Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves

You may be asked to trust your legal services provider with some of your money. David Pope explains how regulated firms must manage client money, and things to consider if the firm is unregulated.

“Hi there, shall I hold on to that £250,000 for you? I know we have only just met, and we probably won’t ever again after this is finished, but you don’t mind me having it, do you?”

If you received that request then I think the majority of us would know what to say. Keep your money secure; that probably would be a very good decision.

However, when dealing with a legal matter, you may be asked to trust your legal services provider with some of your money. What you need to remember is that it is your money and the firm must look after it.

How should they protect it?

If it is one of CILEx Regulation’s authorised firms, they have to comply with specific rules governing how they manage your money. They must keep a record of how much they hold on your behalf and keep that money safe so it can be paid when required.

They must check monthly to make sure that the money in the account matches their records. They also will have indemnity insurance and contribute to a compensation scheme so you may be able to seek recompense if it is lost.

What should you think about?

There are a lot of unregulated firms who will say they need to hold your money; for example, in sorting out a deceased’s estate.

So, before you get a firm to start any work for you, check:

  • how they hold any money on your behalf;
  • if they provide regular statements to you of the money they hold;
  • if they are independently regulated and check what that means for you;
  • they are supervised for money laundering compliance;
  • what insurance cover they have in place;
  • if you would be eligible for a compensation scheme for any loss and how much that provides;
  • what complaints procedure is in place.

This is not to say you should not use an unregulated firm, but don’t ignore the benefits that a regulated firm can provide when holding your money.

Go to our Firm Directory to find a regulated firm and see the protection they provide.


See more