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Big depolarisation gap on theory and practice

There is a vast gap between theory and practice when it comes to industry views on depolarisation, according to research from financial services marketing agency CCHM.

An in-depth qualitative survey of 16 directors and managing directors of some of the industry&#39s top manufacturers and distributors reveals that the industry&#39s actions are not matching up with its theories.

CCHM chairman Lucian Camp says there was no surprise that respondents believed depolarisation would lead to more IFA consolidation and the expansion of financial services in high-street banks.

But Camp believes business practice across the industry is at odds with its “theoretical certainties”.

He says even though respondents agreed that consistency of consumer experience was a necessity in the new environment, they were unable to see how IFAs have the ability to provide such an experience.

The research reveals that since last year there has been a slowing of consolidation, which is at odds with most commentators&#39 views of the future of the industry.

Sesame commercial director Martin Davis says most of the industry believe the theory of how depolarisation will work is not yet concrete enough for firms to take action. But he believes that although there may not be much visible movement, most firms are looking carefully at business models and preparing for the new environment.

Davis says: “When people are struggling to make ends meet, they are not over-excited about trying to guess what will happen in the future.”

Camp says: “There is no mad scramble for distribution, as one would expect with all the talk of consolidation. I think this all stems from a lack of confidence within IFAs. They do not believe that they are able to stand out from the crowd and present the marketplace with a consistent, marketable brand.”

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