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IFAs lose accountants’ referral deal

IFAs have lost their exclusive right to referrals from accountants as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales widens its rules to include multi-ties.

The Law Society may follow suit and allow lawyers to make referrals to multi-ties, with a decision due in early 2006.

Previously, introductions could only be made to independent financial advisers but depolarisation has promp- ted the ICAEW to change its stance on the issue.

The Law Society is review- ing its position on independence and will release its verdict in the first quarter of next year following a meeting of its regulation board which is due to take place in January.

But some solicitors’ groups say that they will continue to make IFA-only referrals regardless of the decision.

Association of Solicitors and Investment Managers director Alison Matthews says it will remain committed to referrals only to IFAs and suggests if an introducer relationship exists between a solicitor and an adviser who is considering becoming a multi-tie, that contracts will be need to be reconsidered.

Law Society head of professional ethics Julian Wildsmith says: “We are aware of the position of the Institute of Chartered Accountants on independence and we are in the process of considering a change.”

ICAEW regulation policy executive Alison Carr says: “Tied advisers are definitely staying out while whole of market advisers will be trea- ted on a par with IFAs. Multi-tied advisers will be looked at on a case-by-case basis and if it is deemed that the client will not suffer, then a multi-tie can now be recommended.”

Chessman & Partners consultant Diane Needham says: “I hope that, as professionals, solicitors and accountants would recognise that the best option for consumers is still independent advice.”

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