Brokers urged to carry on with ABS plans

Published: 18/07/2011

Brokers should press on with their plans to create alternative business structures (ABS), despite a possible delay to their introduction, according a leading lawyer.

A significant number of brokers are expected to seize the opportunities delivered by the Legal Services Act, which allows businesses outside the legal sector to offer legal services for the first time through the creation of an ABS, licensed by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

The SRA licensing provision is subject to parliamentary sanction but the Legal Services Board was last week reported to have concerns over whether the time needed to secure that approval may cause the timetable to slip beyond the scheduled date of October 6.

Eddie Goldsmith, partner at Goldsmith Williams, says any adjournment will only be short-lived and that brokers should not scale back their preparations.

Goldsmith said: “For a number of organisations, the seeds of ABS have not only been sown, they have already begun to develop roots. Brokers need to match this commitment and not be distracted by possible delays.

“If there is a deferral, it will be measured in weeks or months rather than years and it will certainly not frustrate the long-term ambitions of firms such as the Co-Operative or Tesco, which have already declared their interest.

“Even Google is considering a mortgage comparison site, which could mark the first step in the Googlisation of the mortgage industry.

“Brokers should not become complacent or believe this meteoric change will not happen. Instead, they should use this extra time to iron out their strategies and make sure they are ready when the revolution arrives.”

Content correct at time of publication

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