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A step forward or a takeover?

Former LIA pre-sident Peter Sprung found that the meeting with the LIA board answered many of his questions and he would like to see a truly unified body. However, he would have liked to see the merger talks including the Institute of Financial Planning.

Ex-LIA presid-ent Ken Davy backs the mer-ger as he says it will give advisers the recognition and standing they deserve and put them on a par with the legal and accountancy world.

Sofa founder Ben Carroll says he is firmly in favour of the merger as he feels that all advisers will have a hand in shaping the Personal Finance Society into what they want it to be in the future as the body will be owned by and therefore beholden to its members.

Former LIA pre-sident Andy Bedford says he has been con-vinced by ans-wers from the LIA board given at a meeting held for past presidents, saying that although the process might not have been completed correctly and all the details are not there, its spirit is well intended.

Former Sofa man-aging director Brian Lawless supports the merger overall but highlights the difficulties the board will face in bringing together a technically minded Sofa with the LIA, saying the regulator would take a negative view if the merger fails to go ahead given that it wants one professional body.

Ex-Sofa director Jo Smith says she backs the merger, saying that if the proposals do not go ahead now, it would be humiliating for the industry.

Ex-LIA comm-ittee member and Sofa former director and vicechairman Phil Billingham supports the merger and is urging IFAs to get behind the new board and get on with the merger. Billingham says there is huge overlap bet-ween the membership of the bodies and asks the industry to work on the 99 per cent it has in common rather than the 1 per cent that separates it.

Former LIA president Gavin Tisshaw says he wholehear-tedly supports the merger, seeing a completely natural fit where the relative str-engths and weaknesses of the two bodies compliment each other.

Although Tisshaw says he would have preferred to see the LIA/Sofa and the Institute of Financial Planning merge with firm educational links to the CII, Tisshaw believes that if the merger is rejected, it will send out a message that the industry does not want to be united in a common cause, share a professional ideal, improve standards of advice and business skills and generate greater consumer confidence.

Sofa fellow and Aifa board member Gary Bottriell rejects the merger, being highly critical of the proposed name Personal Finance Society as it contains no reference to advice and excludes those doing work in the corporate, trustee and charity sectors. He says the loss of the Sofa brand will severely damage attempts to create a recognised profession out of financial advice.

Ex-LIA presi-dent Len Warwick says he

is staunchly opposed, disagreeing with the proposal that only those with AFPC qualifications be on the board and on the Find an Adviser website and that the majority of the board could be made of up CII employees. He is appealing for more time voicing concerns over the speed with which the merger is happening.

Former LIA chief executive Jeff Travis says he is opposed to the merger, bel-ieving it will see LIA members losing the “dip” in their qualification, a downgrading of their membership status and a bias towards AFPC holders. He does not think members are being told the entire story.

Former LIA pre-sident Mike Clarke says he is against the merger as it is nothing more than a takeover of the LIA and he says the structure will exclude more than 80 per cent of LIA members from its leadership as board members must hold the AFPC.

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