View more on these topics

Legal action

Small legal firms must watch out for the banks and supermarkets

The legal services industry has recently experienced a major shake-up. In the past, for a legal practice to operate, lawyers had to be the majority owners of the firm. As plenty of us know, often at our own expense, this resulted in a number of small and often less competent firms being able to successfully trade.

However, with the introduction of the Legal Services Act, you no longer needed to pass the law society exam to own a firm and as such, banks and supermarkets are now also able to sell consumer legal services in England and Wales. This means that the market has been blown wide open.

From the consumer’s point of view, this move means that there will much more choice available and, perhaps more importantly, at a competitive rate. However, for many smaller legal firms, they will now find it increasingly hard to compete in the market and in order to be economically viable, the only option available is to amalgamate with other businesses.

This development ought to be viewed as a great opportunity for well-qualified IFAs to team up with legal firms in order to grow both businesses and to offer an extended range of services to existing clients.

At the moment, many solicitors act as trustees and as such, have an obligation to take care of investments. This means that they can be liable if they have not managed a client’s money in an appropriate manner.

Teaming up with better-qualified IFAs would help to reduce this risk and provide a better service to their clients.

On the other side of the coin, it is not always appropriate for IFAs to get involved with specific trusts and so linking up with a legal firm could provide a welcome solution to this problem as well as a good source of reciprocal business.

Both IFAs and legal firms need to be more imaginative about where they are getting their business from. The legal market is becoming increasingly crowded and so lawyers, particularly those with smaller firms, need to make sure that they do not get swept away by the tide of supermarkets and banks that can now offer a cheaper and sometimes more accessible service.

The Legal Services Act is just one example of how this industry is continuously evolving and in order to survive, the businesses within the market must develop too.

Sheriar Bradbury is managing director of Bradbury Hamilton



Aegon: Dismissing AMDs could harm consumers

Aegon has warned The Pensions Regulator’s hardline stance on active member discounts risks damaging the private sector and could lead to members receiving less money at retirement. In a statement to defined-contribution scheme trustees issued earlier this month, the regulator warned pension schemes it does not view the deals as either “fair” or “acceptable”. TPR […]

Bridging lenders seek exemption

The Association of Short Term Lenders is seeking a total exemption for bridging lenders from the European Commission’s mortgage credit directive. Under proposals in the draft directive, lenders must provide borrowers with a European standardised information sheet giving key information about the loan being offered and must assess affordability. Currently, only first-charge bridging lending is […]


Google, Amazon, Apple – how will platforms stack up?

As Zurich throws its hat into the wrap race, the number of platforms has risen to 26 – and counting. Debate continues about how many platforms the market can sustain but it important to start to think about platforms in a different way. The discussion has always focused on ownership. Is it a life company, […]

Old Mutual appoints Paul Feeney

Old Mutual has appointed Paul Feeney into the newly created role of chief executive of asset management for the Old Mutual Long Term Savings division. Feeney is expected to join in early January, subject to completion of regulatory approvals. Feeney will be responsible for all the Old Mutual LTS asset management businesses in Skandia Investment […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm