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IMA calling for fund harmony across Europe

The Personal Finance Society is planning to run specialist programmes for personal and corporate financial advisers.

The body, to be formed by the merger of the LIA and Sofa, says it
will consult members on its structure, including separate faculties
for advisers in the personal and corporate markets.

Some planners had criticised the name Personal Finance Society
because it does not appear to cover corporate advisers.

The merger of the LIA and Sofa is nearing completion, with the
combined 25,000 membership due to become members of the PFS
automatically on January 1, 2005,when the new brand and logo will be
launched.

LIA and Sofa regional meetings will continue to be run until March,
when the PFS will begin its own programme of events, with input from
the regional committees.

Consultation on the new structure and membership of the society has
begun and feedback will be announced to members.

Executive chairman Bob Bullivant says: “We recognise that financial
planners and business advisers have specific issues to develop and
discuss. One of the benefits of the PFS structure is that we can give
them the levels of focus that they need.”

Chief executive Mark Ommanney says: “The regional activities are
among the most important that we offer some members, so it is
important that we take sufficient time to ensure that we make them as
attractive and as relevant as possible to our new combined
membership.”

Differences in fund regimes are continuing to hamper the creation of
a more efficient European funds market despite progress in
legislation to ease cross-border company mergers, says the IMA.

It is lobbying for a specific set of European fund rules to help with
merger of Ucits.

Agreement has been reached among member states on the proposed
directive to simplify cross-border mergers. The 2003 Heinemann report
identified barriers to cross-border fund mergers as the biggest
impediment to creating a more globally competitive European fund
market.

IMA deputy chief executive Sheila Nicoll says the report revealed
that the US has around double the assets under management of the
European market but only one-third of the number of funds.

Nicoll says: “The inability to merge funds means there are a huge
number of small funds in existence, often with overlapping
objectives. This prevents European funds and investors from
benefiting from economies of scale.

“The IMA will continue to be at the forefront of the push towards a more efficient
single European market in asset management.”

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