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IFAs don&#39t want to be plankton in network ocean

I felt I had to write to just chip in to the debate on Misys absorbing the


IFA Network.


I have a great deal of respect for the personnel involved but I have to


confess that I have always had an antipathy to monolithic organisations.


I know that “I would say this wouldn&#39t I” but I really do believe that


this is a step backwards for the IFA community.


I am an IFA and have been so for many years. I can tell you that the word


independent really does mean something to most of us. IFAs by our nature


tend to be very individual. That is why we do the job we do.


In the early 90s the tidal wave of compliance forced many people into a


network. They didn&#39t particularly want to it was simply a necessity.


However, in the early years, things were not as bad as many had feared.


The networks were small and could be flexible.


The members knew the people at the top of the network and could work with them.


Now, however, a lot of network members feel they are just a number.


With 4,000 registered individuals, those operating under the Misys&#39


umbrella must now feel they are not so much a member but a derivative of a


square root of an obscure part of a quadratic equation.


When we see large takeovers in any walk of life, someone somewhere points


to the wonderful benefits of economies of scale. I am sure this is true but


exactly who sees that benefit?


Misys absorbed Countrywide some while ago. Try asking Countrywide members


how much their fees have dropped as a result. You will get a short sharp


answer.


I know my comments will be regarded as simply a means of promoting my


network but that is not the case. I must admit that, in pure commercial


terms, I am pleased to see this trend because I think we will pick up a


number of new members as a result.


However, my comments have been prompted by a genuine personal belief that


networks are going the wrong way. I do not believe that most IFAs want to


be a minuscule part of a FTSE 100 company. We are not talking about being a


small fish in a big pond we are talking about being plankton.


There are many areas where big is beautiful. This is not one of them.



Kean Seager


Whitechurch Securities,


Bristol

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