WHEN operations director Christian Lister is not at his desk at the Warrington HQ of a leading property search company he could be anywhere in Europe.
Because as well as working for Xpress Legal, he is pursuing his unpaid role as an international mover and shaker on a mission to protect an industry under threat.
For ever since leaked documents revealed plans to partly privatise the body which registers the ownership of land and property in England and Wales – a move that could have catastrophic consequences for property search companies like X-Press Legal – Christian has been on 24 hour alert.
Christian, who is also chairman of the IPSA, a body which represents businesses in the property search sector and International Director of the Genesis Initiative which supports SMEs in Europe, toured the continent in search of allies for his campaign.
“The proposed part privatisation of the Land Registry would spark a tidal wave of change for property search companies and I was determined to do whatever was necessary to call a halt to it,” added Christian.
“The PSI Alliance in Brussels, which I co-founded seven years ago was my first port of call but then I moved on to talk to anyone and any organisation who could offer us support.
“I talked to members of the House of Commons as well as contacts in the House of Lords and was delighted to get some very useful support.
“I was also delighted to get some positive comments about our campaign from Business Secretary Vince Cable when I travelled to see him in Liverpool and present my concerns.
“In the end the debate on the proposed privatisation across the industry and the expressions of concern from various quarters had an impact. The proposed changes were put on hold and the Land Registry is now only moving forward with its bid for wider powers.
“We know they still plan to go for some form of privatisation but at least we in the Industry have a voice that they can’t ignore and the chance to explain our concerns in detail,” added Christian.
“The next landmark point in this debate is expected next April when we could see legislation granting the Land Registry wider powers.
“They have already signaled a desire to steer clear of legal and anti-competitive issues, so we will be watching them closely over the coming months.”
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