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Alan Lakey to stand for Aifa council as SJP considers membership

Adviser Alliance director Alan Lakey is standing for election to the Aifa council as St James’s Place considers joining the soon to be rebranded trade body.

Aifa is set to rebrand as the Association of Professional Financial Advisers in November following its AGM where new council members will be decided.

Lakey has rejected invitations to stand in the past but says he is impressed by the trade body’s lobbying on the long-stop and regulatory accountability.

He says: “Adviser Alliance has achieved things, but has probably run its course. I am hoping to introduce my thinking into Aifa. In truth, the IFA word has lost its cachet. The service SJP provides is not that different to the service I provide, though there may be a difference in mindset.”

“My belief is if a trade body was to only accept IFAs as members, within a year 80 per cent of its membership would become restricted. That is down to the decisions made by the FSA.”

There are four small firm representatives on the Aifa council. Norwest Consultants principal Harry Katz has confirmed he will not be seeking re-election.

SJP had previously stated it would not be looking to join the redefined trade body but a spokesman says it is reconsidering its position. He says: “It is an interesting development, like many developments surrounding the RDR, and we are considering it.”

Aifa policy director Chris Hannant says: “It is encouraging people are keen to get involved and recognise the benefits of joining. Anyone who offers advice and works on behalf of and in the interests of the clients is eligible.”

Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director and Aifa member Dennis Hall says: “There are groups that want to take up the independent mantle. Apfa has focused on the bigger picture. Smaller firms might not like the idea of SJP joining, but there is no strong alternative. We need to stand up and lobby as an industry and move away from our history of infighting which has not necessarily helped our cause.”


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There are 29 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. A very positive step that will add, in football parlance, “strength and depth to the squad” to cope with the challenges a post RDR world will present to advisers and consumers alike.

  2. Here’s hoping Alan gets elected.
    Someone who really understands the assault we are under by the regulator.

  3. Alan is the only chance to make what is now AIFA into something meaningful and useful. Previous attempts by others have turned them into political animals. Alan has the right mindset, strength in character and experience to help real advisers.

  4. Cant think of a more needed member of the Board

    Garry Heath

  5. I will certainly renwe my membership if Alan is elected.

  6. Neil F Liversidge 3rd October 2012 at 9:32 am

    I have nominated Alan to the Board. There are three vacancies this year with Harry Katz standing down and the two existing members, Gary Bottriell and Dick Carne are both very deserving of re-election. If you are an AIFA member with a vote I urge you to support Gary, Dick and Alan. If you are not an AIFA member I urge you to join!

  7. A very positive move

    It is a shame Harry is standing down

  8. My old mucker Alan deserves EVERYBODIES support. He is the right man for the job. It may well be that a bit more new blood is also required.

    AIFA was a dead man walking !!!

    APFA has the opportunity of a clean slate and a new approach if it has the right personnel. It desperately needs a clearout and a change of direction. So stop ‘talking a good game’ and talking ‘tough’ and start really making a difference !

    With Alan involved I can tell you for sure it has the best opportunity in years !

  9. DH whoever you may be – thank you for your kind words. I feel perhaps that your sentiments are not in the majority. Anyway I’ve had my turn and it is time perhaps for new blood and I certainly endorse Alan. We may have our differences, but I feel he will be an asset as a representative for the smaller firm and hopefully a stalwart voice for those who will still value independence. He is certainly a hard and indefatigable worker and I think he should stop considering and plunge in.
    Good luck Alan

  10. Neil F Liversidge 3rd October 2012 at 10:02 am

    @ Harry Katz – Harry it has been a privilege and a pleasure to work with you and the whole IFA community owes you a fulsome vote of thanks. I thank you personally and hope our paths cross again frequently.

  11. Becoming a headcase IFA 3rd October 2012 at 10:23 am

    I would certainly consider membership (assuming I haven’t had enough of all this crap by next March) if Alan Lakey was elected. He always seems to make sense when he says anything.

  12. I cancelled my membership following the appointment of Steve Gay, but I will revisit if Alan gets elected.

    I have nothing against Steve as an individual but having worked with him in the past my view was that he was not the right person to be representing IFA`s at AIFA and I suspected that he wasnt really that interested anyway!

    The move away from representing only IFA`s was perhaps inevitable although we should wait and see what happens in the glorious new world before killing off independence pnce and for all.

  13. Well it’s sad H Katz is going and good the A Lakey is standing for election. We need strong leadership who care about the advising community and have the technical knowledge, working knowledge and ability to engage with those who make the decisions affecting us. Good luck!

  14. I will not be renewing my membership if restricted advisers are allowed to join after all where is the voice of the true independent financial adviser nowadays.

    We need to work with the regulator to create a better system for all rather than always striking out and jeering from the sidelines that will get us nowhere.

    Where is the help from AIFA in raising the profile of qualified independent financial advisers and getting the message across to the general public of the RDR changes. Instead of the wishful thinking that regulation will be changed at the last moment maybe it’s time to start promoting to the general public the proposed changes.

    If I was a member of the general public at present I wouldn’t know the difference between chartered financial adviser and independent financial adviser as a reality there is no difference as they both hold an SPS certificate. Maybe AIFA should be putting some of its resources into getting the regulator to promote what RDR means to the consumer and an SPS logo would be good starting point.

    Just waiting for all of the negative comments as usual but reality is only two months away.

  15. Guess what ?

    I just put my SPS in the window 15 minutes ago and there is already a queue of about 40 people waiting to see me.

    Its so busy I have installed a take a ticket machine (like at the cheese counter in Tescos) and there has already been a fight between two old timers over who was first !!!!

    Give me bloody strength !!

  16. Derek

    That my point the general public do not know what it mean to them?

    We can all talk about the rights and wrongs of RDR but at some point we have to get a message across to the customer and AIFA is not doing that!

    It you think that the FSA is going to stop RDR at this stage then think again. We have to have a clear message to the customer on what RDR means and a SPS logo would be a good start point. Just like Gas Safe for Gas Engineers

  17. The industry has morphed over the years – not necessarily for the better. The prime mover for these changes has not been the consumer but the regulator.

    As an industry I would imagine we all accept that whole of market advice is the gold standard. I’m not talking about the subtle distinctions between Chartered, Certified, CF this and that but the differences between whole of market and non-whole of market.

    Like it or not – and in truth I don’t – the FSA has created the confusion that will surely exist. AIFA didn’t create it, advisers didn’t create it or ask for it, the FSA determined with first depolarisation and secondly the RDR experiment, that it would allow all manner of hybrid advice services.

    Being Chartered does not automatically distinguish advice as superior or even worthwhile, there will always be variations of competence as with any profession. The distinguishing features for consumers to know and understand are whether the adviser is limited in, a) the areas he will or can advise on, and, b) whether the adviser operates from the whole of the available market or a smaller sector.

    Given the disparate advisory creations any representative body has to decide whether to severely limit its potential membership (and ultimately its sustainability) or whether to accept that the distinctions are now blurred and less important than once they were.


    I’ve just had to close the doors !!!!

    Peter – bless you heart – I was going to respond but to be honest I just cant be a+rsed !

  19. Alan

    The first thing that should be done is to promote the SPS standard which should be a badge to show consumer that they are speaking to a qualified adviser.

    Then I would agree with you we need to highlight the difference between independent whole of market advice and restricted.

    The problem is at present the consumer has no idea of how to differentiate between a non-qualified adviser and a qualified adviser which is why I say and SPS logo would be a good idea.

    I have heard a lot of comment from advisers who have not got to the level for qualification standards hinting that they can continue giving advice on an execution only basis as long as they don’t give a written recommendation. I think this is a very dangerous concept and one I hope the regulator stamps on immediately.

  20. Peter here is one of the negative comments you so accurately invisaged. Firstly go see Gill Cardy as she has set up what could be a successful independent only trade body. secondly as for promoting the forthcoming changes, the reasons that the OVERWHELMING majority of advisers arent promoting it is because it will be a disaster for the industry and clients alike. I for one do not wish to be associated with promoting something that is so doomed to failure it defies all belief that the canariwarfians are still looking at pressing ahead with this monster. Until th eday I die or leave the industry I will not promote the RDR or its successor. I have been telling clients for months about RDR for what it is. An imposed idiology thought up by acedemics who rule our industry but dont know anything about the reality of the normal working person. As a rule of thumb the industry dont want it, the public dont want it and advisers on the whole dont want it. You and other pro RDRers may well have a successful fee based (or AC based) businesses but are selling pre RDR products. Believe me, when we all start selling post RDR products and see just how much detriment there is to clients with these products compared to you charging your fees under the current system and current range/style/charged products you will see a world of difference and so will the clients. If you or anyone else cant see this coming I really fear for you. This is why we should not start promoting the changes. Clients are worse off, we are worse off, providers WILL lose distribution and there will be additional casualties in their thousands and not just in the adviser world. The best thing the FSA can do (for us, providers, clients and themselves) is to put a delay on RDR day in the mean time. The European rejection on the commission ban IS going to create unfair playing field in Europe over the UK for foreign advisers with UK clients. If we are in Europe then we must abide by their rules – This is unfortunately not open for discussion, this is the law. If the FSA proceed with RDR, as sure as night follows day it will lead to yet more costs when the legal battle from EU commences and the FSA (sorry FCA as it will be by then probably) WILL lose – just like the Treaty of Rome many years ago put pegs to the French when they tried to have their own way. Then the system will have to go back to what we have now. This is the FSA’s chance to scrap this abomination (sorry delay it for an unspecified time in the future) and still save face. The iwll lose and they will lose Huge, but hey ho the probably dont care as its not their money. Its ours and our clients. Sorry I got side tracked from the issue here. Alan Good luck with your nomination. I wish you well

  21. Marty

    I really want somebody who so negative towards RDR explain to me what has changed apart from having to get a fee agreement signed by client and obtain higher qualifications.

    After all where you not always disclosing your commission and if you were why you are so afraid of charging a client a fee whether that is an upfront fee or an agreed drip fee.

    Please explain your concerns as I’m interested as nobody that is so against the commission ban has yet explained to me why this is such a big thing. I suspect is only because they haven’t been disclosing their commission all these years.

    After all what is so different about a 3% commission rate and a 3% adviser initial fee on a lump sum investment, in my book the only differences is the latter you have to get assigned fee agreement the client is fully aware of, please correct me if I am wrong.

    Before anybody starts about VAT the revenue has already stated that as long as you follow the six steps process which financial advisers would do when giving advice VAT is not applicable.

    As regard to your comment the consumer doesn’t want it does that not depend on how you asked the question? If you ask a client would you prefer a system that has a clearer way of disclosing charges – I’m sure the answer would be YES.

    As I have said many times before the people that should be afraid in RDR are the providers as I really do think that it will highlight their high charges in return the lack of service and poor investment returns.

    In a recent review I commented on the RDR changes and my client turned around and said what has changed you have to be remunerated your time just like I have to be just like a solicitor or accountant.

    If you change your outlook I’m sure you won’t have such a problem with RDR

    Finally if you don’t like the fact that you are regulated you know where the door is as regulation in our trade is a reality we cannot get away from and you only have to see from the miss selling scandals of the past it is necessary. I would agree that are regulator has been woeful in the past and I can only hope that stricter rules will raise standards across the board as I’m a bit fed up of having to pay for other people’s mis-selling and also be put in the same boat as them.

  22. Peter. As I have said before one of the big, big issues around RDR that advisers either havent cottened on to it or have forgotten about is the fact that providers currently can offset commission payments to advisers as a business expense against Corporation tax and rightgly so. However Under RDR and adviser charging HMRC will NOT allow this. Providers have publicly stated that the costs of their products will increase to offset this extra exense and they will have to pass it on to consumers through product charges. Thats the first thing. Secondly I fully accept regulation is here to stay and believe it or not I think it is a great idea (and I also know where the door is btw). It is the way it has been so incompetantly run that I have a problem with. We have had disclosure since the 90’s so all clients everywhere have had explicit disclosure on commission or as fees in £££’s and pence along all product charges in terms of %ages plus shown in terms of RIY and these come from provider along with pol docs so even the few clients who may have unscroupulous advisers out there who dont/havent disclosed it at POS will get this direct from the horses mouth so to speak so I dont accept that argument. Please go off and get a provider to do you a quote for £100k bond on a no initial charge basis (ie establishment charge) now with no withdrawls. Do this on 3 + 0.5 trail and check the figures at the 10 yr point compared to a proper Post RDR quote based on 3 + 0.5 on going. You will be amazed at the difference. Who keeps this???? The provider!!and this is even before we get into the nitty gritty of incresed product charge. Lets alos not forget under AC, in a bond if client wants to take withdrawal from it, the initial and ongoing AC is included in the 5%. Hardly of benefit to client is it? It is equally as bad if you look at regular premium pension quotes from a clients point of view but for us it is worse as AC paid via product is on the drip and most clients cannot/will be able to afford to pay up front fees in the amounts that make it profitable for us to advise on these. Currently clients can opt for choice of how we get paid and for those who can afford to pay the fees we charge are better off doing that (sometimes) but atleast they have the choice. I am not even going to start on annuity business because that is worse still but all will be come clear come next year. I am sure I will not have convinced you that the current system is better in the same way you will never convice me the post RDR world will be better but I hope it explains why I and many others are against the commission ban. Its very simple its not in the clients best interest. If the FSA knew anything about the workings of commission at all they would never had come up with hair-brain idea. Toodles dear boy

  23. Gillian Cardy @ IFA Centre 3rd October 2012 at 7:28 pm

    There could be a strong alternative, the only one focussed on representing and supporting Independent advice – but if Independent advisers want that then it needs their support.
    What should be increasingly obvious from movements over the last few weeks is that organisations dependent on provider funding are now mysteriously agnostic about Independence.
    I am not agnostic. My members are not agnostic. And they are prepared to commit to an organisation that is not agnostic.

  24. I think Alan will be a most valuable addition to the AIFA/APFA team and I wish him every success. The key, I think, is not to lambast the FSA/FCA for its wrong thinking on so many issues but to suggest positive alternatives that it may find difficult to dismiss out of hand.

    P.S. I’ll be having the rump steak with chips and salad next Thursday. Your treat.

  25. paolo standerwick 4th October 2012 at 9:11 am

    Why should commission stay?

    Because the consumer is given a choice of either fee or commission route. For those of us who give our clients all options, we know some take the commission route as opposed fee. Post RDR the client is pushed down a one way street e.g. fee only.

    RDR says take it or leave it, thats why commission should be an option!

  26. Marty

    I really wish you could see that advises the ones who are going to have an awful lot more power after RDR and if product providers put prices up because of the so-called loss of commission then surely as advisers we going to use providers who don’t do that.

    Instead of seeing RDR as a big evil thing maybe it’s time for advisers to start to see how we can effect change on providers. With regards to commission been offset as a business expense and fees not been allowed to, it was my understanding that if a fee is being collected for a third-party that said the can be deductible just as an introductory fee is deductible.

    I personally wouldn’t believe all of the negative hype coming from providers as I recently had to sitting on meeting with Aviva and a major platform provider and they were coming out similar comments. Personally I think this is just propaganda and when we get to the reality what will see is a price war.

    It looks like the never going to agree and that’s fine we are all entitled to our opinions.

  27. On 3rd of October I wrote that I endorsed Alan as a candidate and said that I hoped he would be a “representative for the smaller firm and hopefully a stalwart voice for those who will still value independence”
    I was (not for the first time) in ignorance. I didn’t realise that Alan was intending to be yet another defector to the cause of independence. I realise that times are changing, but the world will be made up of others besides restricted advisers and it is to be hoped that they too will have a voice in the council at APFA. IS there anyone who will be representing the small independent firm going forward?

  28. Well I wish you all luck.

    I for one have decided it is time to get off this crazy driverless train and I have offered my clients fees for over 20 years.

    Personally I think one of the reuilts of RDR will be that more and more consumers will buy online without advice and that it will be mainly the wealthy who benefit from RDR. Once the confusion and understanding settles in little will change. Don’t think it will stop bad advice orpeople being ripped off .

    I still prefer the product being regulated with the costs of regulation, commission etc. also being controlled.

    Not sure if AIFA can recover either but at least you guys are trying.

    Good luck to you all

  29. @Harry Katz.

    Harry, it’s a bit like the FCA and the FSA. The name on the door changes but the same guys remain inside.

    My business model – whole of market advice on the defined areas I work within – will be the same enxt year as it is today.

    The difference is nothing to do with me but everything to do with a regulator that has steadily chipped away at the worth of the term ‘IFA’ as a label.

    The new rules mean it is a free-for-all where any type of business model is allowed. Theoretically this offers consumers a wider choice but the reality is that the understanding or IFA and non-IFA, built up over twenty years, has been deconstructed and consumers will not have any realistic idea who they are consulting.

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