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Fragmentation fears over LIA&#39s plans for another quality mark

LIA proposals to introduce two quality marks for tied and independent advisers have been criticised by rival trade bodies which claim it could “muddy the waters”.

The LIA unveiled the quality marks, Accredited Fin-ancial Adviser and Accredited Independent Financial Adviser with identical logos except for the insertion of the word independent last week.

But IFAs and providers question the move, claiming it will lead to fragmentation in the market unless the LIA fully consults with rival trade bodies such as Sofa and the IFP. They are also concerned that the independent acronym is identical to that of Aifa.

The LIA says it will look for funding from providers to support the accreditation. Norwich Union says while it supports raising standards, the plan could lead to further fragmentation as it does not consider the wider IFA community.

Aifa director general Paul Smee says he is looking for clear differentiation between the proposed accreditation for independent advisers and Aifa as it may cause confusion. Smee says: “The two standards may muddy the waters and I will be fighting the corner for clear differentiation between the accreditation and my association.”

LIA public affairs director John Ellis says: “We originally suggested one Accredited Financial Adviser standard but Aifa wanted independence recognised. There will be a consumer panel for the accreditation and clients with a concern can raise this.”

Syndaxi Financial Planning director Robert Reid says: “The LIA should go back to the drawing board as any quality standard needs client input on the quality of advice and service.”

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