Aifa has called for the advice community to come together to fight retail distribution review proposals which it believes are a grave danger to the future of professional advice and hugely damaging to consumers.
It has drawn up a sixmonth battle plan in which it will consult members, conduct consumer research and talk to politicians, regulators, competition authorities, consumer groups and the European Commission.
Director general Chris Cummings says debate over the RDR has differed markedly from past regulatory debates because, unlike in past arguments such as depolarisation, the provider and adviser communities have not found a common cause.
He says outside the advice community, voices have been silent about the value of independent financial advice.
Cummings says Aifa will be working with the Institute of Financial Planning and the Personal Finance Society to put forward a positive agenda.
He says: “If we come together, we have a fighting chance of protecting professional advice. If we do not and we stay fragmented, I have grave doubts about maintaining a robust and sizeable IFA community.”
Cummings warns advisers who believe they will be retiring by the time the proposals come to fruition that they may not have any buyers for their business if IFAs are reduced to “boutique specialists” and providers are uninterested, having already captured a huge segment of distribution.
He also says financial planners should not stand by and believe that the RDR does not effect them.
Cummings says the banks will not stop at primary advice and will use it as a springboard to go for high-end business, threatening the long-term sustainability of many of these businesses as well as the integrity of the industry.