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Leading by example

As Andrew Fisher gets appointed head of the leaders summit group at the Personal Finance Society, it may upset a few people.

Fisher, never one to be backward about coming forward, does not see that his somewhat outspoken views should in any way hinder his abilities to chair the meetings of the leadership forum, rather will help achieve the group’s objectives by
setting an example.

Fisher has sparked several a row over the last couple of years with his staunch advocacy of fees and having a go at the vast majority of IFAs, casting many of them as unprofessional and incompetent. Fisher once said there were about 30,000 IFAs practicing that ought to look elsewhere if they failed to specialise.

However, his business acumen and professional standards were thought to be desirable attributes that would enable him to lead the group to achieving its objectives.

The leadership group, founded last year by the PFS in conjunction with Ernst & Youngs head of insurance sector Shaun Crawford and former Prudential intermediaries director Tudor Taylor, says its objectives are to improve the industry by speaking with a common voice and trying its utmost to improve the reputation of the industry, thereby drawing new people in.

The plan is to invite about 40 industry leaders from the manufacturing, fund management, platform and distribution spaces the latter of which leading the debate. It was the call for a distribution-based leader that prompted Taylor to recommend Fisher as the groups chair, with Taylor having preceded Fisher at the helm.

Also at risk of causing slight controversy this week is Standard Life.

The life office has launched a discretionary investment management arm, Standard Life Wealth, which will be run by former Williams be Bro韣hief executive Richard Charnock.

Although it says it will be distributing its services through both advisers and to consumers directly, it expects the vast majority of its business will come through the IFA channel.

Standard is adamant that it will not risk alienating IFAs by going after their clients, but the jury seems to still be out as to whether Standard will manage to break into the discretionary space successfully or not.

And the results are out for several IFA intermediary groups this week.

Clarkson Hill has had a busy week, with chief executive Ron Pritchard picking up an additional 35,000 shares in the national IFA, giving him just over a quarter of the companys issued share capital.

The group, which posted its annual results last week, reported a maiden profit announcement, having made 25,279 compared to a loss of 323,998 last year.

Clarkson Hills turnover grew 36 per cent from 13.4m to 18.3m for the year ended July 31, 2007.

And Bill Moncrieff was given the role of MD, adviser sales, moving up from his former position of director of strategy and distribution, which he held for five years.

Elsewhere, St Jamess Place grew its new business figures 23 per cent, from 349.1m to 428.6m across all business streams.

Whereas its pension and investment single new premiums grew 23 and 27 per cent respectively, new protection sales were down 10 per cent, but SJP has maintained its position as focusing on pension and investment business only, so it is of little concern.

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