webinar include:

  • Expectations from regulators: with a focus on The Law Society of Scotland guidance on funds derived from Crypto
  • Navigating complex challenges: key principles, common pitfalls, issues and risks with Source of Funds
  • Technology Insights: How can technology help with the Source of Funds process
  • Expert panel discussions: A common question from the audience was whether costs be passed onto clients. Tom Lyes states, “There is nothing to stop firms charging for AML as a fee, but they would need to include a paragraph in their terms of business. They can also show it as a separate fee and VAT on the fee note.” 

To view the presentation, click here.

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Festive Opening Times 2023

Over the festive period, our office hours will vary from usual. Our Christmas opening times are as follows:

  • Friday 22nd December: Normal office opening hours
  • Monday 25th December: Bank Holiday: Office closed
  • Tuesday 26th December: Bank Holiday: Office closed
  • Wednesday 27th December: Normal office opening hours
  • Thursday 28th December: Normal office opening hours
  • Friday 29th December: Normal office opening hours
  • Monday 1st January: Bank Holiday: Office closed
  • Tuesday 2nd January: Bank Holiday: Office closed.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
We wish our customers and partners a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year. We look forward to our continued partnership in 2024.

Thompsons Solicitors Scotland announced winners of Firm of the Year at Scottish Legal Awards

Thompsons Solicitors Scotland crowned winners of Firm of the Year at this year’s Scottish Legal Awards.

During a fantastic evening, the ultimate award of the night was Firm of the Year, sponsored by Millar & Bryce. This year the awards was presented to Thompson Solicitors following a series of high-profile winning campaigns and a successful strategic expansion into new areas of work.

Gary Donaldson, Operations Director at Millar & Bryce, commented:

“We’re delighted to be continuing our support of the Scottish Legal Awards, congratulations to all of the businesses that we shortlisted, it really is testament to the amount of hard work and dedication by all those involved. We’d like to wish an extra special congratulations to Thompsons Solicitors for winning firm of the year, a fantastic achievement that you should all be incredible proud of.”

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WEBINAR: More effective source of funds and share of wealth checks

Conveyancers must deal with a rising tide of regulation as efforts to tackle financial crime increase. Complying with these obligations to verify the source of a client’s funds and wealth is becoming more complicated as it becomes more critical. Many of these checks are still being carried out manually by firms through the collection of bank statements and client questionnaires.

Armalytix provides a solution to allow Millar & Bryce’s legal customers to conduct faster and more effective Source of Funds (SoF) and Share of Wealth (SoW) checks that provide greater insights and reduce your risk in transactions.

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.

We are holding a joint webinar at 10.30am 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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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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