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.”