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Assuresoft forms alliance with CMG

Assuresoft is forming a strategic alliance with information technology giant CMG, mirroring a move by The Exchange last year.

CMG Admiral will use Assuresoft&#39s Vast service to provide streamlined processing to banking and financial clients.

The Exchange formed a strategic alliance with CMG in January 2000 in an exclusive agreement to use its business to business technology with CMG&#39s customer base. CMG sales and back-office systems were integrated with The Exchange&#39s services to provide IFAs with a quotation, transaction and admin service.

Assuresoft and The Exchange are already locked in competition for the contract to power The Exchange&#39s former consumer site Moneyextra.com, which is now an IFA owned by Bristol & West.

Assuresoft chief executive David Stewart says: “Vast provides revolutionary end-to-end, straight-through processing which provides significant speed.”

Exchange PR manager Charlie Musson says: “We still have a relationship with CMG and we will still continue to work with them. In this industry, companies work with each other where appropriate and compete in others. There is room for both to take place.”

Trade bodies and the FSA are disagreeing over how many IFAs there are in UK, with estimates ranging from 26,000 to 36,000.

Last week, Money Marketing revealed figures provided by the FSA processing department to the LIA which showed the number of IFAs has risen by 29 per cent to 36,365 from 28,230 last year.

The LIA believes much of the increased number could be made up of former IBRC-registered intermediaries.

But the FSA press office says these figures are inaccurate. It says there are more likely to be 26,000 IFAs, which is much the same as last year&#39s number.

The FSA says the higher figure given to the trade body may stem from the inclusion of recognised professional bodies such as accountants.

The lower figure only comprises PIA-registered IFAs.

Aifa estimates the number of IFAs in the UK is 24,000, two-thirds of which it says are its members.

The Matrix directory of IFAs says it has 35,000 IFAs on its database.

FSA spokeswoman Jackie Blyth says: “The number depends on how you classify an IFA. The higher number may include recognised professional bodies registered with the FSA rather than just PIA-registered IFAs. The difference is confusion, not conspiracy.”

Analysis, p9

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