In October Symponia launched its Legal Academy to help foster strong working relationships between advisers and solicitors operating in the later life market. Helen Morrissey talks to joint managing director Jeremy Davies about his plans for the Academy.
1. Tell me about the launch of the Legal Academy?
The reasoning behind the Legal Academy was borne from the fact that it is very rare for our financial services members to talk to an elderly client without there being the need for a solicitor.
Family solicitors often get involved but many of them are not specialist enough in this area. This can have an impact on the decisions the client makes.
For instance where equity release is being considered to pay for care if you don't go to a specialist solicitor who understands the market then you are likely to be advised against it.
There is a real need to develop a network of people to offer access to specialist elderly client care so for instance power of attorney, wills etc. We have 30 plus solicitors joining Symponia as legal partners.
2. You recently held your first academy meeting. How did that go?
In our first academy meeting we were able to bring together people from the legal profession alongside our financial services members to hear from industry specialists in a half day of really informative lectures.
We've had great feedback from the event and I think our financial services partners realise they are not a one stop shop.
They need legal partners to help them give their clients the best service. We are trying to go around the country in 2014 and we hope to run an event near Manchester in Q1.
We will get a pool of 10-12 local financial services members together with solicitors.
3. Many advisers have found it difficult in the part to build professional connections with solicitors and accountants. Is this starting to change?
In terms of building these professional connections then it is true to say that the old school IFAs didn't have a great reputation and our objective is to make it a professional part of financial services.
We've been running legal seminars in the care space for a while now at care homes as they need to develop close links with appropriately qualified solicitors.
Over the years we have built up a good network of these solicitors - it hasn't been hard to find them as they need to develop these partnerships too. The industry is beginning to realise that solicitors and advisers can really do a lot of good by working together.
Partner Insight: For Blackfinch, the arrival of its IHT portfolio services was a 'natural evolution' in the group's offering and points to an established track record of returning cash to investors.
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