Hoopers swallows local brokers

Torquay-based law firm Hooper & Woollen has absorbed local stockbroking team John and Michael Clapham to create its own in-house investment management department.

The two brother stockbroking team join from stockbroking chain Allied Provincial Westlake & Co to manage Hooper & Wollen's new investment management division from 1 May. This will operate from the existing stockbroking offices in Torquay, only a few yards from the firm's offices.

Nigel Wollen, partner with the Torquay firm, says: " The two Clapham brothers have run the Torquay branch of the stockbroking firm for a number of years and have handled a good part of our investment business."

The firm begins the full

operation of its new division with an opening estimate of funds under management of between £8 million and £10 million, according to Wollen. The total is derived "both from our own client base and that of the Claphams," according to Wollen.

Hooper & Wollen begin the division as full members of the Association of Solicitor

Investment Managers and will be offering a full range of advisory, discretionary and execution-only services, PEP management and advice on life policies, bonds, personal pensions as well as other products.

The tightening of Law Society regulation had forced the firm to review its involvement in investment management services, which had largely been handled through permitted third parties, says Wollen.

"Firms who were doing a bit of discrete investment business have had to make a decision, either to employ someone who is qualified to do it or not to do it. We had a very unusual opportunity to take on an existing office rather than taking one over from scratch."

Michael Clapham says: "We believe that the development of a comprehensive

service through a well established firm of solicitorslen will meet a great need in this part of the country.

"Clients will also enjoy the substantial professional indemnity protection afforded by the solicitors profession which exceeds that offered by the Securities and Futures Authority."