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Fidelity finds its business as usual for most advisers

The retail investment community seems relatively relaxed about last week&#39s announcement that polarisation is for the chop.

While most say that they are supporters of IFAs and the status quo, there has been an overwhelmingly pragmatic response from fund managers and investment IFAs.

In a survey carried out by Fidelity last week, 80 per cent of IFAs said they had already made initial plans for a post-polarisation era. Just 4 per cent say they would opt for more restricted multi-ties.

The consensus of opinion from Fidelity&#39s poll is that the majority of IFAs will opt to take the risk of carrying on as they are, simply forfeiting the title of independent.

Marketing director Dave Cowdell says: “IFAs are taking a very constructive view and are already evaluating which options are best for their business. It shows their resilience.”

Bates Investment head of research James Dalby says: “There has been a lot of whingeing and negativity about this but our view is that we have a dynamic company and we will build our business to fit with the changes.”

Within the fund management industry, the big investment houses are the most excited. The abolition of polarisation will finally open their doors to bank distribution although they say this will not compromise their relationships with IFAs. In their eyes, the networks will become all-powerful, with fund managers vying to secure the crucial ties with them.

The fund supermarkets also seem unfazed by the deal although they confess that there are still some unanswered questions. For inst-ance, will advisers be allowed to tie to a supermarket or only to individual providers?

Cofunds chief executive Clive Boothman says he supports the maintenance of the IFA sector but is confident that there will be a place for intermediary supermarkets regardless of the final decisions on polarisation.

He says: “Our first preference is for independent advisers to remain independent. From a Cofunds&#39 perspective, the things we are really concerned about is transparency, choice for consumers – all the things that the FSA is trying to grapple with in thinking about rearranging the polarisation regime.”

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