View more on these topics

Alan Rosengren

Given that Allan Rosengren says work is his main hobby, it is not surprising the Falcon Group chief executive has ambitious plans for his company.

As chief executive since the company became a non-listed PLC in 1985, Falcon recently made news with its joint venture with Stroud-based Inde-pendent Financial Services.

Rosengren, who prides himself on his strategic vision, thinks link-ups such as this are part of an industrywide trend. He firmly believes businesses have to be big to survive.

He says a wave of consolidation has been sweeping financial services, starting back in the 1950s with the banks and now finally reaching IFAs. He believes future capital adequacy requirements will fuel this phenomenon among product providers, which IFAs will be forced to reflect.

Rosengren says: “One hundred IFAs combined are worth much more than a hundred single IFAs.”

Falcon Group and IFS combinbed would have 50,000 clients. Annual turnover of the two amounts to £9m.

While merging back-office functions will lead to increased profitability and the ability to grow the business quicker, there is more to it. “This is a way of protecting ourselves. We are also looking to consolidate with other firms. This is not the end of our consolidation but the beginning.”

Falcon Group has exten-ded its offices in Clifton&#39s Triangle near Bristol. Rosengren lives only five minutes from the office over the Clifton suspension bridge, with his wife and two sons, aged 10 and 13.

He used to race cars but now describes himself as “much more staid”.

While he is a proponent for defensive consolidation, he is far from being a doom merchant. He believes there is some truth in the assertion that IFAs have complained too much when they have been doing remarkably well.

“I can&#39t see many IFAs struggling. Most are doing quite well, thank you. If you look, IFAs are spending remarkably little on marketing.”

He believes IFAs act as a kind of quality benchmark and effectively drive down costs. He points out IFAs have increased their market share at the expense of all other forms of distribution.

As for the forthcoming son of Myners report that so many IFAs view with trepidation, Rosengren does not believe it will be terribly negative.”If you compare us with Europe, we are more regulated and compliant.”

Despite his Continental origins, he is unwilling to be drawn on how the EU and the euro might affect IFAs.

His name comes from his Swedish diplomat father, whose career led to Rosengren being born on the island of Menorca some 43 years ago. By the time he came to England when he was 15, he had lived in 16 countries. Not surprisingly, he describes himself as cosmopolitan and still speaks Swedish.

As for another Labour Government, he is sanguine. Against prevailing IFA opinion, he thinks Labour has been quite good for financial services as a whole. He cites in particular the lowering of capital gains tax for business assets from 40 to 10 per cent.

While he can understand the consternation that the move to regulate products has caused, he thinks it has been beneficial. Rosengren says: “If the end result is that people who need to save have bought stakeholder, then the result has been beneficial for the population as a whole.”

But why, given their success, should IFAs be driven to consolidate? Apart from protecting the freedoms of IFAs from predatory providers, he has two further arguments.

First, there is the high average age of the IFA, which means many will be looking towards retirement. On the other hand, those who want to expand and grow their business will have to merge.

When asked what will be lost in his scenario of IFAs predominantly becoming bigger firms, Rosengren admits an intimate relationship akin to that of a GP with his patient might become a casualty.

Lost, too, will be the notion of IFAs serving the needs of the whole of society. For him, consolidation goes hand in hand with a shift up market.

IFAs are in the fortunate position of being able to select clientele and will seek to work with the middle market and above, he says. “We can add much more value for someone who has a significant portfolio. For someone who just want to be able to save £10 a week, it is difficult to see what value we can add,” he says.

But above all, his strategy is based on continuing independence. “Our objective is to rem-ain an IFA. We exist to serve our clients and we can do that much better being independent.”

Ambitions for the Falcon Group include stockmarket flotation at “some time in the future” together with more mergers and acquisitions. Given Falcon&#39s rise to prominence, it will be interesting to see which other IFAs will be asking for its hand.


Less than special delivery

Skandia&#39s decision to introduce a higher commission level for IFAs who choose to submit Isa business electronically to its Multi-Fund Shop is a positive and entirely appropriate step in the advancement of electronic trading. It is widely known that the initiatives in the life and pension arena that are proving most successful are those that […]

Collins Stewart goes for absolute return

Mullin says: “Not a well known product provider. Offshore does not appeal to investors generally. It may appear overly complicated at first glance, and there is no history of performance and investment.”On the subject of the flexibility offered by the fund, Hosking says: “There is some flexibility with the broad range of asset allocation and […]

Punter Southall Financial Management – Gift A Stakeholder

Tuesday, 12 June 2001.Type: Stakeholder pension.Minimum premium: £20.Minimum-maximum ages: From birth-no maximum.Fund links: Scottish Equitable cash, Scottish Equitable mixed, Scottish Equitable global, Scottish Equitable long gilt, Scottish Equitable balanced lifestyle, Scottish Equitable dynamic lifestyle, Scottish Equitable European, Scottish Equitable North American, Scottish Equitable UK equity, Scottish Equitable UK index tracker, Scottish Equitable ethical care equity, […]

The mane event

If one of your colleagues came in to work on Thurs-day growling like a lion, chances are they were at this year&#39s PIMS event. If your colleague came in to work with bags under their eyes, raging hangovers and a vague recollection of making a business deal at 3am in the ship&#39s disco, they were […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm