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F&C closes adviser salesforce and IFAs fear it could be first of many

F&C Management&#39s position in the UK retail market looks uncertain following its decision to close its IFA salesforce as financial pressure on the fund management industry continues to mount.

In a move that IFAs fear could be the first of many, F&C has made its salesforce of eight redundant and scaled back its retail ambitions to concentrate on attracting direct business into its profitable investment trust operation. Those affected were informed this week.

F&C says it will continue to service existing clients and intends to retain as many key IFA relationships as possible. It will also keep open its inbound telephone sales team and intends to bolster its online transacting capability. But F&C admits it could be years before it is financial viable to reopen the salesforce it launched four years ago.

IFAs believe that F&C&#39s principle problem has been a weak Oeic range, with complicated products such as its with-prospects and blue funds proving to be a flop with investors.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “F&C&#39s fund range is not strong enough and, with investor sentiment as it is, I can see why it has struggled. I can imagine other companies making similar cutbacks.”

F&C head of European retail Lawrence Llewellyn says: “The salesforce has not provided sufficient volumes so we are scaling back our presence in the IFA market. We are looking to exploit the direct business with investment trusts.”

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