The BSB has lodged its application to become a licensing authority for alternative business structures. Many have predicted the coming together of the branches of the legal professions in England and Wales over the years and many have been proved wrong by the stubborn persistence of the traditional legal titles. However, is this the first genuine milestone towards that end? There will be a real choice of regulator for legal businesses who offer reserved legal activities, which suggests that ABS owners will in the future look hard at what their proposed regulator might offer in terms of cost, brand and (dare I say it) lightness of touch.

I am sure I won't have been the only one at the recent Legal Futures conference on legal regulation to have remarked on the heartfelt plea from the CEO of one ABS business regulated by the SRA for the BSB to hurry up and become a licensing authority.