Money Marketing has given IFAs the opportunity to put their questions to Sofa and the LIA about the proposed merger bet-ween the two bodies.
Recurring questions centre around the loss of the “dip” from LIA members' qualifications and the possibility of a transitional period to enable advisers to acquire additional AFPC passes to avoid relegation.
Advisers also showed curiosity about why an external body has not been app-ointed to count the votes and concerns were raised about the possibility of the CII dominating the board of the Personal Finance Society.
LIA members were keen to find out if they will enjoy access to referrals from the Find an Adviser website, which recently switched referrals from IFAP to Sofa.
LIA head of public affairs John Ellis says: “Why are we not trusted to do this? It will be done in presence of members and members will be free to inspect it later. Why pay thousands of pounds to the Electoral Reform Society when we are perfectly able to do it?” Q: I qualified to use Alia (dip) under the old rules that only req-uired two AFPC passes. I have not had the opportunity to study for a third as yet. If the merger proceeds, I understand that a uniform requirement will be applied and that this means I will not be allowed to use the equivalent designation, DipPFS. I assume there will be some form of transitional period to allow a third pass to be obtained to avoid instant relegation? Read Independent Financial Advisers senior financial consultant Chris Lee Ellis says: “In practice, there will be a transitional period although the new stand-ard will apply from January 1 we have got to examine the database and we have committed to talking to individuals where just a little bit of effort is required to get the qualification. We are not going to enforce the use of new designations for 12 months.”
Q: Following the mer-ger, will LIA members enjoy access to leads from the Find an Adviser website? Owen Hoye, OPH Financial Consultants Ellis says: “Advisers will only get referrals if they have the AFPC qualification or higher. We are going to maintain this standard because we want the Find an Adviser service to have a very high reputation. Those consumers who want to consult an adviser with a lower qualification will still have access to them through IFAP.”
QIt appears that the board of the new body could be dominated by CII employees – if you read the memorandum and articles of association they state very clearly that the institute has the right to ensure that the board of the PFS comprises a majority of non-member directors, who are described as “a person being an employee of the Institute who is appointed as an executive of the Society”.
Broadway Financial Planning managing director Simon Pym Williamson Ellis says: “The fact is that the board is not dominated by employees of the CII and there is unlikely to be a situation where the CII moves in and appoints a number of non-member directors to outvote us. The provision is basically there on advice from our lawyers to enable the accounts to be consolidated at the end of the year.”