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The pros and cons of partnering with solicitors

The pros and cons of partnering with solicitors

As more advisers team up with law firms to offer multiple services under one roof, the guests on this week's FTAdviser In Focus podcast issue a warning that certain conditions must be met for the partnership to succeed.

Financial and legal advice often go hand in hand and there should not be an artificial wall between them, says Tahina Akther, a barrister at Wild Cat Law, which is currently awaiting authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority to provide advice.

"Legal advice and financial services walk hand in hand for many clients and for many scenarios, therefore what we believe is that our service to clients should be based around their needs and not some artificial lines or silos that professions create."

She says this is already the case in family offices dealing with ultra high-net worth clients but it should be more readily available for more clients.

She says the benefits are "significant" as clients have all the services under one roof, which means a more consistent service, less admin duplication, and more joined up thinking when it comes to things such as estate planning.

But things do not always go well, as Informed Financial Planning has experienced, which had entered into joint ventures with two law firms in the past but stopped after things did not go as planned.

"I fully stand behind the joint venture idea, I think it's a great way to go about things and would encourage others to explore it, particularly if they do have strong connections with solicitors or accountant perhaps," says Josh Richardson, a chartered financial planner at the business.

"However on our side, while we had a few individuals who were very, very keen within the firms we had joined up with, getting wider engagement was difficult."

He says the problem was that the lawyers could become overly busy and would then not consider the financial services element in their legal advice.

Akther says: "It won't work for everyone because if it's two different businesses, that's where you have those sort of challenges as to where the interests are, is it the legal side or the financial services? It has to be homogenous and joined-up thinking."

To hear more about the motivations behind running a multi-service firm and the benefits it can bring to clients, as well as the risks in joining up with solicitors, click on the link above.

carmen.reichman@ft.com