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McKenna warns over new 1st Exchange chief’s lack of IFA experience

F&TRC managing director Ian McKenna has warned Chris Noblet’s appointment as managing director of 1st Exchange sends a “disturbing message” to IFAs due to his lack of industry experience.

Noblet, who has over 20 years’ technology experience outside the IFA market, was confirmed as David Child’s replacement yesterday.

McKenna argues the appointment raises concerns about future plans for the technology solutions provider.

He says: “It is nothing short of a disaster that control of the business is being handed over to someone who has had no experience in the IFA market, replacing one of the most accomplished people in the industry.

“This sends a very disturbing message about the venture capitalist owners’ plans for the business and the extent to which the IFA community can rely upon 1st Exchange as a supplier of services. If you replace an industry stalwart with an outsider it is hard not to question the commitment and future direction of the business. Providers and advisers will need to keep a close eye on development and may be well advised to have alternatives lined up.”

1st Exchange chairman Alastair Hazell says the firm remains focused on IFAs and intermediaries.

He adds: “We have a wealth of IFA experience within the business and Chris Noblet joining us as managing director brings broader technology industry experience to the wider management team, and allows us to focus on the wider growth plan and look at future acquisition strategies.”


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There are 4 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. I told David Childs some months ago that I was concerned when Lloyds TSB put up the £42 million to buy shares, that I was very concerned about the future support for IFA’s.
    It seems to be another LSD portfolio Manager type takeover which lead to some major life companies buying it out and then eventually closing it down, which caused no end of problems for the main user’s, the IFA gets screwed again.
    Mind you with all the information about our clients in the safe hands of a Bank! Why should we worry!

  2. An interesting view, if only for its narrow perspective.

    As an “industry insider” myself with experience of both the industry and technology, I consider 1st/The Exchange as first and foremost a technology company, which happens to serve the FS marketplace.

    From that viewpoint, it is essential that The Exchange got themselves a new MD with appropriate technology experience. As they negotiate the potentially stormy waters of change over the next few years, it may even be the case that Mr Noblet provides a fresh perspective unfettered by the constraints of current FS thinking and proves to be a great leader. Or alternatively, he could be a complete failure for a variety of reasons which may be of no relation to his current lack of experience of this market. Then again, Mr McKenna could ultimately be proven right. The point is, it’s really too early to say, and only time will tell.

    We need a healthy Exchange for the time being, and for that reason I hope they have recruited well. I am blissfully unaware of the circumstances underlying Mr Childs’ departure and leading up to Mr Noblet’s appointment, but I wish them both well.

  3. As someone with a vested interested, which I make transparent by not publishing anonymously I find this all quite interesting.

    Publishing anonymously, what have you to hide…?

  4. Protect the Guilty 22nd October 2010 at 3:36 pm

    I do not have a vested interest as I am not employed by 1st/The Exchange or any of its competitors.

    There is nothing sinister or Macchiavellian to this, I just do not choose to post very often (this is the first time I have done so on this site) as I guard my privacy jealously. And in this case in particular, I don’t believe the validity of my view is affected by me retaining my anonymity i.e. due to my lack of vested interest, my identity is irrelevant to this post.

    However, I felt that this particular piece required a response as it is more or less publicly damning someone without trial or evidence.

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