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IFAs leading the way on high-net-worth business

IFAs are winning the battle to dominate the market for personal financial advice in the high-net-worth sector, according to an NOP survey.

The survey of 1,000 people, commissioned by Radio 4, shows that over half of consumers in the higher-income brackets favour going to an

IFA to help with their financial decisions.

IFAs outscore banks, building societies, direct salesmen and home service salesmen to dominate the sector. This reflects life office calls for IFAs to focus on the upper end of the personal finance market.

Many offices believe IFAs should concentrate on areas such as the executive pensions market, small self-administered schemes and self-invested personal pensions.

NOP&#39s findings follow a recent Marks & Spencer Financial Services survey which shows that 71 per cent of adults are comfortable making financial decisions about pensions, Peps and life insurance if they get financial advice.

NOP&#39s survey also analysed which type of distribution outlets consumers trust most to advise them on buying pensions, mortgages and life insurance.

The survey reveals that banks and building societies top the pile. But direct telephone providers are trusted by only one in 30 consumers. Only 10 per cent say they are most likely to trust a converted building society such as Halifax.

But Halifax chief executive Mike Blackburn slams the findings, claiming that consumers trust brands rather than particular sectors.

He says: "People trust particular names of organisations and a name such as Halifax is still heavily trusted. Last year, we wrote one in six of all mortgages, so there is no indication of a falling-off in trust. That is what people trust and that is our own experience."


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