8th Sep, 2021 - Webinar replay
How to develop better partnerships with solicitors with special guest, Dave Seager
Phil Bray 0:00
Good morning everybody and welcome to September’s webinar. Delighted to welcome our special guest today Dave Seager. Who many of you may know, is ex-MD of SIFA Professional and currently consulting adviser to the SIFA Professional. We’ve got Nick Parkhouse, our head of content, joining us as well. All will be explained in a minute. And today we’re going to be talking about building professional connections specifically with solicitors. As I say, delighted to welcome Dave here. If he doesn’t know about the subject, I don’t know who does. So we’ll join Dave in a second. Today’s webinar is a Q&A. So no PowerPoint slides apart from the one that you can see in front of you but I think we can probably take that down now. So you can see us. As I say, it’s a Q&A today and Dan will explain, in time-honoured tradition how are we going to do it.
Dan Campbell 1:03
Sure thing. So hi, I’m Dan, my job is to make sure everything’s running smoothly. So if it’s not running smoothly, it means I’ve done something wrong. So let us know in the chat if the sound goes off, or the screen isn’t sharing when it’s supposed to and I’ll push some buttons my end and see what I can do there. A recording of this will be sent out afterwards, so you can watch it again or share it with anybody you think might find it useful. And these sessions work well with plenty of questions. So don’t be afraid to get stuck in. There are essentially two ways you can do that. So either ask them in the chat function or the little q&a box at the bottom of the screen. Just click that, type your question in. I’ll be reading them out as we go along. I may save a few for naturally, where they fall in the conversation, and any that we don’t get to we’ll be sweeping up at the end providing we’ve got time to do so. So without further ado, over to you Phil and Dave.
Phil Bray 1:58
Thanks. Just before we get to Dave, Nick. Nick’s here because we’re doing something new at the Yardstick agency, it’s a little parish notice. For the first time ever we’ve launched a poetry competition. It’s in aid of a great cause and Nick our head of content is here just to explain a little bit more if you would Nick.
Nick Parkhouse 2:21
Morning all. So I’m Nick. As you will all know, it’s National Poetry Day on the 7th of October. I imagine it’s already in your calendar. We’re running a very special poetry competition to raise money for BookTrust, who are the UK’s leading children’s reading charity. It’s really simple to enter. All you’ve got to do is write a poem about something to do with personal finance. So if you want to write a limerick about inheritance tax or a haiku about pensions or a sonnet about the annual allowance, then that’s the sort of thing that we’re after. So all the details are on The Yardstick Agency website, which is at theyardstickagency.co.uk/blog you can find all the details in there. We’re asking for a donation to BookTrust with your entry. There are some book tokens for the winners and we’ve got someone from the charity who is going to judge the competition as well. So just to get the word out there, we’re trying to raise as much money as we can for a great charity. Mainly for their Christmas appeal. What they do at Christmas is they send books out to kids in care homes, and that sort of thing. So they get a Christmas present on Christmas Day to open. Loads of stuff, they provide books free of charge to schools and that sort of thing so it’s a great cause. So yeah, get your creative juices flowing, come up with a poem, email it to us email@example.com and find all the details on our website or on our Twitter @yardstickagency, and yeah, I look forward to reading your work.
Phil Bray 3:55
Thank you Nick. Very kind of you, thank you. Hopefully we get lots of poems, sonnets haikus and limericks coming in. Dan has just put the details in the chat of the Just giving page and the blog. So thanks Nick, much appreciated. So Dave, over to you. I’m pretty suitably inspired by that and I’m gonna go and pen a little poem about solicitors. Let’s start (for those who don’t know you) just give us a bit of potted history about you, Dave, if that’s okay. You’re role now, your history and how SIFA fits into that.
Dave Seagar 4:36
Sure. I’ve only ever worked in financial services. Since 1988. I was direct selling for a couple of years for my sins and then I joined what was then Scottish Mutual assurance society as a broker consultant when I was actually man and boy, right through until Abbey for intermediaries (that disastrous experiment). I moved then from being a regional broker consult into national accounts and some relationship management at Abbey for Intermediaries, and then was headhunted by Legal & General. I spent four years doing that similar key relationship role at Legal & General. At both of those organisations, Abbey, and latterly, and Legal & General I looked after SIFA as one of my key accounts. Back in those days, SIFA was primarily made up of solicitor IFAs and SIFA was their service provider. And they were a key account for Legal & General and I spent a lot of time working with their then managing director of SIFA Ian Muirhead. When the legal services act came in in 2007, we were branching out away from just working with solicitors and their own in house IFAs, because there was less and less of that and more about helping good quality IFAs work with solicitors with the knowledge and the relationships that we had. And I came to join him and help him do that and that side of the business is what became known as SIFA professional. So SIFA was the service provider and SIFA professional was the marketing resource, training, ongoing legal updates, everything you needed as a successful financial planning firm to work with solicitors, SIFA professional will provide and still does. So I’ve been there since 2008 until June this year when I stepped into sort of semi retirement, although I’m still actively involved in advising the business on a less than day to day basis shall we say. But SIFA professional as an entity now has been going since 2009, when we launched that side of the business and is still helping good quality financial advisors work with solicitors. I just do it slightly less than I used to. Effectively in a 30 plus year career in financial services, the last 13 of which I spent purely in the overlap between legal and financial, hence it became a bit of a specialism for me.
Phil Bray 7:00
Okay, thanks for that that’s really useful and interesting for people who don’t already know you. For you what are the key benefits to an adviser or planner of forming a relationship with a solicitor?
Dave Seagar 7:14
Well, I think inherently the obvious thing that people are always going to turn to is new clients and then getting referrals from solicitors would generally be seen as the, you know the Nirvana for a good quality financial planner, you know, they tend to be of good quality, if you can get those referrals and getting those referrals consistently is obviously, the end gain. But it’s more than that. It’s more than new clients. I think (and it will probably come up with a lot of the questions), I think the modern day clients is not the client we might have had 20 years ago or 15 years ago, you know, as an industry in financial services, we were quite transactional quite product or solution driven rather than working with a client over time on a plan. So the fact that our relationship with our clients has changed quite a lot. Why would we in our little silo believe that it would be any different for other professional advisors, such as accountants or solicitors? Of course it isn’t. The key is that solicitors don’t have that ready made ongoing relationship piece that IFAs have. So what’s in it for the solicitor, is just as much as important as what’s in it for the financial advisor. I think we just have to accept the clients are more holistic. Clients don’t think in silos, so as an industry or as a collaborative approach, we shouldn’t be offering them solutions in silos. So I think you know, what’s in it is more than just getting new clients for a good quality financial planning firm. It’s about building a network of solutions that are linked to what you’re doing. So, you will have various points in what you’re doing as a financial planner, where you’re going to need the input from another professional. So thinking beyond the yes, it’s a nice new client, which is important and thinking beyond that into the ongoing relationship piece with your client and providing a more comprehensive service is really where we should be going.
Phil Bray 9:08
And you touched on it there, we talked about what’s in it for the adviser or planner. What’s in it for the solicitor?
Dave Seagar 9:14
Well, I think it’s the same thing. I think, certainly the thing that I used to say a lot when I used to present to people, particularly after the Legal Services Act, and when there was a lot of change in the legal world. You can think about all the things that are important, but the one thing that people forget is the ongoing relationship. Now what the financial planner offers that solicitor is a more ongoing connection with a client. What I would say is the ability to turn that perhaps transactional one off or occasional customer into something more ongoing, but a proper client. And as I say, I used to use the same jokes all the time and they’re just as valid as they are today. You don’t hear solicitors saying I did a great divorce for you last year. Can I do another one? I did the probate for your mum, by the way, how is your dad? You know, they don’t have that ready made reason to pick up the phone and say let’s do some more stuff together. Which of course we do, in financial planning that’s exactly what we do. So what we’re offering the solicitor is perhaps that repeat relationship that will turn them back to where they were 200 years ago. Where their solicitor was sought seen or as the trusted adviser of a family. They were the trusted adviser. There were no such things as financial planners. In those days everything was done by the family solicitor and that’s changed over time. And I think financial planners can help solicitors get back to the centre of a clients’ affairs by giving them that reintroduction on an ongoing basis to that relationship.
Phil Bray 10:51
And solicitors firms have obviously (in larger firm certainly) there’s different departments in there, which are the key departments that advisers and planners should be, quote, unquote, targeting? And what type of work can they pass over?
Dave Seagar 11:06
Well, I think obviously, there’s far wide reaching answers, and that would depend on your individual firm. But there are obvious crossover areas around estate planning, with wills and probate, the provision of trust in the same world, when it comes to pensions and divorce, obviously, you’re looking at the family department. Whether it’s legal separation or divorce, and there’s a lot of changes, coming down the pipeline in that world, which would be very interesting to good quality financial planners who are working in that market. And then of course outside of the wealth management space, you’ve got the conveyancing department, if you’re into mortgage protection with your firm, that’s an obvious crossover. And the one that most people may not think of, some of the more niche stuff will be working with expats if people are emigrating, there’s crossover there, and very much in the corporate space. If you’re working in corporate, whether it’s critical illness or protection around key man or partnership, or setting the cost option agreements up, we can all go to the life company and get those trust and cross option agreements and everything. But we could also go to a solicitor and work collaboratively there. So there’s lots of areas, but I do think the most prevalent now are the estate planning, inheritance tax trustee investment, pensions, divorce. And the other big one, which I think pensions freedom and the modern world has really brought into the fore is elderly clients and dealing with vulnerable clients. Because that crossover between retirement planning, estate planning and care planning, it can all blur into one. And it’s really important at that stage of life, when you are vulnerable, when you are perhaps dealing with attorneys, rather than the individual clients that you do have that close working relationship. So there’s lots of areas and it will depend on your individual firm. Whether you’re going to target, I would always say lead with your trump card. Because bear in mind when you’re dealing with solicitors, they have spent seven years to get to that point, and then they’re going to specialise in one area of law. If you walk in it’s a one man band or a two man band and say we’re experts in every area of financial planning, you’re probably going to fall at the first hurdle. They simply won’t believe you.
Phil Bray 13:12
That’s interesting point actually, that you raised. Solicitors have worked for seven years to get where they are. How did they perceive financial advisers and financial planners now? And how has that changed over the past few years?
Dave Seagar 13:26
It absolutely has changed and I think we have to accept that because certainly when I first started working in the space we were still dealing primarily with product and commission, which we no longer are. So that’s a massive game changer. Solicitors were very suspicious. Of course, the irony is that the solicitors model is very much dependent on chasing or waiting for the new client, as I’ve already hinted. They don’t necessarily have that ongoing relationship. But of course, that was the same 15 years ago in our world. Everything was why would you spend time looking at an existing client when you could go and chase a 7% commission on a new bond type of thing. Our industry has changed and solicitors did think of our industry as not very professional, perhaps you were a double glazing salesman a couple of years earlier or you worked for a bank and maybe you were commission hungry and maybe you even wore white socks. There was a poor perception, but it’s definitely changed over time. RDR helped massively, the introduction of the need for higher qualifications and they do recognise those, they do understand charter they do understand the qualifications. But going beyond that, a good bit of advice and always a strong bit of advice would be to consider the accreditations and qualifications that you can take that take you (forgive the pun) stepping into their world, whether it be a step qualification or you know whether it’s society, later life advisors, whether it’s dealing with resolution and becoming there’s less than I think there’s less than 40 pension on divorce experts that have actually got the resolution accreditation for financial services. There might be 600 financial advisors who are members of resolution, but there’s less than 40, who have got the qualification. It’s massive opportunities there to do qualifications that are more relevant to them.
Phil Bray 15:12
Just say that again, there’s fewer 40 people?
Dave Seagar 15:15
There’s 6000 members of resolution, the predominance of which are different types of lawyer, mediators, and so forth. I think they’re around somewhere between 5 and 600 of those 6000 are from the financial advisory community. But they are members of resolution, which means they can attend the resolution pods, and meet solicitors and network and do the courses, which is fantastic. But there is actually a resolution accreditation/qualification that makes you a pension on divorce expert. Last time I looked at were less than 40 of those across the whole of the United Kingdom. Massive opportunity, but you can’t dabble in pension and divorce in my opinion. You need to be an expert and you need to be confident that you can work alongside solicitors. But the legal world is crying out for people from financial planning that they trust, to deal with the financial aspects of divorce.
Phil Bray 16:12
I can see a couple of questions coming in about restricted firms. I’ll come to those in a second if that’s okay? That’s going to dovetail perfectly with something that I want to ask. But obviously, it sounds as though if it’s 6000 down to 600 advisors and only 40 of those have got the accreditation. That sounds like there’s a massive opportunity for those advisors and planners who genuinely want to work in that space to differentiate themselves.
Dave Seagar 16:37
And particularly with the no contest divorce coming down the pipeline has been put back. The Queen’s speech, but it is coming. So you’re not going to have to have that reason to get divorced, it’s going to be a lot simpler, a lot more collaborative. So the working collaboratively with two separating parties, where you’ve got a financial adviser and a solicitor is going to be increasingly important.
Phil Bray 16:58
Interesting. So just looking back at a kind of macro level, what are the different types of relationships you see between advisers and planners and solicitors and what’s most successful?
Dave Seagar 17:13
Back in the early noughties, there was a rush from financial planners to enter into JV for solicitors, it was seen as the the perfect scenario. You weren’t reliant on competing with other firms for referrals. You were going to have a business structure and all the solicitors, associate lawyers within that firm, we’re going to refer into the JV. And there are still some very successful JVs out there. However, there are complications. And I don’t want to go into too much detail for today, but you need to have everybody on the management of the law firm involved. You have to have buy in from everyone for a JV to work. But the other thing is, I think financial advisers because it was seen as such a badge of honour to get a JV with a professional connection there wasn’t enough planning done. So, oh I’ve got to JV with a solicitor but without actually quantifying. How many divorces did you do last year? How many wills did you do? Was the what was the likely amount of work that was going to be referred into JV so a lot have been formed and have fallen by the wayside. It was popular as well because obviously it’s always been difficult for solicitors to earn money from financial services legitimately. Any fee or any money that was coming from the financial planning system is deemed to be the clients and had to be revealed to the client, the client had to get permission all the hoops you would have to jump through. So whereas if you were referring to a JV obviously the income will be shares or dividends from the JV so that was why it was popular. And also you as a solicitor could set up something that made you look bigger and more encompassing in your services so you might have a Joe Bloggs solicitors but now you’ve got Joe Bloggs financial management. So it was it was popular in that sense. That said, I still think the most popular and most logical is just a third party referral relationship. And the reason why that works well is it doesn’t have all the restrictions, but equally, I think and there’s some stuff in the new solicitors code of conduct. The regulations that changed in 2019. Solicitors have to be deemed (and it might lead into your next question), they had to be seen to be acting with independents. And that doesn’t mean only referring to independent financial advisors. It means acting with independence. So to refer only to one third party whether it’s a JV or otherwise is looked upon as can that always be in the clients best interest? Is the same financial planner always going to be the right safe pair of hands for that client? So to have a handful, a short panel, a specialist panel, a preferred list of good quality financial planners that you as a firm of solicitors work with is definitely I think the best way forward and also the regulator of solicitors would see that as the most logical way forward. So then you’ll be coming back to working with the people that have the specialisms and the qualifications suited for that type of referral. There is also the other one since the Legal Services Act. You can set up an alternative business structure, which obviously can have solicitors and financial advisors on the management. The other thing that’s interesting and it hasn’t taken off yet and most IFAs or financial planners may not be aware of is: One of the things that changed in the last raft of introduction of the solicitors new standards and regulations in 2019. You can set up as a solicitor, it’s called freelance soliciting. That could be confused with something else couldn’t it? But as a freelance solicitor, you can offer non reserved activities. There are certain activities that are reserved to solicitors. Grant of probate, conveyancing, litigation are reserved to solicitors. No other type of lawyer can do them. There are other services, divorce, trusts, wills that are non reserved and can be offered by non solicitors. Since 2019, solicitors can offer those activities regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority, but not within an SRA regulated business. You might be able to see where I’m going here. So if you are the financial planner who’s so fed up with trying to work with solicitors, and you’ve never made work, but you would like to offer certain legal services to your clients, you can now employ a solicitor regulated not by the FCA by the SRA but within your business to offer those services to your clients. So it hasn’t taken off yet. It’s gonna be a watch this space with interest for me. I think that’s something that certain financial planning firms might think, actually, you know what, the main areas of referral for me. I love to have a grip on certain types of work. For example, if I know a client needs a power of attorney, I’m going to make that referral. That’s an obvious referral. But maybe we can actually employ a solicitor that does all our own power of attorneys within our firm, for example. So there’s lots of different options, but I do think, the straightforward referral, but with some sort of recognised relationship piece. There are third party agreements that we can provide a SIFA professional or your service provider or network might provide them. But there’s some wordings. The only other thing you have to be careful of, if you are going to pay a fee (and it’s not necessarily frowned upon) it’s what’s called by a solicitor, a referral to a separate business. And that’s confusing because a separate business actually is a JV or somewhere where you are going to generate income. If you are going to generate a fee or income, you have to get the clients informed consent. So if a solicitor is referring to a financial planner, and a financial planner is agreeing to pay the solicitor fee, it is possible, but the client has to agree to it and sign their informed consent. So there are business agreements, so where that’s going to be common practice, the solicitors Regulation Authority would set expect to see some sort of formal agreement between the solicitor and third party. Probably too much detail for a webinar.
Phil Bray 23:13
We could do a separate webinar on that. That’s fascinating. Epecially the idea of employing a solicitor in a financial services practice. What I want to talk about now is what are the characteristics in a financial adviser or planner that solicitors are looking for? What are the key things that solicitors are looking for? And you mentioned earlier about those accreditations. And this also speaks to a couple of questions that Dan, do you want to just read out Dan if that’s okay?
Dan Campbell 23:46
Yes, sure thing. So we’ve got two questions that focus around restricted advisers. So first is looking at the website despite the SIFA name, do you admit restricted advisers as long as they meet your due diligence criteria? And then, on the second question, what then are the specific points which restricted advisors need to take into account when approaching solicitors?
Dave Seagar 24:11
Yeah, again, a webinar on its own. But the thing is, what you need to understand is there’s always been this and in my view, still correctly that solicitors should only refer to what I would say the ‘I’ should stand for impartial. So for SIFA it stands for impartial. It doesn’t say that because the solicitors for independent financial advice was when all our members were solicitors and they could only give independent financial advice. The goalpost moved in 2012. Because of RDR, the SRA said to the FCA or FSA, as it was, well, what are you doing? We don’t really understand what you’re doing with this new definition of independence. It’s very confusing. And the the FSA, helpfully said, well we don’t care do what you want to do. So the SRA, bear in mind that solicitors had always referred to stockbrokers had referred to discretionary fund management groups. Both of those were only ever going to be restricted in the new world. So the SRA was put in a bit of a tricky situation by the changes, and by this convoluted definition of independence. So the SRA settled on, and the key thing to understand and it’s absolutely critical to everything you do with solicitors is you have to recognise that they have to (as one of their core seven principles in everything they do), they have to be seen and to be demonstrably working in the client’s best interests. So the definition of what is right when it comes to referral is is it in your clients best interests? So the next question is, if you’re a solicitor, or if you’re a financial planner, talking to a solicitor, how restricted could be in the client’s best interests? Now, we might all have our own view on that. See, for professionals view is that because of the RDR, we were left in a situation where you could, for example, be a financial planner, who was going to be restricted, but was going to be impartial or independent in your own world. I’ll give you an example. I’m only going to work in the later life financial planning space. I can deal with every Medicare annuity, every annuity, every equity release I want to deal with. I’m not going to advise on structured products. So therefore I’m restricted. But in the area of advice, where a solicitor might refer to me, I’m completely independent. So should I be cut off from working with solicitors because I’ve chosen to specialise? Probably not. Because it still could be deemed to be in the client’s best interest to refer to that financial planning firm. Similarly, where do you cut off on restricted? Because we all know there’s restricted and there’s restricted and restricted. Let’s say in old money, are you restricted whole of market? Now, if you are a restricted whole of market, and you can deal with a ridiculous number of solutions, a ridiculous number of products, but not everyone, you could still argue, and I probably would, that you can easily be referring to that firm, because they’re definitely gonna be operating in the client’s best interest, because it’s got such a huge range of choice. Where you might argue, and I would, stick my flag in the ground, I don’t think you should be referring to a firm that has a limited number of solutions, and they are contractually obliged to use those solutions. That will be where I would stick my flag in the ground and say hold on, really, is that in the clients best interest? Whatever area of financial advice, I’ve only got a limited number of solutions. And I have to use them. It’s hard for me to go outside those solutions. That is when I think I would struggle as a solicitor or as a compliance officer in a law firm to say, I don’t think we should be referring there, because I’m not sure that could really be argued that it’s in the client’s best interest. But that’s where you have to understand as a financial planning firm. Can you sit down with the compliance officer or the solicitors in the firm you’re working with and strongly argue that referring to you is in their clients best interest and back that up with evidence? That’s the question you have to ask. It’s all about helping them with their due diligence, helping them with their research and giving them that information that gives them the confidence that they are doing that.
Phil Bray 28:10
A couple of follow up questions there Dan, I think.
Dan Campbell 28:14
Yeah, so one from Julia. What about SJP?
Dave Seagar 28:18
Well, I think I just described them with my flag in the ground without mentioning. I mean, let’s be honest they’re a fantastically run organisation. They’ve got fantastic resources and marketing a technical department. So there’s lots of areas where you could easily say well, I can see why that referring to them is in the clients best interest. But the one I struggle with is the limited number of options available. You know, maybe I don’t fully understand the SJP model, but that was where I would struggle. But it’s not prohibited. You know until 2012, solicitors could only refer to an independent financial adviser. That changed to best interest in 2012.
Dan Campbell 28:59
Brilliant, one more follow up. What is restricted whole of market?
Dave Seagar 29:06
Well again, it’s an old term. It’s restricted but it’s using pretty much the whole of the market. It’s one of those industry phrases, it sort of contradicts itself. I think I would give a an example where you have a massive range of solutions, but it’s not quite the whole market would be ironically restricted whole of market.
Phil Bray 29:30
I think I’d define it slightly differently Dave, actually. Where you are restricted by product type so you might not recommend use this or structured product. But actually where you can recommend pensions, ISAs you’re then whole of market.
Dave Seagar 29:44
Which is that which is the definition I originally used when I was saying a firm that specialises in later life. Yeah, so you are whole of market in the areas where you’ve chosen to advise that would be much better. But equally, there are firms out there that I’m quite comfortable with (not going to name them) but they are restricted. But instead of having maybe 5 or 6 solutions, they might have 20 or 30 solutions in every area. I think you could as a solicitor, if it’s a competent adviser, a great firm, great accreditations, highly qualified, chartered, but they can only deal with 20 or 30 solutions, I still think you’d have a strong case to argue that it could easily be in your clients best interest. I think it’s just when you’re narrowing it down. And also, we have to mention the fees, and charges could be higher with certain types of amounts restricted that you would want to avoid if you were a solicitor I think.
Phil Bray 30:35
So let’s just make it very quick fire. A list of things that solicitors like. Acting in the client’s best interests. Those higher and specialist accreditations. Solicitors like those. Fees obviously, what else?
Dave Seagar 30:53
Recently I did a presentation for the Law Society. To solicitors, compliance officers, law firms, talking about safe pair of hands and what does good look like? And what you can’t say. It’s like anything, isn’t it? It’s like when you have the old system you put in what’s important to you when you’re narrowing down your panel. So everyone’s slightly different, but I do think that you have to be comfortable in every area. So the qualifications are important. The getting on with people is important. But there are the other areas that aren’t necessarily as concrete and you do a lot of work on this around what does your website look like, local reputation. When you see the surveys that go out to solicitors about why clients choose solicitors, local reputation is massively important. So having a local reputation, why would you be any different for a financial adviser. If I’m a solicitor looking at financial planning firm, I would probably like to see that they entered a poetry competition. I would like to see that they have a strong presence. Maybe they sponsor a local football team or rugby team, maybe they work with local charities, maybe they write in a local parish magazine, these sort of things might be important. But I think the most important one of all, and it’s not a concrete thing. If I was a financial planning firm approaching a solicitor, I can do all these things. Yes, we’ve been a longtime. Yes, we’ve got a great reputation. Yes, we’ve got a clean regulatory record. Yes, we’ve got higher qualifications, yes, we’ve got specialist qualifications. But we also understand that our clients need legal advice. So these are the areas in our process, where we will be referring back to you. Because if this isn’t a two way street, for me, as a solicitor, it’s a non starter. Okay, it’s important for me to offer the client financial planning advice when they need it. Then if I identify that, I should do that, and come back to that about when a solicitor identifies the need for financial planning and doesn’t make a referral, because asked me about that it’s important but I’ll break my thread. So I think, if I was presenting due diligence to a firm of solicitors, I will be including what my process looked like, what my financial planning process is. What does it entail? Is their cash flow modelling? I hope there is. But what stages will I see the client? And what stages in the lifestyle of the client do I think I’m going to need to refer them back when they’re buying a home, when they need a power of attorney when they need a will. Identifying that in your process and giving them confidence that that process that you have will engineer opportunities for them is the icing on the cake. And that’s the thing that most financial planning firms will miss. We get very blinkered on what’s in it for us understandably. But I think if you approach a solicitor with I need a solicitor in my process, I need a firm that’s going to do all my wills I need a firm is going to do my power of attorney do I need a firm’s gonna do my cross option agreements? If you have that in your mind and you know you need that, the referrals coming back the other way is going to happen inevitably because you’re offering them something. So it’s that two way street. Look, we both need to be working hand in hand for the benefit of a mutual client. And that’s the bit that I think we miss when we present ‘Why us’ if you like to firms of lawyers.
Phil Bray 34:02
Again if you’re going to solve a problem for the solicitor it’s a great door opener. When you are presenting though the ‘why us’ because you’re going to get to that point at some point. What requirements do solicitors have from the SRA? What due diligence requirements on financial advisers do the SLA imposed? How should advisers and planners make solicitors lives easy?
Dave Seagar 34:25
That’s the key question isn’t it? And what happened was, and it was a game changer, and whether solicitors have accepted it or recognised it fully is a mood point because they have to overtime. The SRA in 2019 and the was a long build up to it introduced what they called standards and regulations which replaced the 2012 ones. Now the 2012 rules, post RDR, if you like or that same time, had introduced the role of the compliance officer for legal practice. And the COLP had to be on the management of the firm. So partner if it was partnership, director if it was limited. They had to be somebody who was on the management of that firm. And in theory, they were responsible for putting in a process when it comes to anything. But referrals to third parties would be deemed a process. Because if a client comes to you as a solicitor, and you recognise the need for financial planning, and you make a referral, that’s part of your process, because the process started with you. What was the problem between 2012 and 2019? The SRA and the FCA hasn’t got the rules, it hasn’t got the staff, it hasn’t got the ability to spot check. It doesn’t do let’s go take you to a local football stadium tell you what we want from you. It relies on the integrity and the willingness of solicitors to engage. So the problem was, everything about referrals was in the individual code of conduct. And we’ve all heard of the solicitors code of conduct. So the solicitors code of conduct and what you should do when it comes to making referrals is up to the individual solicitor because it’s in the individual rulebook. There wasn’t a corporate rulebook. So whilst the COLP role was generated, and the COLP was if you like, given the responsibility, the rules that they should be responsible for ensuring their business is following were in the individual code of conduct. So you might see where I’m going here. So I will be telling a SIFA professional, we will be telling a firm to go and see the COLP, because they’re responsible. And the COLP would say, quite legitimately, well, yes, we understand all the rules around referrals, Dave or Phil, but those rules are in the individual code of conduct, and we trust all our individuals. So that’s our process. We trust our individuals to do the right thing because there are individuals. What we have now in 2019, is the introduction for first time of a business code of conduct. The firm code of conduct. So within the solicitors standards and regulations, you have individual code of conduct, and a firm code of conduct. And the firm code of conduct very clearly says, and there’s one sentence 2.1 (and I can send it to anyone). It probably says in about five ways in one sentence that you have to have a process. Structure, governance. So the COLP and the management of the firm are responsible to put processes in place to ensure the individual professionalism. So rather than say, we trust the individual professionalism, they now have to put parameters and processes in place to ensure the individual professionalism. So, where do we refer work? We have to have a process for that. So the process is the responsibility of the COLP. So the SRA wants the COLP, or the management of the firm to have paid much more attention as to why that third party is getting our referrals. Not just I played rugby with that guy years ago, I’ve always done work with that woman, I played hockey with her, I went to university with that guy. These may be the legitimate people to receive your referrals. They may be the best financial planners in the world. But the SRA wants to see that in a process. So the process, obviously, coming back to what I said, has to be demonstrating best interest. So how do you demonstrate to a client that that referral is in their best interest if you haven’t done the due diligence? So the rules don’t say you have to have due diligence to show your client. But the spirit of the law says you’re bonkers if you don’t. So the COLP is the person as a financial planning firm. We should be saying, right, we now now you have a process. We’ll make that process, we’ll help you develop that process because we are a safe pair of hands and here’s why. Here’s our due diligence. Here’s all the reasons why you should be confident when you’re referring clients to us, it’s in their best interest. So the parallel if you like in financial planning world might be we always used to put our offshore bonds into a discretionary fund management group. So we were doing a bond and we say to that DFM Brooks Donald. Can you just give me some due diligence for my file? Now, I’m being cynical here. And I said about using Equus or using Synaptic to produce your due diligence. It is about making your life easier and making sure if anybody wants to check that you do have a process. You might design that process and you will have different criteria. Sorry, someone just said what’s the COLP in the question. Compliance Officer for legal practice. Sorry, Michael. That is the person responsible on the management firm for putting the processes in place. So yes, you have to have a process. So another tip here is we as financial planners will put a nice PowerPoint together put a lovely brochure together as to why we are the best financial planning firm. That’s great and you and Phil would love to help them do that I know at Yardstick. However, bear in mind, you’re giving something to the solicitor that they’re going to show their client as to why they’re referring to you. So make sure you’ve got it on your own leverage and also on blank because you don’t want to be giving a solicitor a lovely brochure of Yardstick financial planning to say, Well, I’m referring you to Yardstick financial planning, and here’s why and here’s a yardstick brochure. This is about being independent. So what you’re doing is giving them the information that they can use themselves. So when their solicitors say it’s a divorce situation we know that Michael Warburton in financial planning is the best person and we’ve done all the due diligence. So when we say to the client, look you’re getting divorced, I’m very sorry to hear that. We can handle the legal side but I can see there’s some pensioners there. That’s out with our remit. But we’ve done due diligence and we’ve selected Michael Warburton financial planning as our partner. Here’s why. Here’s why. Are you happy me to make that referral? Yes, I am. Process wise.
Phil Bray 40:26
Okay, I can see the questions come in. I’m going to give you one quick fire question Dave and then we’re going to go over to Dan. So we’ve talked a lot about the characteristics and the thing solicitors are looking for in firms they might refer to. Lets do the opposite of that. Quick fire. What really hacks off and really annoys solicitors? If there was three things you could do that’s going to really annoy a solicitor and you should never do. What are they?
Dave Seagar 40:50
Well, one that you’ll love and it’s a favourite for me because it’s marketing terms is jargon. I was told a great story many years ago by somebody who had been worked in financial planning. In fact he helped out the offshore Isle of Man for Sunlife, the trust and everything with Brian lawless, he then went off and did a law degree and became a solicitor, so he was in very good position. And he said, the thing is, and this is a great story, and I won’t swear although he did. You go and see a firm of solicitors. You see a couple of partners there, you’re explaining to them. You think you’ve had a great meeting, you leave thinking God they agreed with everything I said. They nodded in all the workplace. What a fantastic meeting, I’m definitely going to get referrals from that firm. And you left the room and one partner turned to the other one and said what the bloody hell is a discounted gift trust scheme? Why on earth should a solicitor know what a discounted gift trust scheme is? It’s an IHT mitigation solution designed by a life company to help clients. But, that’s not part of a law degree. They shouldn’t know that. So we do that, we talk in jargon. So that’s a key one. So let’s talk about what clients actually want, what the solutions are, what they do for clients, not I’m great at pensions, I’m great at investments, I’m great at offshore financial planning. That’s a key one. I think the other one is you’ve got to be approaching them in that this is for our mutual benefit and for our mutual clients benefit. It’s a two way street. In the past we did a lot of research at SIFA in the late noughties. It’s about solicitor said, well, all they ever asked about was referrals, they never asked about us. And when we did refer them work, we never heard from them again. So all we ever wanting was the referral. They didn’t actually want a relationship. So you need to be talking to them about the relationship piece, you need to be talking about them in common parlance. If you don’t do those things that’s going to hack them off completely. What else? I think another big tip is, and a lot of you know, they’ll probably be people in this audience who do this. You may not actually offer themselves but on your website, you say you offer wills. If you have a website that says you do wills, even if it actually isn’t you doing them and you’re referring someone else, if I’m a solicitor and you know this Phil/Yardstick. The first thing you get a referral, get a recommendation, I’m going to look at the firm’s website. And if I look at the IFAs website and it says wills and estate planning, I might not even click on it. I might just move on to the next one. So you need to be careful at the first point of call when somebody you’re recommended, and they’re going to look at your website, there’s nothing on the website that looks like you’re in competition with them as a thing that I think people miss. And a lot of financial planners will make the decision that they can earn money from wills, from powers of attorney, and that’s fine. Nothing wrong with it, but then don’t try and work solicitors as well. You make a choice. You do it yourself, or you work with professionals.
Phil Bray 43:44
I think the other thing you said earlier was lead with your specialism so you don’t like a jack of all trades when you go into a solicitor who specialises in wills and probate.
Dave Seagar 43:52
Yeah, I think I would say lead with your trump card. You may be good at everything, but start with you the bit you’re absolutely best at and once you’ve got that relationship, hopefully it will spin out to other areas and you can introduce other people. Because it is still a people’s business and it probably is going to start with a meeting between a person and a person that needs to grow from that. And hopefully in this new era, we will have more firm to firm relationships. I think you had a question somewhere. I mean, traditionally, it has been individual to individual and there’s nothing wrong with it. I mean, COLPs might be saying (compliance officer for legal practice). Oh God, I’ve got to build this whole process. It may not be building a new process, it might just be putting what you already do into a process. So the firm’s you’ve chosen you’ve referred to over time may well be the best firms and that’s fine. Record that, put it in a process and then make sure that everybody in the firm understands that that is the process. And if as a solicitor, you’re going to step outside of that process, then the COLP should want to know about. Because the COLP is not going to want to be responsible for a process that has 20 different solicitors referring to 20 different financial planning firms. It’s just too much for them within the new world where they are supposed to be responsible for that process.
Phil Bray 45:02
It fits. I’m really keen that everybody on the webinar gets their questions answered their specific questions answered by Dave, while we’ve got him here. So I’m going to take a step back now. And, Dan, do you want to work through some of these questions if that’s okay?
Dan Campbell 45:15
Yeah, sure thing. So let’s start with questions from Stuart and Jody, because they’re broadly similar. They approach the same subject. So Stuart asks, Would a solicitor struggle to pass compliance/due diligence if the financial planning firm is new/has newly qualified advisers? And Jody asks, Do solicitors view referring to one man band IFAs a business risk? Which other factors are considered by solicitors when referring financial planners and advisers?
Dave Seagar 45:44
Yeah, I think they’re really good questions actually. But I think the fact that there is this emphasis now on having a process and the emphasis also on one of the seven principles being independent, and the SRA wouldn’t expect you to refer everything to the same firm. As a big firm, with multi departments and multi specialisms and multi qualified financial advisers, you might say, well, we can take everything on board, and you may well be right. But the fact that the SRA is keen that you have a shortlist or not referring to one firm, it gives more power to the elbow of the one man band who specialising in one area. The one woman band. Jody’s case, if it’s specialising in one particular area. So I think in the past, I would have sympathised with the you that well, I’m the one man band. What’s the point of me trying to talk to a firm of solicitors because I’m just a little old me. I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I think if you have a specialism and you have the qualifications and you can really put yourself across as being highly specialist and highly confident in your particular arena, I think you can be part of the firm’s process. So I don’t think that’s as much of an issue as it perhaps might have been in the past.
Dan Campbell 46:57
Brilliant! Right, so I’ve managed to group two questions together again that are broadly similar. So Naomi asked earlier, do you think solicitors value or prioritise working with IFAs that are step or resolution accredited? And Rebecca asks, going back to resolution and not knowing much about them. Is it worth joining with a view to gaining accreditation in the future?
Dave Seagar 47:20
That will almost be 100%, the most positive thing you should do, and it would be my advice. Resolution in the past (and they would admit this themselves) didn’t make it very clear on their website. They had a section for financial advisers, it wasn’t fantastic. It’s much better than it used to be. The accreditation was criticised in the past, it’s now the process is there. It’s part of this ongoing work. And you have to, to be able to do this you have to demonstrate you’ve worked with a solicitor in the past on a collaborative divorce. So you have to say, well, this is a client we work with, this is a system we work with. Now, that was the chicken and egg. Well, if you haven’t got the qualifications, and you haven’t got the trust with solicitors in the pension divorce arena, how do I get to work with them? And the answer is join Resolution. I think it’s £40 a year or something. It’s nothing to join. And then you’re entitled to go to what they call the pods, regional pods, which are meetings where solicitors, arbitrators, mediators, financial planners will get together and talk about best practice. Talk about things that are happening. And you can build knowledge that way. You can join their webinars, you can build knowledge, you can build CPD. So when you then speak to a firm of solicitors saying look you can see you saw me in the last few pod meetings, you can see I’m doing the webinars. I’m genuinely serious about working in this arena. I need to work with you. And I’m going to build towards the accreditation, but I can’t build towards the accreditation until I can demonstrate and working with you. So joining Resolution is absolutely the most important thing to do. With regard to STEP, obviously in 2009 I think it was we launched the STEP financial services qualification actually at the SIFA conference, because myself and Ian Muirhead at the time had spoken to the then CEO of STEP, David Harvey, and he said we haven’t got enough financial planners who are members of STEP it’s all solicitors. And our suggestion was well, to do the full TEP, trust and estate practitioner qualification as well as at the time, all the qualifications the financial planners were having to do with RDR, it was just too much. So we said why don’t you have a qualification that is just for financial planners. And that introduced that and it is sort of 20 points towards your accreditation. But obviously what it says to solicitors is I’m taking a step into your world, I’m serious. It’s similar to the old G10. It’s a taxation and trust paper, but it says I’m serious about being in your world. But what it also gives you is the ability to call yourself an affiliate of STEP and therefore go to STEP meetings and again, it gets back to that showing you’re keen to be in their world, networking with the solicitors who are STEP members and building your credibility. So 100% on both.
Dan Campbell 49:51
Brilliant. So staying on STEP and Resolution. Phillip asks, I thought you had to have defined benefit permissions to join Resolution is that right?
Dave Seagar 50:00
Not to my knowledge, no.
Dan Campbell 50:01
Dave Seagar 50:03
Obviously you can’t deal with a divorce that involves that particular type of pension transfer if you haven’t got those qualifications, but that is a tiny percentage of divorce situations, isn’t it?
Dan Campbell 50:14
Right, so earlier we spoke about the three things that are guaranteed to hack off solicitors. Now, Andrew and Glen, in the questions they want to do the opposite of hacking off solicitors. So Glen asks how do you best start/break the ice with a solicitor department or firm? And Andrew asks post pandemic what are your top three recommended ways to approach legal firms?
Dave Seagar 50:39
Well, I think it’s always difficult because most relationships or you might meet a solicitor, you might have met a solicitor, you might have met a solicitor at a business lunch or a breakfast meeting. So your approach will logically be with the individual you’ve met. And that individual may not be the person that ultimately is the sole arbitrator of the decision about referring to you because the COLP and the management of firm will need to be involved. So my tip would be when you have that connection, would be to quite softly say, look it’s our understanding (and demonstrating knowledge is important) is our understanding that the rules on referrals has changed slightly since 2019. We believe your firm needs to have a process, we would love to be part of that process. Can you introduce me to the compliance officer for legal practice within your firm? Because there isn’t, sadly, a directory of COLPs. You would want to be introduced that person. But I’m not saying don’t pursue the logical and the time honoured route of networking and trying to work with individual solicitors and individual departments. But the hot tip would be to get that introduction to the COLP to sort of ratify your involvement in that process, early doors. And I do think a cold call by phone is an absolute no, no. A well worded letter in this day and age, probably an email saying look this is who we are. We’re very, very keen to work with local law firms. We want them in our process. These are the areas that we need to have legal advice for our clients. But equally we think we can help your clients. Can we have a meeting? That’s always my preferred approach. A very well worded professional email that shows the COLP that you’ve identified them, you understand what they need to be doing primarily. But b, you can help them with it. That’s my professional, preferred route if you like.
Dan Campbell 52:43
Right, so next question from Mark, and Mark talks about trusts and trustees. So where an older partner is retiring, and the running of the firm is passing to younger partners, there seems to be less interest for the firm to continue acting as trustees on trusts and looking to appoint a professional trustee service. And is that the general direction in your experience?
Dave Seagar 53:06
Honestly, anecdotally I’d say that’s probably correct. But I don’t have enough knowledge to give an extensive answer on that. I really don’t like stepping outside of it. I’d say yeah, I have heard that. And there is an increased use of professional trustees. But I wouldn’t know whether it’s to do with the older and younger necessarily, sorry.
Dan Campbell 53:29
Okay, so Lindsay asks, would there be room for specific areas of advice to be referred? For example, referring to an advisor, just for protection insurance, for example.
Dave Seagar 53:41
Yeah, of course. I mean solicitors traditionally, you may or may not know, in this audience. They can actually write their own protection business, if it’s incidental to their work if they want to, and it’s all clubs, like controls. And they can put a term assurance alongside some advice. They have to adhere to certain rules. If they want to refer it and they don’t want to do that the referral rules are the same as for any other type of work. So it’s really a case of can I demonstrate that referring this protection need to this particular preferred third party is in the client’s best interest? It’s the same thing. And the one thing I would say, by the way, and it’s not necessarily related to a question, but I think it’s quite important, and I should probably should have stressed earlier. The rules on referrals, and it’s 5.1 in 5.3 of the solicitors code of conduct. If they make a referral, it’s about the rules of the overall book, if you like the rulebook is best interest. If you’re referring to a separate business, ie where you’re going to generate income as a solicitor, you have to gain the client’s informed consent. So you have to get their approval and get their informed consent. Now, that could be a signature, it could be a recorded phone call. But to make that referral where you are going to benefit financially, the client has to give their informed consent. Now, my question of the SRA at this point in 2018, when I saw that was was okay, I understand that. Why would it be any different if you’re not going to generate fee income or benefit financially? What’s the difference? Because you’re gonna say to a client, I’ve done my due diligence. This is the firm of financial planners that I’ve chosen, that it’s in your best interest refer to them. They are this firm. This is why are you happy for me to make that referral? The client says yes, and you just do it. Why would you not at that point record the client said yes and given their informed consent? And the SRA agreed for two reasons. Firstly, if you’re going to make a referral, 9 times out of 10, you’re going to be giving personal information out. It might be a telephone number, it might be email, might be date of birth, because you’re going to refer to a third party financial planner or an accountant needs to act on that referral. Therefore GDPR will come into play. But also, the other thing that’s quite important when it comes to the legal world is vulnerability. The SRA has the same view on vulnerability as the FCA. So if you’re going through a divorce, you’re recently bereaved you are a vulnerable client. And if you’re dealing with a vulnerable client, you’re always going to want to get a recording of acceptance of advice or acceptance of referral. So I’ve put together informed consent precedents to SIFA professional that really give if you like a financial planning firm a full kit. Here’s how we put together our due diligence, you’re going to work with us. If you do work with us, and one of your solicitors makes a referral. Here’s an informed consent precedent that says I’m referring to this firm, this is why. Are you happy for me to make the referral? Sign here and Mr. or Mrs. client or Mr and Mrs. Client together. You’ve literally completed your file and your compliance audit. Better to be safe than sorry because we work in a litigious society. And we work in a society where people forget that they’ve agreed to things quite conveniently. Sadly.
Dan Campbell 56:54
Right, brilliant. So we’ve got two more questions. But what I’ll do just before that is, Dave, in the comments, not Dave the panellist has said that just to confirm, you definitely don’t need DB permissions to become resolution accredited.
Dave Seagar 57:09
So that’s my understanding. I mean, I don’t work for Resolution. My understanding is no, you don’t. If I’m wrong, I’m sorry, but I really don’t think that is the case.
Dan Campbell 57:19
No brilliant. And also Dave mentions some firsthand experience of how he has built a team with the SRA, has seen the JV agreements and never raised an issue that people might find valuable.
Dave Seagar 57:33
Yes, that’s Dave Robinson. He’s a very good friend of mine. There’s nothing wrong with a JV. And it’s a great solution for many people, but it goes back to that when you’re referring to a separate business, you have to be tighter than tight. And the client has to accept and understand the terms of that JV referral. And there’s nothing wrong with that and it works for a lot of firms.
Dan Campbell 57:54
Okay, so penultimate question from Glenn. Generally, would a solicitor be looking for a percentage of the fees IFAs charge to their clients? And if so, what would it did?
Dave Seagar 58:06
Sorry because I wasn’t able to see your mouth then, I lost it because a question came up in front of your head and I started reading the question, sorry.
Dan Campbell 58:16
Of course, of course. So generally, would a solicitor be looking for a percentage of the fees IFAs charge their clients? And if so, what would that be?
Dave Seagar 58:23
No and generally the answer would be absolutely not. Obviously, you can as we’ve discussed at length refer to a separate business, that’s where there is a fee and the client needs to give their informed consent. It’s very, very rare. I think smaller solicitors who are struggling financially might look for that. I have put together a precedent for SIFA professional which obviously will be available to members. And I’ve done that on the ones where I’ve been asked, and it’s been 0.2%, but it’s been 0.2% of the initial fee, not have an ongoing fee. I’ve not seen anybody ask me to put together a precedent, or they’re paying away a percentage of ongoing fund base or anything like that. So, yes, it happens. And the most common I’ve seen is 0.2%. But it’s rare. Most solicitors want to do it because it’s the right thing for the client. And I did say I was gonna ask Phil to come back to me on this. And this will be useful for everyone to be honest. Many of you will say (I don’t know what that noise is. It’s not me honestly). Many of you may say, well I’ve explained all this to a solicitor and they said, Yes, we understand what we’ve going to do. Is there a bell ringing in the background?
Phil Bray 59:39
It’s Nottingham council house.
Dave Seagar 59:43
It means we’re out of time. A lot of financial plans are like I’ve spoken to the solicitors they said they understand it, but they decided because it’s all bit of a faff, they’re not going to make referrals. And that’s a common question. So I asked the question directly at the SRA. I said so we get this a lot from our members at SIFA professional, they’ve done everything we’ve told them to do. They’re definitely working professionally and the solicitor says yeah, we get all that but we’re not going to make the referral. Or even worse, we’re going to do the old thing of give someone three business cards and they can make their own decision. Which by the way has never been a rule, it’s an old wives tale. I’ve said this to the SRA. Bear in mind there are seven principles that the sisters have to work by. We’ve mentioned two of them at length, best interest and independence. There’s another one called integrity, you always have to act with integrity. So the SRAs answer to me almost in direct words was, okay, let me think this through Dave. So if as a solicitor, I’m working on a client’s behalf on a legal matter, and I identified the need for complimentary financial planning. And I do not make the referral. In my view, I am in breach of acting in the client’s best interest and acting in integrity. So the SRAs view directly quoted to me. I’m not going to name the individual because he asked me not to. But if you make the referral, you’re actually in the clients best interest and in integrity, if you don’t, having identified that there is a complementary need or ancillary need, and it’s in the client’s best interest to get that financial planning because it completes the advice. If you just do the legal bit and don’t make the referral, you’re in breach of acting in clients best interest and acting in integrity as far as the SRA is concerned. Powerful that!
Phil Bray 1:01:21
Good. And that is a great tip to finish on. And something that absolutely can be used delicately, I suspect.
Dave Seagar 1:01:31
Absolutely. It’s like, like the old when you’re selling critical illness or waiver of premium. And as a financial planner, you asked the client to sign. Well, I said, you need a critical illness, PHR and life insurance, you opted to just have life insurance. Will you sign it for my file that you didn’t take my advice? Unfortunately, without covering my situation that is the society we live in. We do live in a compensation client culture. I remember being in America in the late 80s and every other advert was compensation. I said that will never happened in England, crikey. How wrong could you be? So it is important. It is about completing that file. Making sure that if anybody wants to know. I said to the client, I’m doing my legal bit, there’s definitely some financial work that needs to be done. I recommend this person. You don’t want to take my recommendation, that’s fine. But I made the recommendation and create that audit. That will be my advice to a solicitor. So as a financial planner, talk to a solicitor. That in turn is the advice you would give.
Phil Bray 1:02:35
That is a great tip to finish on, Dave. I just want to say thank you to Dan for your hard work on the questions. I thought there’d be a lot today. Dave, massive thanks to you for giving it all your time to appear on the webinar today. We really appreciate it. We’re going to send the recording out later on today, to everybody. Watch all the way to the end again for that great note. And we’ll also put the link in for the poetry competition. Start writing your poems and sonnets, your limericks. A haiku, I haven’t got a clue what a haiku is but I’m going to go and look that up.
Dave Seagar 1:03:08
Can I just say this? I will put the link in to SIFA professional if people do want to look at SIFA professional. The other thing I would say is, just very quickly if you allow me? I’m doing some consulting work for a brand new launch called RQ ratings. And RQ ratings, they are already working with good quality financial planners to create a compliance due diligence audit for solicitors and accountants to use. And in turn, it will give the COLPs or the compliance officer for the accountancy firm as well, the ability to develop a process. To say to all their solicitors, look, when you make the recommendation, these are the firms that we’ve used, they’re on the RQ rating system, and you can create that compliance audit. So it’s going to be full launch next year, but just Google RQ ratings, you might find it’s a great way to help you put together your due diligence pack for solicitors.
Phil Bray 1:03:55
I had a look at their website yesterday looks very interesting. So we’ll send the added recording later on. We’ll put Dave’s contact details in there. Very easy to find on LinkedIn, but we’ll put Dave’s contact details in there. We’ll put the links in for the poetry competition. And once again, thanks Dave. We’ll be back next month with another webinar.
Dave Seagar 1:04:17
17 more questions at the bottom. Sorry everyone.
Phil Bray 1:04:21
Go and enjoy the sun everybody.
Dave Seagar 1:04:23
Dan Campbell 1:04:24
Take care guys. Thanks
Hear from our clients
Working with some great businesses.
Founder & Financial Planner, 4 Financial Planning
"The brand, logo and website has hit the brief perfectly and I couldn’t be happier! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them.”Read More
Managing Director, NextWealth
"They were a delight to work with – super responsive to our requests and also brought lots of good ideas to the table."Read More
Managing Director, Altura Mortgage Finance
"Best of all, their results driven approach is both refreshing and helping us achieve real goals. Thank you Yardstick!”Read More
Director and Financial Planner, Annetts & Orchard
"I’m a big Yardstick fan now and look forward to working with them on future projects."Read More
Managing Director, Handford Aitkenhead & Walker
"We have felt like collaborators, rather than customers, and feel like Phil and his team has a vested interest in our marketing success that far exceeds his fee.”Read More
Financial Planner, IQ Financial
We were lucky to be referred to Yardstick last year. We are delighted we hired them. They have specialist knowledge designed specially to help Financial Planning businesses like ours.Read More
Head of Marketing, Ellis Bates Financial Advisers
Phil's style is informed, humorous and collaborative. The content is punchy, relevant, a go-to guide on how to create more recommendations and prompts action with no exceptions. Great workshop.Read More
Financial Planner and Founder, Delaunay Wealth
I am absolutely delighted with all the work the Yardstick team has done for us and am very excited about how this will drive our new business/client acquisition in future. I would highly recommend them to any financial planning firm that takes their business seriously.Read More
Director and Financial Planner, Insight Wealth
Great to work with a good professional outfit that had provided us direction and clear thinking in marketing our business effectively to obtain quality new clients.Read More
Director & Financial Planner, Citygate Financial Planning
A thorough and excellent service. Phil and his team know exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it. We very much look forward to working together more in the future.Read More
Get in touch
Request a callback
Whatever your marketing challenges, we're here to help. Simply complete this form and we'll be in touch.