LIA president David Batchelor and Sofa chairman Nick Bamford have written to their 25,000 members to reveal details about the proposed merger between the two bodies and urge a Yes vote.
The new body, which will be known as the Personal Finance Society, will have a single structure of designations, eliminating the LIA's (dip) award and Sofa's FPC (see table). Individual consideration will be given to those with other exam passes.
It believes this will make it easier for consumers to understand that membership of the new body is an essential part of selecting an adviser.
All members who have the equivalent of CertPFS will be able to vote, while board membership will require DipPFS or equivalent.
The PFS intends to create faculties for specialist groups such as those involved in financial planning.
Membership fees will be maintained at the current level of LIA and Sofa subscriptions of £118 until September 2005.
If votes are positive, Sofa and the LIA will transfer £1m cash and operational fixed assets into the PFS on January 1st 2005. The assets and liabilities of the two organisations will then be realised in cash and the surplus used to make an additional capital contribution to the PFS.
The PFS expects to have net assets of £2.5m at the end of this process and will aim for a surplus each year from gross income of around £4m.
Sofa chairman Nick Bamford says: “The proposed merger with the LIA will allow us to extend our values and standards across a much wider number of financial services individuals. There is no question of these standards being diluted or confused: we will be as focused as we ever were, but we will also be part of the largest professional body for financial advisers.
LIA president David Batchelor says: “Financial practitioners need a clear view of their future and a strong voice to help influence it. The increased size, the combined experience and the public recognition that a single, unified body would bring would offer enormous benefits to financial advisers.”
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