The Misys/DBS deal could lead to the creation of a major multi-tie operation, with the heads of both businesses keeping their options open until the regulator decides the future of polarisation.
Both businesses indicated they would consider offering members the option to multi-tie.
But IFAs believe providers will be very concerned about Misys' growing influence on distribution, given its reputation for driving a hard bargain, whether it multi-ties or not.
Providers believe the most likely target for multi-ties within the new network will be the smaller regional firms while bigger firms continue to operate as IFAs.
Chief executive of Misys' Insurance Division Ivan Mar-tin says: “Changing polarisation is not a done deal but there is likely to be potential for multiple channels of distribution. We believe that financial advice content will remain a significant part of distribution.”
DBS chairman Ken Davy says: “There will be more channels of distribution and more channels will create new opportunities for IFAs, other financial advisers and service providers generally.
“We have to see to what extent polarisation rules are changed and respond accordingly. Our objective is to ensure members have the maximum range of choice.”
Schroders marketing director Robert Higginbotham believes that in the event of multi-ties, the network may try to convince its smaller companies to multi-tie in an effort to lighten the compliance burden.
He says: “This is a very emotive issue for members who take a pride in their independence. Misys may have to convince them of the benefits of multi-tying. As prov-iders, we should expect more of a squeeze from networks. We have to get our houses in order to deal with this.”
Norwich Union sales and marketing director Peter Hales says: “The combined Misys and DBS gives us 16 per cent of our total IFA business. In the eventuality of members being given the choice of remaining independent or multi-tying, I expect Nor-wich Union would want to be part of both.”
1992: Misys acquired County-wide
March 1999: Acquired IFA Network. 850 registered individuals.
August 1999: Misys IFA Services formed by the acquisition of the Financial Options Group incorporating Kestrel Financial Management and Investment Options
2000: Misys-owned trading platform m-link is launched
1983: Ken Davy establishes Director Benefit Services. Davy says: “At the time, the regulators, the Govern-ment, the research and the commentators said the IFA sector was doomed. It was clear that the only way to save the sector was to give IFAs the support they needed to provide high quality advice.”
1995: DBS joins Alternative Investment Market
1997: DBS gains full listing on London Stock Exchange
1997: DBS acquires Assuresoft