IFA Centre needs to more than double its individual memberships by the end of the year or it will be shut down.
The trade body has 218 individual members across 88 firms. Managing director Gill Cardy believes IFA Centre needs to reach 500 members in order to remain a viable, representative adviser body.
Individual members pay £195 a year to join the trade body. Corporate membership is charged on a sliding scale based on a firm’s number of approved persons, starting at £195 a year for one approved person and rising to £1,410 a year for 10 approved persons.
Membership costs increase further for each approved person where there are more than 10 per firm.
Former Professional Partnerships principal Cardy set up IFA Centre in October 2011 as a trade body purely for independent advisers in an effort to rival Aifa.
In November 2012, Aifa rebranded as the Association of Professional Financial Advisers and began accepting restricted advisers as members. Cardy argued there was a need for a body to solely represent IFAs’ interests post-RDR but concerns were raised about funding the new group.
Cardy says: “We are a non-profit membership organisation with no product provider funding. To be an authoritative and respected representative body, IFA Centre needs more advisers in membership. This also provides the financial resources to provide the support that advisers want in terms of regulation, consultation, lobbying and other benefits.
“Ultimately, our existence and success depend on advisers, who said they wanted different and better representation.”
ValidPath director and IFA Centre member Kevin Moss says: “I would be sad if IFA Centre had to close because Gill has created something quite special. Advisers who have tapped the trade body for advice seem shy to pay what is an extraordinarily small subscription.”
Apfa, previously Aifa, has struggled with funding in recent years. It posted an operating deficit of £194,419 for the year to 30 June 2011, down from a surplus of £14,919 for 2009/10 and a loss of £154,000 in 2012.
However, the trade body suggested last October that it was on course to make a surplus for the year to June 2013. Results are published in the autumn.
Money Marketing understands St James’s Place is close to becoming a member of Apfa. Restricted national Openwork joined earlier this year.