Apfa says more members and resources will help them fight for IFAs better
Apfa is proposing a merger with the Wealth Management Association.
A letter to members seen by Money Marketing from Apfa chairman Lord Deben says that the adviser trade body would benefit from the increased scale and resources from teaming up with the WMA.
Deben writes: “I firmly believe that having a strong voice for the advice profession is of the utmost importance. Apfa has sought to present the strongest adviser case, the value of which is demonstrated by successes such as persuading the FCA to change its mind on making advice firms record telephone calls.
“But we could always do more. Therefore, we are proposing to join forces with the WMA so we can represent you better. A larger trade body will have more members and resources, so will be able to cover more issues and make a more effective case on your behalf.”
The new body would be known as Investment Management and Financial Advice Association, and would be led by WMA chief executive Liz Field.
It would add the WMA’s 180 wealth management firms and associate members to Apfa’s membership.
Current Apfa director general will leave the organisation after a “transition period”.
Hannant told Money Marketing: “There is a spectrum in the regulated activity of investment intermediation with financial advisers at one end, private banks at the other and discretionary fund managers and other people in between. We are seeing a blurring in that distinction on that spectrum and some of our members are looking increasingly like some of the WMA members and vice versa and we have a number of mutual members. There was a growing overlap.
“It means a bigger, better-resourced organisation. It cuts out duplication where we are both talking to the FCA about fees and levies or Mifid. We will be able to do more and be a stronger voice for advisers and others. It is about doing the job better.”
However, advisers have expressed concerns about investment management influence diluting financial planner representation.
Syndaxi managing director Rob Reid says: “Its quite a different constituency. Im not sure there’s enough of a common objective between the two to make it work effectively.
“The most positive thing is it could reduce the costs.”
Libertatem director general Garry Heath said that a merger left “Libertatem as the only advisers-only association.”
Libertatem was launched in May 2015 as a second adviser trade body. It is understood that the WMA and Apfa talks did not include discussions on including Liberatem in a three-body merger.
Heath told Money Marketing: “Advisers are far better off in an organisation of their own. How is diluting the message – they can pretend it doesn’t but it does – end up doing any better than having you on your own?”
Heath said advisers operated in a “completely different world” from wealth managers.
Both boards have recommended the merger. Apfa will hold an extraordinary general meeting on 23 May for members to vote on the proposals.
Mergers mounting up
The proposed Apfa and WMA merger comes around 18 months after the Institute of Financial Planning merged with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment.
The IFP now operates as a separate forum within the CISI.
Both Apfa and the IFP have dismissed arguments that mergers were proposed due to the financial viability of the organisations.
A joint statement today IMFA was expected to be “financially positive on a standalone basis by the end of the first year”.
If members approve the latest merger it will take effect on 1 June.