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Yorkshire law firm Keeble Hawson has scored a deal advising independent financial adviser (IFA) support network 2plan on its start up.
Leeds-based 2plan, which will provide a back-office system for IFAs across the country, has been set up by directors Chris Smallwood and Chris Davies with life office giant Standard Life taking a minority stake.
Keeble Hawson Leeds-based regulatory associate Tim Maclean led the team acting for 2plan, with input from the firm's corporate, IP, property and employment departments. According to Maclean, the deal was a particular coup for the firm because Smallwood and Davies are new to Leeds, having been based previously in Manchester.
"They were looking to set up a financial services business in Leeds because there's a large financial community here," he said. "They went to see several firms in Leeds, but chose us because it had to go through Financial Services Authority registration, and we do a lot of compliance, authorisation and advisory work. That's unusual for a firm of our size."
The Keeble Hawson team has advised 2plan on developing its back-office system, which will allow IFAs to sell 2plan-branded products, such as life policies and insurance. Although everything will be branded '2plan', using the service will not jeopardise an IFA's independence, because the 2plan software provides access to the whole of the market. Similarly, Standard Life's involvement does not create tied-agent issues because the company's products will be sold alongside those from all its major competitors.
According to Maclean, Keeble Hawson is hopeful that it will be instructed on all of 2plan's legal work in future, with the prospect of also advising the IFAs signed up to the service on, for example, trust issues. 2plan intends to have around 1,000 IFAs signed up within the next three to five years.
Standard Life was advised on the deal by Edinburgh-based Burness Solicitors.