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Ex-board members say merger failure would be a disaster

If the merger between Sofa and the LIA fails to go ahead it will be disastrous for the industry, according to former board members of both organisations.

Ex-Sofa director Jo Smith says the merger is for the good of the industry, and if it is rejected by the membership it will be humiliating.

She says: “The merger has to be for the good of the industry. If it does not go ahead now it would be disastrous and very humiliating for the industry. The regulator will look at the situation and think that we cannot even sort out something like this.”

Former Sofa managing director Brian Lawless says the regulator would view a failed merger badly. He acknowledges the difficulties in bringing technically minded Sofa together with the LIA but supports it overall.

Lawless says: “I think the regulator would like one professional body and from it would be a bit disastrous if the merger failed to go ahead. But the decision should be made on the grounds of what is best for the industry, not what is best for the regulator.”

Writing in Money Marketing this week, ex-LIA committee member and ex-Sofa vice-chairman Phil Billingham reveals his disappointment at the negative comments made on the merger and urges IFAs to support the new board and get on with the merger.

Former LIA chief executive Jeff Travis criticises the merger, warning LIA members they face losing letters after their names.

•Merger Edges, p38-39


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