We arranged a SOLLA/SFE joint event on 24th January 2019 at Exeter Racecourse, to listen to several speakers and to help IFAs and Solicitors to work together. The event was attended by 45 delegates and was generally regarded as extremely successful with excellent feedback.
I took over as the SOLLA Co-ordinator for Bristol and Somerset early in 2018 and one of the things already in my diary was arranging a presentation in July to SFE Devon & Cornwall, which had been agreed by my predecessor. It was here that I first met Emma Gray of Everys Solicitors, where we discovered we had the same vision: Solicitors and IFAs working together in order to provide the right advice to clients and their families at a very difficult time.
We’re delighted to have found that many more solicitors and advisers share this vision.
Following the July meeting Emma and I decided it would be a good idea to hold a joint SFE/SOLLA day and invite members of both organisations. We also discussed which speakers we could invite and what topics would be of interest to our members.
We invited Dr Laura Palmer from the South West Brain Bank to talk about their research into Alzheimers and dementia, and Ali Dickinson, a Death Doula from Living Well Dying Well, both of whom I had seen present before and found them very interesting. Emma and myself agreed we would take a 20-minute slot each to present on SFE and SOLLA and how we could work together to help each other and more importantly our clients, to give them peace of mind.
Emma said that SFE Devon and Cornwall had a small budget and asked if SOLLA had similar, which we did not, so I asked SOLLA head office if they would pay half as this was the first event of its kind. Cindy and Sheila agreed this and we settled on Exeter Racecourse as the venue, which was easy to get to with ample parking and great facilities.
We sent out a save the date email in November and a formal invitation in December, to which we had a great response. On the day, we had over 45 delegates in attendance – about 60% solicitors and 40% SOLLA members (or those thinking of becoming a SOLLA Member). The meeting could hardly have gone better, with all attendees saying it was excellent and we should hold more joint events - and of course, that’s just what we will be doing: watch this space. The only slight issue was that our event was on the same day as the St James Place conference, which resulted in somewhat fewer financial advisers attending the event.
Emma is very keen for Solicitors to work with SOLLA members in order to get the correct advice to her clients and gave some very good examples of cases where this has happened, as well as those where it did not, and the various outcomes. I presented on SOLLA, its demanding syllabus and rigorous accreditation process, also we as advisers can help to ensure that clients get the correct advice at the right time.
Emma and I have discussed the next joint event which we hope to hold in the summer of 2019, and we already have the speakers lined up. They include an independent Capacity assessor, a Forensic Accountant who specialises in cases of abuse of the elderly, and a solicitor who specialises in NHS CHC cases and appeals. All will have specific and highly relevant material for professionals dealing with the elderly.
So look out for another ‘save the date email’ shortly.