Legal Business Blogs

Sponsored briefing: Ask the private banker to senior lawyers

Emily Bernstein is an experienced private banker at Investec, who specialises in supporting legal leaders and senior lawyers. Here, she tackles the unique financial challenges facing senior legal professionals

Q: I’m too busy to manage my personal finances. Can private banking help?

A: It might be a cliché to say that lawyers are time-poor, but that doesn’t make it any less true. At Investec, we recognise that senior lawyers focus on the minutiae of their clients’ affairs, and often have little time to focus on their personal finances. But, putting something off until tomorrow, could turn into delays of months and then years.

Our focus on building lasting relationships with our clients means private bankers can simplify your affairs and add value. Whether that be making it easy for you to transact from home or abroad; flexible mortgage solutions which can take into consideration your current and future income profile to help you buy your dream home; FX solutions which help you manage the uncertainty around your dollar income; or wealth planning which allows you to plan your financial future and consolidate your pensions.

That said, time-saving should not be your primary motivation for exploring private banking.

Lawyers who have reached senior positions in their firms will tend to face a specific set of financial challenges because of their complex income structure. A private banker who understands your goals, as well as what your current and future earning profile looks like, will be able to offer tailored solutions for you.

Lockstep model

For example, many of our clients who make partner find that their income becomes more complex. Some law firms follow a ‘lockstep’ model while others implement ‘merit-based’ systems where remuneration is based on performance metrics such as billable hours or the value of new business generated. This could mean that partners can often receive a lower monthly draw in addition to large profit distributions.

When it comes to leveraging this earning power for a mortgage, a bank that looks at your financial situation holistically can provide an appropriate loan size and may be able to create a repayment schedule that aligns with your cash flow.

At Investec we were able to help a client, who had recently made partner, to achieve a loan with them contributing a deposit of 10%. We were able to achieve this by taking into account their current income as a new partner, with an understanding of their earning trajectory and profit distributions.

Earning in US dollars

Another area where we are seeing growing demand for our services is in foreign exchange, especially for UK-based clients who work in US law firms and receive their earnings in dollars. This means they need the ability to hold multiple currencies in their bank account and view and manage balances in one place.

Emily Bernstein

‘We are seeing growing demand for our services in foreign exchange, especially for UK-based clients who work in US law firms and receive their earnings in dollars.’
Emily Bernstein, Investec

In addition, with the support of our foreign exchange dealing team, it is possible to gain greater certainty by securing an exchange rate for an eligible trade, up to 24 months in advance.

For example, one lawyer wanted to secure the current exchange rate to capitalise on the strength of the US dollar ahead of receiving their profit distribution, so we provided an FX Open Forward contract. While they would not benefit if the dollar increased further, the move gave the client peace of mind ahead of purchasing a new home.


Finally, as many newly appointed partners become self-employed, it is not uncommon to need help with financial planning and specifically retirement plans. This is particularly the case if you are no longer receiving pension contributions from an employer or if your annual allowance for personal contributions has been reduced as your income has increased. Our financial planning experts can work with you to create tax-efficient long-term saving and investment options to align with future plans.

There is a lot to think about. As private bankers, our aim is to create beneficial, long-term relationships with our clients and give you peace of mind. We will support you every step of the way.

See how private banking can help you Investec provides extraordinary products and services specifically for legal professionals – from award-winning private bank accounts to flexible FX.

Please contact Emily directly to discuss your needs.

T: 07729 626215

Important information

You can only book a FX Forward, which is for an underlying personal or commercial spending purpose. You cannot book a FX forward for investment or speculative purposes, for example in order to achieve a gain based on movements in exchange rates. Also, you cannot book a FX Forward on behalf of any other person. Additional terms and eligibility criteria apply for FX Forwards.

Your property may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage. Investec residential mortgages are only available for residential properties in England or Wales and are primarily available to UK residents and subject to eligibility.

With investment your capital is at risk. The value of investments can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount invested.