The PEXA e-conveyancing platform has been growing quickly, aided by some state mandates forcing the use of the platform for nearly all conveyancing transactions. In 2018 the ASX and Infotrack (a property search and transaction services company) announced a collaboration called Sympli to create a rival e-conveyancing platform.

Now, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has weighed in with a report, published on 2 December 2019, on the need for e-conveyancing market reform to facilitate competition.

The ACCC says that e-conveyancing is a valuable service that is now at a crucial point in its evolution. Without market reform, the likely outcome is that PEXA will become a monopoly provider with the double whammy of high-costs and a loss of innovation in this important new area.

The options for the future are to require platform interoperability or to have a structure with a regulated monopoly in the supply chain. The challenge of interoperability is substantial and that is recognised in the paper.

The various states now have to decide on whether to implement a collective response. The importance of getting this right cannot be understated. Fundamentally, e-conveyancing has to be secure and reliable or it needs to be abandoned.

The ACCC report can be accessed here.

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