First, congratulations! Having worked with barristers for 27 years, I know how time-consuming and stressful applications for silk can be, and the joy (and relief) upon appointment.

Now that you have received the kitemark of advocacy excellence, the task ahead is to build your new silk practice. Chances are that the diary may be looking a little empty as you source your new clients and shape your success in silk – in a financially sustainable way. Like everyone else, you will almost certainly be taking this opportunity to consider the appointment of a financial adviser, review an existing relationship, or self-plan – after all, why pay for advice, you may ask.

This article provides an essential overview of what one should expect from such professionals, as well as tips and steers you will need to make an informed decision.  


With increasing age and wealth comes increased complexity. An adviser can help you navigate your way through the risks, opportunities and technicalities of protecting your situation and investing for the future.

An adviser offers objectivity, tests your views/preconceptions and can help you understand your financial situation fully. Working closely with an adviser helps you achieve your objectives. Without planning, one increases risks, misses opportunities and is less likely to achieve your financial goals.

Tip: Projecting income streams and likely capital using cashflow modelling can give you better clarity on your finances as you build up your new client base.


New silks are likely to be in their 40s or 50s, have reasonably considerable expenses, perhaps be partnered and/or have dependent children and are likely to be mortgaged. Such a situation prompts discussion on how to protect oneself or one’s dependents upon death or inability to work. Why expose yourself and your loved ones to potentially catastrophic financial hardships? A competent adviser can identify risks, quantify liability, determine the most appropriate protection products and source the cheapest cover.

Tip: Engaging the services of a fee-based firm and paying for protection products by way of a fee rather than paying via commission typically saves a great deal of money as commissions on life contracts can be very high, increase premiums and are often totally unjustifiable.

Risk and diversification

Commissioning a financial advisory firm to analyse your attitude to risk and capacity for loss helps ensure your hard-earned cash is invested wisely and behaves as expected. We are all familiar with diversifying different assets, geographical regions and currencies. However, far too little attention is paid to diversifying tax wrappers such as pensions, ISAs, investment accounts, investment bonds, venture capital trusts and enterprise investment schemes.

Tip: Spreading one’s assets between several ‘wrappers’ protects against unwelcome changes in their treatment, allows one a wider range of reliefs and allowances and reduces the tax upon withdrawal.

Investment management

Some self-investment options offer low charges and others offer slick online trading. The cheaper pension and investment platforms typically have a very limited investment range and fixed asset allocations which hamper performance. The best investment funds cannot be accessed at cut price rates and therefore those that remain tend to be those that have historically underperformed. Other platforms that offer a wider range of funds can be very expensive compared to those accessible to advisers. An adviser can source investment funds and propositions that are likely to give the best performance after charges and can ensure these are reviewed regularly to help mitigate losses.

An adviser also offers perspective. When judging a fund there are wider considerations than just whether it goes down or up, and by how much.

Tip: A competent adviser will test performance to appropriate, third-party benchmarks to see whether a fund is beating its sector and is doing so without undue risk.


Setting goals, identifying and mitigating risks, researching and selecting products and platforms, picking funds and frequently reviewing all of the aforementioned is a labour-intensive job. To manage affairs competently one has to be assured that the cost saving is not offset by lost chargeable hours. For most this is debatable and typically, much like those that need legal assistance, it pays to seek professional advice.


Fleet Street Wealth is offering a free independent whole-of-market review to silks and senior barristers who respond to this editorial quoting FSW/Counsel 4/23. Offer available until the end of June 2023. To book your free review, or to find out more, please visit:

This information is based on our understanding of current allowances and rates which could be subject to change. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. The past is not a guide to future performance and past performance may not necessarily be repeated. It is important to take professional advice before making any decision relating to your personal finances. 

Fleet Street Wealth is a trading style of Fleet Street Financial Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.