Battens claims first with private banking group

South west law firm Battens is launching its own private banking group in a move which it claims is a first for the legal profession.

The six office, 22-partner firm will be able to offer its private clients specialist deposit and mortgage schemes, investment and fund management and personal tax advice as well as its normal services.

The law firms' partners are the majority shareholders in the bank, which remains a separate entity from the law firm and is called Dryfield Trust.

The managing director of the bank is David Batten, a member of the practice's founding family and a partner at the firm.

Battens' chief executive Andy Marshall says: “If you were a private client, you would need some advice about tax planning so you would need a tax expert. You may need the writing of trusts and wills and various legal things, so you need a lawyer.

“You need an investment manager to look after your money, and you might want somebody to lend you some money.

“What we will be able to do is offer all of these in-house to our clients in a kind of one-stop shop.”

The bank will start by focusing on existing private clients, but it plans to extend the concept further.

A leading legal consultant says: “As far as I know nobody else is looking at it.

“It's an interesting move but I think the reality is that sophisticated users would want to go to the best in any particular area rather than their law firm.”