SMALL independent accountancy firms could be boosted by the introduction of the Legal Services Act, which will allow them to merge with law firms, according to a senior officer at the ICAEW.

Felicity Banks, head of business law at the institute, said that it would enable them to provide a more varied set of services to clients.

In a letter to today's Financial Times, she said the Act would "enable small legal and accountancy practices to merge, thus retaining a high-street presence for both while providing a wider range of services to clients on a more efficient and economic basis."

Banks said that changes in the act might also help insurance brokers and independent financial advisors.

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