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IFAs split over qualifications

Sandler&#39s contention that most advisers are ill-equipped to competently provide investment advice and are often swayed by high commission has divided IFAs.
Sandler is recommending that investment qualifications be substantially upgraded after concluding in his report that very few IFAs possess good investment knowledge and often fail to adequately explain risks and charges to their clients.
But while some IFAs agree with his view and back his recommendations others accuse Sandler of underestimating their role and wrongly heaping the blame for industry failings on their shoulders without looking at the role of fund managers.
Pensions & Investment Management principal Phil Moore says the knowledge of IFAs is beyond question and believes the main problem for advisers is trying to easily extract detailed information from reluctant investment houses.
IFA Michael Philips proprietor Michael Both says he doubts that even the worst advisers have managed to lose as much of their client&#39s money as some fund managers and wants firms charging high fees for closet trackers to be investigated.
He says: “Before he called us all commission-hungry vultures Sandler should have explained why he can exonerate the likes of Aberdeen and other firms which have produced terrible performance. I agree with his intention but he has got the wrong target.”
Even though some fund managers are expressing concern at certain Sandler assertions – Fidelity says he has failed to understand that advisers encourage people to save and do not chase commission – there are many IFAs who support Sandler&#39s view.
Chartwell associate director Patrick Connolly says: “The FPC exams, which are the only qualifications many IFAs have got, do not make anyone fully equipped to give a full, competent level of advice. Sandler&#39s intentions can&#39t be knocked.”

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