IFAs claim Allied Dunbar is trying to lure them by offering the chance to become hybrid multi-tied franchisees later this year with loans of up to £30,000.
The package, offered in a series of presentations and meetings with senior Dunbar management, would see IFAs tying to the group until September or October, when the life office predicts that change will come.
IFAs could then tie to Zurich for some products and multi-tie for others.
The new franchises would retain a hybrid structure tied to Dunbar for pensions, healthcare and protection products but multi-tied for mortgages and investments.
The group offered £18,000 per adviser and £30,000 to each
manager. Dunbar describes this as a business development loan to be paid back if the adviser leaves within two years.
A Dunbar spokeswoman refuses to comment on the presentations, saying she was not present and that the life office does not support multi-ties but advocates gap-filling.
The group is also telling its franchisees not to establish separate IFA firms alongside their businesses, saying this arrangement is “fraught with difficulties”.
Previously, Dunbar had allowed its franchisees to own an IFA business, but in an internal magazine for franchisees it states it has “decided we will not allow franchises to operate an IFA firm in parallel with their franchise”.
Dunbar feels it has proved too “onerous” to operate and “the additional cost in money, risk, and more importantly time, makes it far from a profitable venture.”
Allied Dunbar spokeswoman Sandra Paul says: “We are not saying that come September or October there is going to be a change to current legislation at all.Come September we will have a name change. They may allege that this was said but I cannot confirm because I was not there. We are committed to gap-filling not multi-ties.”
Inter-Alliance managing director Stuart McGreevy says: “This is evidence of All-ied Dunbar's desperate attempts to respond to market pressures. The reality is that direct salesforces do not work.”