At the end of last year the FSA published a factsheet on distributor influenced funds, outlining points of best practice that should be considered in the growing market.
IFA chairman Andrew Perkins says the group supports the FSA’s efforts to engage with the distributor influenced funds industry and says making sure that end recommendations are appropriate and offer value for money for the client is paramount.
He says a key strength and benefit to the client of a DIF is that the distributor knows what is happening within the fund; how it is being managed and how it links into the overall advice process via their governance role.
He says: “As has been demonstrated with some of the information that has come to light lately concerning underlying investments within ‘retail’ funds, this is not something that can always be said when buying funds off the shelf.”
Perkins says proper processes should always be in place to ensure that any recommendations meet the client needs at a cost that is both explained and acceptable to the client and that any conflicts of interest should be clear from outset.
He says: “The Association fully agrees with the FSA when they say that a DIF should not been seen as a vehicle from which additional income is derived without adding additional value for the customer, and there are numerous instances where the added value is demonstrable.”
IFA deputy chairman Anthony Harding says: “It is generally agreed that this market has being growing for around 5 years and with the FSA having issued the factsheets late last year, the market now has some guidance to work with. It is important that the FSA and the Association works together with the market to make sure the ‘key concerns’ outlined in the factsheets are answered’