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 Legal Futures. 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 nonlegal 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 arranges free monthly webcasts, where Members are encouraged to invite their solicitor connections. Subjects are chosen to appeal across the professions and to stimulate dialogue between you and the solicitor on working with clients in these areas, such as Estate Planning, Later Life, Tax Efficient Investments, Post Retirement Planning.
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. We have a number of key topic webinars on Solicitor Referral and Transparency Rules under the new SRA Standards & Regulations. These have been designed so we can work with you and your advisers to enhance your appreciation and understanding of these important areas to aid your dialogue with solicitor connections.
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. For example, new regulations arrived in November 2019, with the introduction of the Firm Code of Conduct, so support and understanding of this regulation guidance is essential.
Only Members of SIFA Professional are listed in the SIFA Professional Directory. We are proud to be an Affiliate Partner of the Law Society and can be accessed via the Membership Extra area of the Law Society website 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.