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Aifa warning of Mifid chaos

The European Union’s controversial markets in financial instruments directive could cause major confusion in the investment advice market and bog IFAs down in yet more costly regulation, warns Aifa deputy director general Fay Goddard.Aifa says IFAs holding client money, up to 10 per cent of IFAs, are expected to be hit by major changes when Mifid comes into force in 2007, including a potentially crippling 50 per cent increase in professional indemnity insurance requirements.Minimum PI cover could rise from 1.1m to 1.6m, a figure which Goddard says is “barking mad”.Goddard says these IFAs will have to comply with much tougher rules, requiring them to assess suitability and appropriateness of advice gauging investors’ education, qualifications and investment experience.Mifid, which replaces the Investment Services Directive, was originally expected to affect the vast majority of IFAs but those not holding client money have been given an exemption. Any firm that wants to trade cross-border will have to request to opt in to Mifid.But even if the exemption is applied, Goddard says all IFAs may ultimately be forced to adjust the way they do business to avoid the inevitable confusion created by having two sets of conduct of business rules for investment advice. She says the directive’s wider definition of investment advice could also scupper the basic advice regime used to sell stakeholder products.The FSA has already made it clear that some aspects of Mifid may be imposed on the wider IFA market when the directive is incorporated into its newly simplified conduct of business handbook. It is planning to consult on the implementation in November and will conduct a cost-benefit analysis of any changes to its rules.Goddard says: “The market is desperate for stability. IFAs need as little change as possible to the conduct of business rules.”


Friends marketing chief takes new role at Zurich

Zurich has recruited Friends Provident head of protection marketing Peter Hamilton with the aim of increasing its IFA market share. Hamilton joins Zurich as protection management director. His role puts him above protection development manager Gerry Warner, who was brought in from Standard Life last year. He is on gardening leave from Friends Provident and […]

FSCS sets out bond misselling figures

Defunct companies Berry Birch & Noble Financial Services, David Aaron Partnership and RJ Temple lost most claims for precipice bond misselling, according to figures from the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.

Macpherson in Treasury move

Nicholas Macpherson has been appointed Permanent Secretary to the Treasury, succeeding Sir Gus O’Donnell. Macpherson was previously managing director of the budget and public finance directorate and before that was head of the public services directorate. He has 20 years’ experience in the civil service

Simon Fletcher

Auto-enrolment: pay attention or pay the price

By Simon Fletcher

As a chief executive officer of a business in the financial services sector, I have been dealing with the introduction of auto-enrolment for our clients for some time, but I can also speak from an employer’s point of view, having to go through the process ourselves.


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