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FINANCIAL ADVICE WORRIES FOR LAW FIRMS

  • 68%of lawyers cited an increase in property transactions among clients as the main driver for advice demand
  • 20% are concerned that some of their advice could go beyond their core expertise
  • One in three expect work with financial advisers will increase due to pension changes

Nearly two out of five law firms have seen a rise in demand for personal financial advice from clients leading to worries about regulatory concerns, new research1 from high net worth retirement lending adviser Bower Private Clients shows.

The research found that 38% of law firms had experienced an increase in demand for advice about finance in the past 12 months with one in three forecasting a rise in work they refer to independent financial advisers.

Bower’s study found 78% of firms routinely referred clients seeking financial advice to a financial adviser but revealed concerns among lawyers about current arrangements with 20% worried that some of their advice goes beyond their core expertise. However no lawyers admitted to providing detailed advice themselves

The research showed that more than two thirds (68%) of lawyers cited an increase in property transactions by clients as the main reason for the growing demand for advice while a greater awareness of the need for inheritance planning (64%) and a growing client base (50%) were second and third respectively.

Bower Private Clients www.bowerprivateclients.co.uk is anticipating a surge in demand for specialist advice and bespoke solutions for retired homeowners who need to maximise their property assets.

Andrea Rozario, Chief Corporate Officer at Bower Private Clients said: “Pension rule changes are driving business for law firms but high property prices and the complex nature of estate planning are also major sources of demand.

“The wealth tied up in homes is a potential source of retirement funding but people need to be properly advised. “Given this high demand for advice in what is an increasingly complex market, it is very important for lawyers to have access to trusted partners.

“Advisers recognise that property wealth can offer a variety of solutions for their clients. Homeowners increasingly have more wealth tied up in their properties and want to be able to access that wealth as part of retirement planning.”

More than half (54%) of lawyers cited inheritance tax (IHT) planning as an area where clients were looking for advice. Advise on trusts (49%); preparations for and impact of divorce (46%); and income and capital gains tax mitigation (38%) were second, third and fourth respectively in terms of most popular financial advice enquiries for lawyers. Three in ten (29%) lawyers received enquiries on accessing property wealth and equity release from clients.

Bower is working with private banks, accountants and law firms and offers specialist underwriting for high net worth clients as more expensive properties can be freeholds or leaseholds which may need specialist surveys. Its advisers are able to provide a bespoke service with solutions tailored for individual customers.