Solicitors for Independent Financial Advice is setting up a company aimed at helping solicitors cope with the changing financial services side of their business.
A network of Solicitors' Financial Centres will help to guide solicitors through new legislation such as the Trustees Act and pension sharing on divorce, which is leading them to work more with IFAs when giving clients financial advice.
When the FSA starts regulating law firms providing financial advice later this year, only about 3 per cent of law firms are expected to seek authorisation, increasing the need for solicitors and IFAs to work together.
The centres will be operated by solicitor IFAs in joint ventures with local law firms to meet the needs of the other 97 per cent.
SFC will provide management, financial, training, compliance and marketing supp- ort. A new software system, Fincenta, being developed by SFC and Exchange Financial Services will offer front-end compliance and back- office admin.
The first 25 to 30 centres will open in England in the third quarter of the year and will then extend to Scotland. The plan is to open two new centres every month for the next two years.
SFC director Ian Muirhead says: “Few law firms will be able to achieve the critical mass in financial ser-vices which will be required under the FSA regime. A common resource will be the best answer.”