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IFA caution shows in Fidelity sales

Fidelity believes IFAs are more bearish about the stockmarket than their clients in the light of figures which show its adviser sales have fallen by comparison with its direct channel.

The company claims there are signs of significant divergence between IFA and consumer confidence as its month-on-month and year-on-year figures show direct sales rising relative to adviser sales.

Although Fidelity&#39s IFA volumes account for 80 per cent of its total, it is reading this change in momentum – which it claims has happened only twice in recent years – as an indication of swinging confidence.

Fidelity is unsure if IFAs are right to be so cautious. It believes that advisers achieve most by stopping clients carrying out “value-destroying” actions but points out that fund managers are seeing value and opportunities in the market.

Fidelity also says that on the previous occasions when IFAs have lost ground relative to other distribution channels, they have taken several months to recover.

Executive director (UK IFA business) Stuart Holah says: “Usually, consumer business and IFA business go hand in hand – increases in one mean increases in the other.

“But for the last two months, consumers have seemed confident in the market while IFAs do not appear to have been. It may just be the summer doldrums or it may be an early sign of significant divergence.”

Capital Asset Management director Alan Smith says: “Fidelity is seen as a manager of equities and perhaps independent advisers are looking to avoid these in favour of fixedinterest funds.”

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