Every month, or more often if news requires, Members will receive a bulletin packed with updates and developments in the legal sector, with advice on how best to proceed and react with your own solicitor connections. SIFA Professional is also a frequent contributor to both online and print solicitor facing publications, such as the Law Society Gazette and Modern Lawyer. This content will be made available to Members to use and adapt with their own connections.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority has replaced the 16 hours a year CPD regime for solicitors with a continuing competency regime. Importantly, this extends to non-legal areas such as financial services, if this is relevant to the work they do. In order to provide the wherewithal for Members to develop the awareness of their solicitor connections of financial services matters, SIFA Professional has developed a suite of eight (subject to review and update) training modules, comprising slides and support text, which are available to Members on the SIFA Professional site
SIFA Professional (supported by Law Society accredited Accountancy Partner, Armstrong Watson,) also advises law firms and financial advisers on the setting up of JVs and alternative business structures permitted by the Legal Services Act and the related compliance requirements of the Solicitors Regulation Authority. Disclosure Agreements, for which SIFA Professional provides the precedents, are another way of enabling solicitors to justify retaining remuneration received from financial adviser partners. Entering into a structured business relationship of this nature may be appropriate but SIFA Professional can assist in the planning and discussions to ensure the venture has the best chance of success. SIFA Professional members obtain a 10% discount on agreed fees when working with Armstrong Watson.
As soon as they join us, all new SIFA Professional firms are invited to attend an interactive webinar. As part of their membership fee, they are also given a day’s consultancy each year for seminars, business planning meetings or discussions with solicitor connections (with individually pre-agreed agendas). Free monthly webcasts are also provided to which Members invite their solicitor connections, which assists them to build relevant continuing competence.
SIFA Professional’s 60-page loose-leaf hard copy manual, which is also available on the SIFA Professional Members' area of our site www.sifaprofessional.co.uk, contains guidance and precedents covering regulation, practice, marketing and business development techniques, seminars and meetings.
Amongst the guidance notes is the six-page ’20 steps to successful professional connections’. The key precedents have been incorporated in the SIFA Professional version of Catalyst, the online referral software system, which provides the basis for ongoing communication between financial advisers and solicitors and provides an audit trail for solicitors’ regulatory compliance.
SIFA Professional produces a wide range of material for Members to use with solicitors and their clients. Leaflets, which can be provided in personalised form via our marketing hub, explain among other things the structural options for solicitor/financial adviser relationships and the connections between specific areas of legal and financial advice.
Three 24-page colour client booklets explain the financial aspects of divorce, estate planning and later life advice. In addition, SIFA Professional’s well-known handbooks, Trustinvest, Financial Planning for Matrimonial Clients and Financial Solutions for Estate Planning, provide in-depth reference for solicitors and financial advisers alike.
The most common concern expressed by financial advisory firms when working with solicitors is to ensure compliance with the standards and regulations of the Solicitor Regulation Authority.
Solicitors are often nervous of the regulatory implications of working with members of other professions, and SIFA Professional’s long involvement with the legal regulator on behalf of both financial advisers and solicitors enables us to provide the requisite reassurance by regular updates, hard copy guidance and ongoing training. With new regulations arriving later in 2019, this support has never been more relevant.
Only Members of SIFA Professional are listed in the SIFA Directory, which is endorsed by the Law Society and can be accessed via the Membership Extra area of the Law Society site www.lawsociety.org.uk. In addition, the Law Society regularly promotes the Directory, and the merits of working with a SIFA Professional, to the communities of solicitors.
SIFA Professional’s relationship with the Law Society enables us to display the Law Society logo on client-facing marketing material. This material can be used both by Members and their solicitor connections in explaining the importance of joined-up legal and financial advice.