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IFAs raise concerns over indy wording in Bankhall mailout

Advisers have raised concerns over a Bankhall promotional mailing which they say offers an inaccurate view of the requirements to remain an IFA post-RDR.

Bankhall sent an email to advisers last week advertising its compliance support services for advisers based on whether they were looking to remain independent, go restricted or operate a hybrid advice model.

The email says: “The challenge of the new ‘independent’ is meeting the requirement to have researched, considered and advised on every single product available in the market that could satisfy their customer needs.”

The FSA published final guidance on independent and restricted advice in June which defined the standard for independent advice as a personal recommendation of a retail investment product which is “based on a comprehensive and fair analysis of the relevant market; and unbiased and unrestricted.”

Tower Hill Associates director John Lang, who received the email, says: “The statement used by Bankhall is not even close to the definition of what it is to be independent. It is almost irresponsible to suggest that is the definition of independence when the true definition is clearly set out.

“I would have expected a firm of Bankhall’s standing to be putting out the FSA’s definition of independence. I appreciate it has services to sell but I do not think it helps advisers formulate a balanced view of whether they want to go independent or restricted if firms like Bankhall put out this nonsense.”

ValidPath director and financial planner Kevin Moss says: “Large companies like Bankhall seem to be saying life as an independent adviser is going to become a lot more costly and a lot more complicated and demanding because of the RDR. The reality is, it is not.

“Being an IFA has always been a challenging role to some extent. But this communication takes the FSA definition of independent and it expands to make it sound a lot harder work.”

IFA Centre managing director Gill Cardy says: “It is disappointing to say the least that a well-known and trusted source of compliance information and support is still peddling this kind of mis-information about the new regime.  It is this sort of inaccurate statement loaded with vested interests which will lead to some advisers giving up their independent status without any good reason.” 

A spokesman for Bankhall says: “This line was included in a local sales communication and was not intended to be a technical definition of independence. Our official guidance is contained within our compliance bulletins and manual, which are very clear on the matter.”

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  1. Another cynical attempt to steer advisers into a restricted proposition, in turn making a larger profit margin for the company involved.

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