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Barclays leads bank raid for top-end IFA business

Barclays has issued a stark warning to independent advisers that bancassurers are now a severe threat to their businesses and has declared “we are coming” for IFA clients.

Speaking on PIMS last week on board the Arcadia, Barclays Financial Planning national sales director James Davies said that behind the scenes, Barclays and its bank rivals are developing plans to dominate the current IFA marketplace.

He told delegates that the company has around 900 financial planning managers and a new sales training programme beginning in July focusing on improving TCF standards and replicating the trust-based, bespoke service offered by high-net-worth advisers.

He also floated the possibility of staff becoming certified financial planners.

He acknowledged that bancassurers have failed with this goal in the past but believes that the likes of Barclays, HBOS and HSBC are finally becoming a big threat to IFAs.

Davies said that public policy discussion has focused on what banks can do for the mid market but it is the top-end clients the banks have their eyes on.

He also suggested that banks could lower minimum entry levels for their private bank clients to attack IFA market share from the top end.

Davies said: “A bancassurer that brings the right people through, segments the client base and gets the proposition right is a severe threat to the IFA marketplace. Everybody wants a slice of your action.”

Institute of Financial Planning chief executive Nick Cann said: “There is a threat to high-net-worth advisers. I do believe that one of the banks will get it right.”

Alexander Beard chief executive Paul Beard said: “I have been waiting 30 years for banks to take away my business. We will continue to succeed because we do a great long-term job for people face to face, year after year and banks will never be able to match that.”

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