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Philip Barnsley  

Partner, Head of Family

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Credibility is not just a paper exercise

 

Article date:  17/02/2017

Developing our client relationships takes on many forms for Higgs & Sons.  Our advisers work with professional colleagues from many other sectors and provide advice and support on a range of topics.

One such initiative was launched by Higgs' Family department over the winter of 2015-16 when  Phil Barnsley and his team produced a seminal White Paper that would enable professional partners in the financial services sector  help protect the assets of their clients involved in relationship breakdown.

The ground breaking paper, Nuptial Agreements, A Shared Responsibilitywas produced in part as a response to an increasing number of generous awards made to weaker financial parties involved in family breakups. The situation resulted in certain quarters labelling the UK as the 'divorce capital of the world'.

Phil Barnsley explains more.

"We have worked hard to develop strong relationships with financial advisers over many years and we felt that wealth protection advice following family breakdown was an area in which we could add value to those relationships.

"Nuptial agreements were fast becoming a cornerstone of wealth protection planning. They present individuals and families the chance to protect their wealth in the event of a relationship breakdown.  This creates a responsibility on all advisors engaged in wealth protection services to make their client's aware of this increasingly important resource."

"We believed it was incumbent on every wealth protection professional to advise their clients to prepare for such an eventuality. That was the essence of our White Paper."

The launch of Higgs & Sons' White Paper took place in over the winter of 2015 / 16. Leading UK barrister and Deputy High Court Judge, Nicholas Cusworth QC who wrote a foreword for the paper, supported the Higgs team in developing and launching the paper.

"Higgs' White Paper provided a comprehensive update for wealth protection advisors about the increasing stature of nuptial agreements in the UK," comments Nicholas.

"I'm extremely pleased to have been involved in the preparation and launch of this important document which will offer a key tool for all professional advisers working with clients who are looking to protect their wealth."

Following its launch to a group of invited guests made up of IFAs and wealth advisers, Philip and the family team gave a series of presentations to provide more detail on the paper and its implications for working with clients experiencing family breakdown.

Nuptial Agreements, A Shared Responsibilitywas not a one off initiative however, as the paper became a focal point to build and maintain relationships.  In October 2016, one year after the paper was first launched, Philip provided a valuable update on nuptial agreements to professional partner organisations to ensure the advice they were offering was based on the latest information available.

"Since launching the paper last year, we have received numerous enquiries and assisted a number of clients and contacts with regards to nuptial agreements, and the feedback that we have had is that this information has helped our partners develop and sustain relationships with their clients.

"We feel it is important to continuously review the position regarding nuptial agreements so that we continue to add value to our professional relationships as a source of credible, expert advice to our colleagues across all sectors."

Nuptial Agreements - A Shared Responsibility was not only an important document providing specific information to professionals working in the field of wealth protection, it was also a valuable tool in our efforts to maintain relationships with our professional colleagues - and that lies at the heart of what we do as a firm." 

To access a copy of Nuptial Agreements, A Shared Responsibility click here.

Nicholas Cusworth QC is Head of Chambers at 1 Hare Court in London, a foremost set of specialist chambers in the field of financial provision on marriage or relationship breakdown. He was Chair of the Family Law Bar Association in 2012/13 and sits as a Deputy High Court Judge in the Family Division.

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