Advisers are being urged to make the most of upheaval within the legal industry over the next year to forge links with solicitors.
With the Legal Services Act (LSA) set to come into effect in October, solicitors are facing competition from established businesses such as Tesco and the Co-op entering the market and offering low-cost services.
Under the new system, non-lawyer organisations will be able to set up Alternative Business Structures to provide legal services and this has prompted solicitors to reach out to IFAs to provide more options to clients.
David Seager, development director at SIFA, says: "It's not easy for solicitors to build client relationships but that hasn't been an issue in the past.
"Now all these big companies are going to be competing with them and the fact they don't have relationships becomes an issue."
According to SIFA, there was a 300% increase in the number of joint ventures between IFAs and solicitors in 2010 and the organisation expects to see many more over the next year.
Another issue facing solicitors is the introduction of more outcomes-based regulation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and SIFA believes professionals in the industry will seek help from IFAs to adapt to the new rules, which have taken their cue from RDR.
Seager adds: "With the final implications of the LSA coming into play in October and the new outcomes-based regulatory approach to be adopted by the SRA, this is the year for the better IFA businesses to be forging genuine links with forward thinking legal practices.
"Of course, we believe we have the relationships with the relevant legal bodies and the tools in place to truly assist our SIFA professional member firms to make a real success of supporting solicitors through the changes and developing lasting relationships with fellow professionals."
Over the next 12 months the organisation will be offering webcasts for members to offer to solicitors, who can gain CPD points by following them.
Accredited by the Law Society, the monthly sessions will focus on the Legal Services Act and practice development issues and will be spearheaded by both financial and legal experts.
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