SRA serious ongoing competence
The session on continued competence at the October COLP and COFA Conference in Birmingham was enlightening. SIFA Professional, whom as you are aware we are proud members of, wrote about this for Legal Futures last month. It left us in little doubt that there will be further pressure and perhaps new guidance early in 2024.
We already know that the SRA, whilst accepting that the identifying of learning requirements has to ultimately be done by an individual lawyer, they firmly believe that a firm’s management and ultimately the COLP, can assist by organising and supervising the identified CPD requirements.
The conference presentation, delivered by SRA Policy Associate, Richard Williams, can be viewed here, it is certainly worth a watch, and from our perspective, it only reinforced the Forrester Boyd Wealth Management view, that we can be a real ally to our law firm partners, when it comes to continued competence.
“How you would think about the challenges and quality of your practice – asking questions of yourself – where can I do things differently? Where can I improve? This helps identify any learning and development needs”.
Reflecting on the areas where legal and financial overlap
The process outlined by the regulator suggests that an individual lawyer must continually – reflect, identify, plan and address, record and then evaluate. Indeed, when a respected organisation such as STEP launches a new CPD support tool, you know it is time to take this more seriously. We feel highly qualified to support this process with individual solicitors or indeed, at firm level, when it comes to the cross over areas between legal and financial. Of course, it is our longstanding belief that because modern day clients have complex advice needs and problems which cross over the disciplines, that professional advisers, such as lawyers, accountants and financial planners should closely collaborate.
There are multiple areas of learning and development, that will constantly need to be refreshed in the areas where the work undertaken by a lawyer will need complementary financial input. In addition to the actual knowledge that can be shared, it is also vital as a lawyer to be able to recognise at what stage in a process the client they are advising needs to be referred to a carefully chosen third party financial planning partner. Particularly, in for example, the divorce process when a variety of pension assets, defined contribution or indeed future benefit, are involved.
CPD Training partners?
Like you, our team at Forrester Boyd Wealth Management have to undertake continual professional development and as such will be well used to designing training in a format covering objectives and learning outcomes, which the SRA is keen for the lawyers in your teams to record.
The training could be to update you or your teams on the financial tools, wrappers and investments that complement the legal advice you are providing or indeed might be on more generic areas that impact both professions. Below is a wide range of advice specific areas, followed by some more generic or regulatory subjects, which we feel qualified and confident to cover as part of an ongoing CPD programme. The content might be delivered by ourselves or in conjunction with SIFA Professional via monthly webinar.
- The financial aspects of estate planning and where government tax reliefs available via investment and pension vehicles might complement legal advice.
- The financial aspects of divorce or separation and how and when financial advice will be required.
- The Investment of trust assets in line with the Trustee Act 2000.
- The options available when planning for care in later life for self-funders.
- Vulnerability – how to identify and advise vulnerable clients and the regulators’ view on this vital subject.
- The use of cash-flow modelling in financial planning and how this can complement your legal advice.
- The difference between true financial planning and transactional financial advice.
- The importance of a client’s attitude to risk, how this is assessed and how it informs the creation of a financial plan.
- General investment market commentaries and updates.
Forrester Boyd Wealth Management is here to help
The above list is by no means exhaustive, and we would encourage you to engage with your teams, identify topics and areas where they would value external input and then speak to us, as a trusted and valued partner. We are ready, willing and able to support you and help you demonstrate to the SRA, in 2024 and beyond that you are taking your ongoing competence seriously.
If you would like a CPD certificate after reading this blog, please complete the following information and we’ll send your certificate by email.