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Aifa says light-touch Dublin will lure IFAs

The Association of Independent Financial Advisers believes advisers will be drawn to Dublin’s lighter-touch regime despite the FSA claiming this is unlikely.

Director general Chris Cummings says following the FSA’s regulatory crackdown, Dublin will look to attract IFA firms, with advisers passporting back into the UK to service existing clients.

He says: “Advisers are facing the strain of the retail distribution review, costly and time-consuming prudential requirements and increased regulatory fees, charged so that the FSA can regulate banks. Companies are always going to look for the best place to run their business and I would not blame any of my members for looking into Dublin as an attractive option.”

But at the Association of British Insurers’ RDR conference in January, FSA retail policy and themes director Dan Waters said: “While adviser firms that operate cross-border will not be regulated by us, the preference of UK consumers for getting investment advice face to face suggests it is unlikely that adviser firms would migrate to other member states simply to avoid making the changes we are proposing.”

Chartwell Finance Management director John Boyle says firms’ existing customers are unlikely to be concerned by a move offshore. He says: “As the environment here becomes more restrictive, firms will have to look at other options. With the rise of electronic communication, well established clients will get the same level of service from a firm that moves offshore and they will be happy to do so.”

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