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Lighthouse chief says inducements crackdown will not dent revenues

Lighthouse Group chief executive Malcolm Streatfield says he does not expect the FCA’s clampdown on inducement payments to impact on its revenues.

The FCA is investigating Partnership and one other firm after a thematic review found arrangements between providers and advice firms that could undermine the RDR.

Speaking to Money Marketing following the company’s interim results yesterday, Streatfield says: “We don’t feel we will lose any revenues as a result of the FCA’s paper on inducements.

“We welcome the clarity provided by the FCA and Lighthouse will continue to operate as we have always done, within the FCA’s guidelines. The inducements paper confirms what we already knew. Others may have issues they need to resolve but I can’t speak for them.”

Ernest and Young has estimated that the advice sector will receive more than £30m from providers in 2013. Industry experts have said more than half of that ammount could be affected under the FCA’s review of inducements.

In its interim results for the first half of 2013, Lighthouse posted a £232,000 pre-tax loss, compared to a £59,000 pre-tax profit in the first half of 2012.

Average revenues per adviser are up 3 per cent to £80,000 per annum.

Streatfield admitted the RDR had a significant impact on turnover, with overall revenues down 14 per cent to £23.4m from £27.2m for the first half of 2012. He attributes the shortfall to a loss of advisers in the run-up to the RDR.

He says: “I remain sorry that a number of advisers did not want to take exams, but those that remain are really well equipped to advise clients. Advisers have grown used to RDR and we think clients have accepted it.”

Operating costs rose 12 per cent, up to £7.46m from £6.53m at June 2012. Streatfield says the increase is predominantly down to a £600,000 increased investment in Lighthouse Financial Advice.

Total provisions have gone from £14.8m to £15.5m. Streatfield declined to comment on how much of tha relates to potential Arch cru redress but says the firm’s provision for Arch cru is “adequate”.

Streatfield added the firm would continue to monitor its costs but had no specific plans to propose further office closures following the proposals to close the Exeter office announced earlier this month. Lighthouse is in the process of buying a long lease for an office in Brighton.

He also called for a break from regulation post-RDR. Echoing concerns from Apfa yesterday, Streatfield said the industry has improved standards and should expect a regulatory dividend from the FCA in return.

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