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St James's Place welcomes SRA restricted referrals decision

St James's Place welcomes SRA restricted referrals decision

Tied advice force St James's Place (SJP) has welcomed the Solicitor Regulation Authority's (SRA) decision to allow solicitors to make referrals to restricted advisers.

The SRA board to agreed the SRA's recommendation that solicitors should no longer make referrals to independent financial advisers only.

The board's decision will allow solicitors to refer clients to restricted firms like St James's Place when they could not before.

David Bellamy (pictured), SJP chief executive, said: ‘We welcome the decision by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority as we believe one of the clear benefits of the retail distribution review is that it ensures a higher minimum standard of professional qualification across the industry.

'The improved professional standing of all financial advisers should allow the focus to shift away from the status of the adviser, to the thing that matters most for clients - the quality of the advice that they receive. We also believe that solicitors should be allowed the professional judgement and freedom to decide what is in the best interests of their clients.'

However Ian Muirhead, chairman of solicitor and IFA professional body Sifa, said the decision had exposed solicitors to unsuitable advice.

'We think the decision is highly regrettable as it exposes solicitors and clients to unsuitable advice with repercussions for the solicitors’ compensation fund. If all and sundry conflicted financial advisers being able to knock on solicitors’ doors saying you have to deal with us, solicitors will be in no position to judge horse flesh.

'The upside is that solicitors will be required by the rule to come to an informed decision in conjunction with their clients, so they need to convince themselves they’re doing the right thing. So this whole issue becomes a compliance issue.

'We have a great opportunity to assist independent firms to say why independence is so much better. The fact that our directory of professional financial advisers is endorsed by the Law Society will give us a great fillip and provide reassurance to solicitors. So there is daylight there.'

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