Financial figures 'misleading'

The PROPORTION of discrete financial services business provided by solicitors remains dwarfed by that of other main providers, say the latest industry figures.

Solicitors provided only four per cent of services nationally, compared with 11 per cent from accountants and a massive 31 per cent from independent financial advisers (IFAs), says industry body IFA Promotion.

But the figures are branded “misleading” by Richard Pearce, chief executive of the Law Society's Solicitors' Financial Services.

“It is totally misleading. What it overlooks is the quite substantial amount of business that is completed by solicitors as a permitted third party,” he says.

There are only around 900 law firms involved in discrete financial services business so far, which is why they only account for 4 per cent of the national total, says Pearce.

And another 900 firms are providing third-party business through three major IFAs – Sedgwicks, Godwins and Bain Clarkson – on the Solicitor's Financial Panel.

About another 3,000 firms also handle financial services, believes Pearce, but a number of these will only be “dabbling”.

Joanne Hindle, IFA Promotion chief executive officer, says: “As the advice offered by accountants and solicitors is also 'independent', almost half of all adults that actually took advice took independent financial advice.”

Regionally, three areas demonstrated a much higher proportion of discrete business by solicitors – Wales, at nine per cent, East Midlands at seven per cent and London at six per cent.