Law firms cash in on investment

Law firms are now handling more than £1 billion pounds worth of investment management business, according to research carried out by the Association of Solicitors in Investment Management (Asim).

The figures, due to be released on 16 January at the launch of Asim's directory, reveal a 50 per cent increase on last year's figures. This represents 1 per cent of the overall private client market of mid-range wealthy individuals who tend to invest with solicitors.

According to Asim chair David Lough, of Cripps Harries Hall, the increase proves that "more firms are providing a good service. It shows clients are happy, which is important as the most significant source of growth of business is clients talking to other clients."

He said the expansion showed "a growing public appreciation of solicitors firms' independence and trustworthiness in money matters".

Lough said it also acknowledged solicitors had employed staff with real investment expertise. He said it may also signify a trend where more people "are deciding to bring a broad range of their personal affairs under one roof, rather than asking different advisers for separate advice on such matters as tax, pensions, trusts or wills".

He said solicitors firms doing this business could expect £11 million in pounds in fees on the £1 billion business.

Heather Martin, Asim secretary, said the growth of investment management was "very significant". Other solicitors were "passing so much of this work on when they could do it themselves".