Wealth management: ABS won’t compete with law firms

A firm of midlands-based financial advisers has received approval to set up an alternative business structure (ABS) so as to extend its service to existing clients and drive revenue growth.

AFH Legal Ltd – a wholly owned subsidiary of listed independent financial advisory and wealth management firm AFH – has brought in two solicitors to run the firm, one of whom has been supporting the group’s trust and estate planning advisers for the past 18 months.

However, the firm will not be marketed externally – the company said it has “no wish” to compete with solicitors’ firms – and will only provide advice to AFH clients in order to bring in extra revenue.

AFH is a highly acquisitive, multi-million pound business. Chairman and chief executive of AFH Alan Hudson said: “Wills, trusts and estate planning forms the corner stone of professional financial planning for clients. The addition of an in-house legal services division, regulated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority, will prove to be of tremendous added value for our advisers and clients alike.”

AFH currently works with a number of professional connections on a joint venture basis, the largest of which is a solicitors’ practice. “This will be unaffected by today’s announcement as the primary motivation for the original relationship was to establish a wealth management arm to their business. AFH remains committed to continuing to develop these relationships.”

It follows in the footsteps of Leicester-based Bobby Dhanjal Legal Services and BlackStar Legal as financial advisers setting up a legal arm.

Also newly licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority as an ABS – as of 31 July – is Birmingham law firm Tyndallwoods. Director Judy Dyke said the sole purpose of converting was to enable her non-lawyer conveyancer husband Martin and finance director Steve Harris to become managers.

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