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Sifa in joint ventures to boost all-round advice

Sifa in joint ventures to boost all-round advice

Sifa, the body which brings together solicitors and IFAs, has embarked on a series of developments to help the two sectors provide all-round financial services to UK consumers.

According to Ian Muirhead, chairman and founder of Sifa, and David Ingram, managing director of Sifa, the organisation "has a long issue of providing support for financial services firms" and aims to continue "evolution, innovation and support for professional firms".

To do this, Mr Ingram said Sifa was working more closely with professional bodies across 2017, as well as launching its new logo and website to refresh the brand.

He told attendees at Sifa's 25th Anniversary lunch in London last Friday (24th February): "We want to work with other professional bodies. Chartered and accredited firms are our best partners as we can be sure they take their advice processes seriously.

"To this end, we have joint ventures with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, and the Personal Finance Society/Chartered Insurance Institute coming up.

"We need to promote and help more firms to build joint ventures between advisers, accountants and lawyers to provide holistic advice for the end client. But this needs full commitment."

Sifa is also adopting new software to enable more secure communications. "We are not behind the times", said Mr Ingram. "We want to make sure any data sent form lawyers to advisers is known to be secure."

The communications platform is a more secure platform for client referrals. Solicitors will benefit from the IFAs being able to supply the information through the factfind, while legal compliance processes are included.

"We are introducing an online client referral service system with better automated processes for solicitors and adviser forms, as well as a system that assesses risk in a different, more consistent way", Mr Ingram said.

According to Mr Ingram, it is important that legal professionals move from a largely transactional relationship and understand how the relational model works between financial advisers and their clients.

He explained: "The market is moving forward towards these more aligned business structures and we are moving with it. We know where we are, we know where we are going and we have a map."

Mr Muirhead added: "Our initiative for training solicitors in financial services matters so that they can appreciate the synergy between legal and financial advice and identify referral opportunities is an important one.

"Also, it is [noteworthy that Sifa is doing a] version of the new on-line client referral service, which provides solicitors with all Sifa's relevant precedents and compliance documentation and provides a channel for on-going communication by the IFA."

This new online client referral service will enable solicitors to reduce their dependence on transactional business and maintain on-going client relationships.

Mr Muirhead added: "IFAs will benefit from law firms having a single centralised process for referrals within the law firm which will make it more difficult for competitors to gain a foothold."