Cambridgeshire financial advisers use ABS to buy law firm

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11 May 2015


Tony Larkins

Larkins: “a lot of our clients need the services of a solicitor”

Cambridgeshire financial advisers Beacon Wealth Management have used an alternative business structure to buy a local law firm.

Tony Larkins, managing director of Beacon, said it had always been his aim to own a law firm and accountancy practice, but the decision to purchase Jeffrey Mills Solicitors was triggered by a conversation in the gym.

Mr Larkins said this led to a meeting with Jeffrey Mills, the senior partner, and to setting up the ABS.

“A lot of our clients need the services of a solicitor, and a lot of solicitors’ clients need advice from a good wealth management company,” Mr Larkins said.

“I deal with a lot of high net-worth individuals, and there are plenty of wills and powers of attorney that need to be sorted out. It makes sense to add the offer of conveyancing services.”

Beacon Wealth Legal came into being as an ABS last month. Mr Larkins is chief executive, and Linda Eaton, his co-director, is practice director. Ms Eaton was previously a solicitor at local law firm Adlams.

The ABS operates under the training name of Jeffrey Mills Solicitors, which will continue to operate from its three existing offices in Sawtry, St Neots and St Ives in Cambridgeshire. Mr Mills is both head of legal practice and head of finance and administration.

Mr Larkins said the holding company which owns the wealth management company also owns the ABS.

He said his aim for the law firm was to double turnover over the next two to three years. He said he had an open mind as to whether the firm needed to expand into other areas of law but he had already doubled the size of its main office in Sawtry.

Mr Larkins said the law firm would benefit from the advice of Beacon Wealth Management’s marketing department and the ability to hold meetings at its offices in Huntingdon.

The financial adviser, who previously worked as an accountant, added that he was not planning on buying an accountancy firm this year. “The law practice needs to settle in,” he said. “At the moment I don’t know how much input will be needed from me.”

Leicester-based Bobby Dhanjal Wealth Management was the first firm of financial advisers to set up an ABS in March 2013.

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Legal Futures Blog

Joint (ad)ventures in the legal sector

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We all know that nothing in life is certain. As the actor, director and philosopher Clint Eastwood once said: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” He also said he’d tried being reasonable and didn’t like it. They should teach this kind of philosophy in law school. One thing in life is reasonably certain though. If you’re a law firm worth your salt, at some point you will be approached by another entity (most probably a work introducer) with a whizzy idea to ‘partner’ with you to ‘help you accelerate your growth’. In commercial speak this means, ‘we’d like to keep feeding you work but we’d also like to share in your profits’. The arrangement may be pitched to you as a joint venture – a win-win no less.

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