Muve Conveyances: Disrupting a UK Industry Built on Centuries of Tradition

The Sri Lankan unit of UK-based Muve Conveyancers is leading a digital revolution to transform a £4 billion legacy industry in an area of law that still requires tonnes of paperwork.

The digital upheaval that is influencing consumer habits and transforming many industries across the world is yet to disrupt the legal industry, which is still buried in paperwork and locked in complex procedures. Conveyancing is one such vast area of legal practice. Tracing its modern origins to the mid-1800s, it deals with the complex process of transfer of property titles from a seller to a buyer which involves title deeds, navigating different contract types and covenants as well as mortgages and flagging risks.

On average, UK property conveyancing takes about 16 weeks to complete and is often handled by two people. However, the UK based Muve Conveyancers believes there is an opportunity to disrupt this area of the industry, which still seems to be stuck in time. In 2016, David Jabbari, Claus Werner, and Dan Watkins co-founded Muve to provide faster property transaction completion to clients complete with progress transparency at a competitive price.

“Ultimately, our delivery model is unique in the market because we have taken a complex process and successfully segmented and cascaded tasks to the most qualified and appropriate resources. This is a radical shift compared to the traditional conveyancing model with its complex and time-consuming processes that are cumbersome for end consumer and the employees themselves,” Adam Gamage-Brooker, Managing Director, Muve Colombo said.

The company’s conveyancing framework comprises three segments: First, Muve built a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which stores all client documentation and stakeholder communications, which is rare in conveyancing that relies on physical documents!

“This CRM is more effective than any we have seen. Anyone can now access a file and be clear on what has happened, who is responsible for the next milestone and what is the path to completion of a case,” Gamage-Brooker says.

Second, Muve also has portals for other stakeholders such as estate agents and mortgage brokers.

“This enables them to know exactly where we are, what we are doing, and what requirements they need to fulfil. This will act as a repository for homeowners’ key documentation moving forward, saving time and effort with every move”.

Third, Muve’s Customer Charter which articulate its commitments to clients are the most aggressive in the market. Clients are also able to give feedback on Muve’s Trustpilot review page.

“The level of commitment to customers in our Customer Charter would not be possible to deliver without the technology we have built which flags upcoming tasks and chases required, and provides management reporting to ensure compliance to these high service standards”. Entering Sri Lanka in 2017 for its young and qualified talent pool, Muve transferred its LPO activities – document processing and payment outsourcing – to Sri Lanka through a joint venture with Adam Gamage-Brooker, a Strategy Consultant, and Rashani Meegama, an Attorney-at-Law. Starting with only three people in Rashani’s home library and gradually growing to 75 staff (and 30 in London) today, the firm hopes to increase the team to 100 people by the end of 2020, with over 30 LLB graduates and Attorneys.

What compelled Muve to set up an office here was the highly educated and excellent English-speaking workforce and the similarities in the legal systems of the UK and Sri Lanka and the large pool of talent in related areas. Gamage-Brooker says the quality of the service provided by Muve Colombo has been the most effective and competitive over and above the other service providers Muve had been engaging with within the region prior to acquiring the Colombo business. Muve Colombo has evolved from a back-office unit to become a true partner with the parent firm onboarding additional functions across the business.

Over half the members in its 75-strong team in Colombo serve customers directly and are proud of the tremendous service provided from Sri Lankan shores. In 2019, Muve acquired the Sri Lankan operations to fully own the endto-end process along with the unique technologies developed inhouse. Muve Colombo presents young legal professionals with career opportunities away from the traditional options of the Sri Lankan court system and corporates.

At Muve, they can gain international legal exposure in a fast-paced and challenging environment

“We have a vibrant and incredibly talented team of conveyancers, account managers, and processing staff. We have a performance-based rewards scheme and have an open-door policy across the business where everyone’s voice is equal,” says Mithrika Ekanayake, Manager – Legal Practice. The Colombo office is central to Muve’s aggressive growth strategy.

‘LegalTech’ has become a reality in just three months accelerated by covid-19. “We are now in the enviable position of having to turn away new clients to ensure we maintain the our high service levels, however, we are also growing the business.” Muve is a £4 million revenue firm and, with the recent venture capital investment of £1.3 million, aims to grow the firm to be among the Top 5 Conveyancers in the UK by 2025 with a revenue in excess £20 million.

With digital technology aligning its people and processes, Muve is poised to achieve that goal, whilst creating rewarding careers in Sri Lanka.