Friends’ Matthews attacks Aviva’s grim IFA forecast

Friends Provident chief executive Trevor Matthews believes Aviva’s claim that IFA numbers will halve as a result of the retail distribution review is “far too exaggerated”.

Speaking at the Marketforce future of life assurance conference in London yesterday, Matthews said he accepts there will be “some reduction” but he expects the changes to attract new people into the business.

He said: “I think there will be some reduction but I think half is far too exaggerated. The IFA community is very adaptable and it will adapt to this. If we get this right we will actually be attracting new people into the business and that is very, very positive.

“I think the dream we all have is a much more professional industry that young people coming out of university aspire to get into this game because they can see the massive need out there in the future for financial advice.”

Aviva revealed recently that it expects adviser numbers to fall from 21,000 to 10,000 by 2013. It added that it plans to grow its in-house sales channel to capitalise on the provision gap it believes this exodus will cause.

Also at the conference, Legal & General group executive director for protection and annuities John Pollock said the firm was growing its tied sales force in preparation for a “reshaping of the market” caused by the RDR.

He said: “We have a small direct sales force and a reasonably sized tied force and the tied force in the mortgage market has been modestly growing and within some of those firms they have been building wealth advice arms. I think we will see a reshaping of the market. It is pretty clear the RDR will reduce the traditional IFA population quite significantly.”

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