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Man, United is the way forward…

Wowsers. As if Money Portal’s £14.2m bid for Burns-Anderson wasn’t enough, at the eleventh hour on Tuesday we heard the news this week that Intrinsic was casting its net beyond the world of multi-tie, buying IFA network Mint.

As many of you are well aware, our (or rather, your) models have been oft-criticised as being broken. We’ve witnessed the unfortunate collapse of two major players in the IFA world in the last few years, with a handful of other casualties even prior to that, and the final trigger seemed to be the retail distribution review and its many associations, in particular, the proposed changes to advisers’ prudential requirements.

Where am I going with all this? Well, consolidation seems to be the name of the game, be it the “asset gathering” model of Richard Craven’s outfit Money Portal, or the latest union we have seen, with Intrinsic picking up Mint for an as yet undisclosed sum.

Intrinsic, formerly a staunch multi-tie, seems to have recognised the staying power and value offered by the IFA model. And it saw a good match in Mint Financial Services.

Chief executive Paul Gains may or may not take a seat on the Intrinsic board, and it appears the business will be run as an autonomous entity, with no direct impact on the advisers themselves. Their contracts will remain with Mint and the clients will not feel a thing, which is ultimately paramount.

Whether there is any element of “snobbery” by the IFAs, now being in bed with a multi-tie, remains to be seen, but it probably doesn’t really matter, as the financial muscle that comes with being part of a larger group is worth any amount of playground banter about IFAs thinking they are somehow superior to multi-ties. Because evidently there is room for both. It certainly has not harmed Sesame offering both models, with its multi-tie being at record adviser levels – currently 1,800.

Similarly, there also appears to be room for both networks and directly authorised support service propositions, as was discussed at length (again) at a recent round table discussion, between the chiefs of Sesame, Bankhall and Tenet.

It seems to have been touted as a foregone conclusion that the RDR will encourage a swell of advisers into the network model. But none of aforementioned organisations seem to be concerned either way.

It seems the most important thing is offering advisers choice.

That has remained Sesame’s line, that is one the messages coming out of Money Portal, and many of the other propositions – Falcon as part of the Sumus group, Lighthouse, Burns-Anderson (soon to be part of the MP lot), Tenet … all offering both options.

While Bankhall, Threesixty and Simply Biz are deliberately shunning the appointed representative route ­ there are benefits, it would appear, to running both channels alongside each other. Time will tell if the latter three might ever deploy a change of tack, or instead enjoy the satisfaction of knowing their strategy was right all along.

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