Former IFA Association director general Garry Heath has warned that Aifa’s decision to open its membership to restricted advisers could make the trade body less relevant.
Heath led the IFA Association between 1989 and 1999. The organisation later became Aifa when the trade body was set up in 1999.
He says: “When organisations expand their footprint, they become less relevant to each sector of their membership.
“As I understand it, Aifa is having enough trouble as it is attracting IFAs to take up membership. If the breadth of the organisation keeps expanding, it will end up representing nothing for everybody.”
Heath says there are already IFAs who question Aifa’s role under its current structure.
He says: “There are a lot of IFAs who look at Aifa and ask ’what is it doing for me?’ It seems to be some sort of a pacifist army. If you are not fighting for your current constituency, having a wider constituency really makes very little sense.”
But Personal Finance Society chief executive Fay Goddard disagrees.
Goddard, who was deputy director general at Aifa between 1997 and 2009, says: “The new definition of independence is very challenging. Restricted advisers and independent advisers will be facing exactly the same challenges.
“It is important that the advisory community has a strong and united voice on the things that are relevant to all of them. I would hope that people would support this.”