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82% back Sofa-LIA merger

An overwhelming majority of IFAs would like to see the LIA and the Society of Financial Advisers merge.

The Money Marketing/ One Account State of the IFA Nation poll found that 82 per cent backed a merger and only 16 per cent wanted the two organisations to remain separate and 2 per cent did not know.

The LIA has 23,000 members and Sofa, the financial services arm of the CII, has 9500 members. There is already an overlap between memberships, with many advisers being members of both organisations. The merger was discussed two years ago but negotiations collapsed and the idea was abandoned.

New Sofa chairman Nick Bamford has already announced that Sofa is looking at plans to merge with the Institute of Financial Planning and has promised to bring radical changes.

The advisers surveyed were more evenly split over whether Aifa should also join up with Sofa and the LIA, with 55 per cent wanting to keep Aifa separate.

Aifa director of public affairs Tracey Mullins argues against the idea of a merger between all three, saying Aifa has established itself as a trade, not professional, body and has a different role to play.

Sofa managing director Brian Lawless says: “There have already been negotiations between Sofa and the LIA but these have stopped for the time being, I am sure at some point there will be a merger but at the moment the two groups are fulfilling different roles and advisers are paying for different services from them.”

LIA head of public affairs John Ellis says: ” It is a case of not yet. Plans for a merger broke up in disarray a couple of years ago a over a whole lot of issues. It is still there as a possibility but for the time being we will soldier on separately. We already work together on several initiatives.”

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