Sifa has written to the Solicitors Regulation Authority warning that St James’s Place may be persuading solicitors to break Law Society rules and refer business to its multi-tied agents.
But SJP has denied the allegations and offered to meet with Sifa to discuss any concerns.
The representative body for solicitor IFAs says there is widespread anecdotal evidence that SJP is promoting itself as being eligible to receive referrals from solicitors.
Sifa managing director Ian Muirhead says he recently received an email from an adviser suggesting that at a recent seminar SJP was claiming it was the ‘preferred referee’ of both the Law Society and Institute of Chartered Accountants.
Under rules 12 and 19 of the Law Society’s code of conduct solicitors are only allowed to refer their clients for financial advice to IFAs or whole of market advisers.
Muirhead says Sifa has communicated these concerns to the Solicitors Regulation Authority who have asked for evidence of solicitors making referrals to SJP or other advisers who are not whole of market.
Muirhead says: “These are important rules laid down by the law society and we need to ensure they are being followed correctly. It is in the interests of all IFAs that solicitors should understand the significance of independence.
There is widespread anecdotal evidence that SJP is successfully persuading many solicitors that it is eligible to receive referrals- which it is not.”
An SJP spokesperson says: “St James’s Place understands the rules governing solicitors and accountants with regard to referrals and has not, nor has ever made any claims about preferential treatment. It takes allegations of this nature seriously and if Sifa can provide further details it will investigate specific cases. St James’s Place has written to Sifa and has offered to meet them to discuss any concerns they may have.”