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IFAP and Aifa are poised for merger

Trade association Aifa is set to merge with IFA Promotion.

Aifa director general Paul Smee has received the backing from his board to “pursue discussions with IFAP” about their working relationship which are likely to see him head a merged organisation.

Industry sources say five of the seven-member IFAP board also support rolling the organisation into Aifa.

The board is confident of removing existing barriers to such a move.

But IFAP acting chief executive David Elms stresses no decision has yet been made and chairman Douglas Claisse is understood to be against a merger.

A meeting is expected in the next few weeks when a working group will be set up to look for ways around the stumbling blocks to a merger, which are said to be funding, a new business structure and the timetable for change.

If the plan gets the go-ahead, as expected, IFAP will lose its lobbying role to concentrate on marketing duties.

Sources claim the new association would be more powerful and costs would be lower.

A question mark was originally left hanging over IFAP&#39s future after the departure of managing director Ann-Marie Martyn in May when she failed to get the board backing for a link-up with internet operation IFA Search.

Smee says: “I am very keen on pursuing discussions on how to work together for the benefit of IFAs and I am not ruling out a merger.”

Elms says: “No decision has been made as to whe-ther anything of this nature will happen. Quite a bit of work has to be put into deciding whe-ther any such proposals are right for the providers and IFAs involved.”

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