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Last week’s Money Marketing ran a story on the executive changes made at Bankhall and it seems an apposite time to give some contextual background to these changes. I would like to look at three core subject areas namely, rationale behind the changes, short term initiatives and longer- term strategy.

The first area is rationale behind the changes, much of which was covered in the article and requires little augmentation. Paul and Simon had three-year break clauses in their contracts emanating from the Skandia transaction and the time to review these had presented a catalyst for change, which had been discussed for some time beforehand. The resultant changes, we believe, play to the strengths and the personal aspirations of the individuals concerned. I am delighted that Paul has agreed to continue to lend his skill and vision to the Bankhall group and he will get the opportunity to focus on the areas of the business he enjoys most.

The short-term initiatives at Bankhall have been communicated to our members and have been drawn by their feedback. I have been privileged to work for the Bankhall Group for three years and my overriding observation is that it is the most member-centric business I have experienced. That will not change.

A key short-term objective is to present ourselves to those we seek to serve as a single business entity – One Bankhall. Observations and member feedback have led us to believe that the IFA of tomorrow may well operate across a broad range of financial services disciplines, but may have expressed a desire to purchase their support services from a central point. As our business has evolved, we have developed a number of offerings to support different segments of the intermed-iated community and the time has now come to consolidate these into one overall proposition. This requires a degree of infra-structure re-engineering but will benefit our members by giving them a clarity and simplicity of contact and support.

Our decision to close down ISL and focus exclusively on the directly regulated market is the right move for us to ensure the purity of our message is now clear and our support accordingly aligned.

Our other key short-term initiative will be the launch of our limited range offering which we will unveil at our September conference in Monaco. We believe limited-range offerings will be popular among those sub-sets of our members who have specific business objectives which can be enhanced by a limited range operation. There are, clearly, certain categories of client who do not want, or need, full IFA advice and if an IFA can segment his client database appropriately, value can be extracted from offering a limited product range to this customer subset. The true value in limited range for IFA practices adapting such models may be to encourage more advisers into a relatively stagnant market. The number of RIs in the UK market has been relatively constant for a long time and this is not surprising, given the difficulty experienced by IFA principals in bringing new RIs into the business and establishing them as a profit point in an acceptable timescale. Limited range can help with this and this will be a core theme upon which Bankhall will build.

There are clear opportunities to widen distribution options forfirms which were mono-tied and/or manufac-turers/ distributors and we will be seeking to develop into this business segment.

The final piece of the jigsaw is the long-term strategy. We believe passionately that the core services we offer to IFAs are as relevant today as they were 12 years ago when the business was established and in some cases more so. Our focus will be to deliver superlative support in our core business areas to our members while growing our distribution reach. This essentially means we will not be seeking to develop new offerings at the rate that we have historically done. The caveat to this must be the ever changing regulatory landscape. We expect greater stability in this area but if there is substantive change Bankhall will respond. The strategy does not mean that we will not be developing new services because we may well do so, but it is likely that we will leverage our scale to secure preferential outsourced facilities from recognised subject experts. We may, in certain circumstances, joint venture certain initiatives – historically, this has been a successful business approach for us.

We are confident Bankhall is well positioned to sustain its significant market presence and grow in its chosen areas. We intend to ensure members remain at the heart of everything we do and the tremendous success of the last 12 years will be a platform for an exciting future.

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