View more on these topics

Independent view

I greeted positively the initial news of a prospective merger of the LIA and Sofa. It is a dream – one association to educate, motivate and represent financial advisers.

An EGM to vote on the merger takes place on October 13 so we have little time to form a view. We cannot pick and choose what we like or do not like – we have to decide on the entire proposition.

As a member of the LIA for 27 years and its president in 1988/89, as well as being a Sofa member, I am aware of the good in both organisations.

I have chaired the LIA&#39s education committee. I was a director of SIB for seven years and as chairman of its training and competence panel I was responsible, with many good people, for designing and delivering compulsory standards across the financial services industry. I have spent much of my professional life seeking to enhance standards.

You might think it would therefore be easy for me to support the proposal. It is not.

Before and since the full details emerged, I have been called on by LIA members, members of other organisations and industry figures. Support for a merger has been a consistent theme but many people are concerned that the devil is often in the detail. Many have said this is not a merger and we have got the detail late in the day and now they want a decision in haste.

Plainly, a decision of this importance should not be made on the nod. We owe it to ourselves to examine the detail before voting.

For a society claiming it will represent all financial practitioners, I cannot agree that only those with AFPC be eligible for the board. The LIA has always been an inclusive organisation and, through its regional meetings and workshops, members are encouraged to improve their knowledge.

On its own, this may not be considered by some to be a deal breaker but AFPC will also be the required level to be on the Find an Adviser website. Many good experienced advisers – and the vast majority in a merged organisation – hold the minimum required level plus some additional modules but do not have the full AFPC. It is, of course, a desirable aim but if they specialise in long-term care, mortgages or investment, for example, the AFPC or its equivalent may not be the best course.

This website should surely be changed for the benefit of all regulated, subscription-paying members.

The documents say the new Personal Finance Society will be “within the CII group”, its accounts will be consolidated within the CII accounts and the strategy of the PFS must be approved by the CII council. Additionally, under the articles, “the institute shall have the right to appoint such number of additional non-member directors (employees of the institute) as may be required from time to time so that the non-member directors form the majority of directors”. This appears to contradict written undertakings to members this year that practitioners would be in the majority on the board of the professional body.

Now we learn that the majority could be held by CII employees. We are being asked to approve a major shift from what two LIA presidents thought was important for the LIA and for the PFS – and I agreed with what they said then. In fact, it influenced my own vote in March on the proposal to bring three staff on to the LIA board. It was important to me then and it is important to me now.

This issue of governance is sufficient reason, for those of us who wish to see a single professional body, to think that the lack of independence may reduce the prospect of the Institute of Financial Planning or the Institute of Financial Services joining any move to unity.

The LIA says 69 per cent of members want a merger. I was 100 per cent behind a merger but the percentage dropped on seeing these details.

More time is needed to consider the contentious issues. Indecent haste and apathy may win the day but, for me, that does not make it right.

We are all entitled to our opinions. I still want to see a single body but not, in conscience, on these terms and particularly not in such a hurry.

I know that I have more years behind me than ahead. We need to build for the future but, regrettably, on its published terms, I will be voting against this proposal.

Len Warwick is managing director of Warwick Butchart Associates


Standard reopens IHT plans after tax talks

Standard Life has reop-ened its inheritance tax product five days after withdrawing the fund bec-ause of pre-owned asset tax rules. The company consulted with a leading QC to see if its gift and loan plan fell under the new Inland Revenue guidelines. All the firm&#39s estate planning products were withdrawn from the market while it […]

Man gets Close again

Close Fund Management and Man Investments have teamed up for a second time to offer the Close Man Guaranteed Hedge Fund II. This capital-protected fund of hedge funds is available to investors with a minimum of £10,000 and aims to provide a return of between 11 per cent and 13 per cent a year during […]

Worldwide on track to top 50 with Tudor buy

Worldwide Financial Planning has bought Tudor Investment Services, an IFA business within the Burns Anderson Network. Tudor Investment Services will trade for the next year under the name Tudor Worldwide and will operate from the Worldwide offices in Worcestershire. Tudor was set up in 1999 by financial adviser David Hobbs who specialises in investment work […]

Old Mutual offers sophisticated return

OLD MUTUAL ASSET MANAGEMENT Old Mutual Global Dynamic Fund Type: Oeic fund of funds Aim: Growth by investing in a portfolio of Old Mutual unit trusts and hedge funds, and externally managed property funds Minimum investment: euros 125,000 Investment split: 40% equity unit trusts, 6% bond unit trusts, 40% alternative strategies, 14% cash Place of […]

Pensions - thumbnail

Preparing for the changes to the pensions market

As more and more providers start to reveal their stance on the charge cap and removal of commission and active member discount pricing, we thought it would be worthwhile to look at what these are, and the steps businesses should be taking to prepare for this.


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm