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MM leader: Aifa needs to step up to the mark

Last week’s decision by the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries to break away from Aifa may have made sense from Ami’s perspective but means another senior and valuable staff member is leaving the adviser trade body.

The departure of director Rob Sinclair, to head the newly independent Ami, is another blow to an organisation which has already lost directors Andrew Strange and Stephen Gay as well as policy analyst Jacqueline Thornton, in the last six months.

New council member Dr Keith Blacker, chairman of IFA firm Protection & Investments, says Aifa will build on its strengths to continue to be the leading voice of the IFA profession.

The trade body will have to set out a convincing case to members, and non-members it is looking to attract, as to why this will be the case. A good start would be doing more to appeal to its grass oots of small IFA firms looking for a louder voice on big policy issues.

It makes sense not to rush a decision on how to replace Gay but, even with the council members taking a more hands on role, the trade body requires a figurehead to lead it.

The adviser profession needs and deserves a strong, well resourced trade organisation to fight its cause, and that of its clients, at a UK, European and international level against the often competing interests of banks and insurers.

It is up to the Aifa council to show us its new stripped-down organisation is up to the fight.


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There are 5 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. “The adviser profession needs and deserves a strong, well-resourced trade organisation”
    Absolutely right. The problem is quite simple – the rank and file will not take the padlock off their wallets. They will make the excuse that they don’t think AIFA is doing a good enough job, but will 5,000 IFAs pay £500 per year to anyone? Alan Lakey or Gill Cardy? I’ll put money on it that no organisation will raise £2.5 million from the IFA community. (Will they even raise £500 from 2,500?) So where is the money coming from? Providers?
    If you can’t raise the amount then you have to try and make do with less – that means austerity. That’s what we’ve got. AIFA will do a better job than anyone else around today on the funds it manages to raise. It may not please everyone, but in the circumstances it is still the only viable game in town and who knows it still may yet surprise you all.
    No doubt there are those who think you can run a decent trade body on £250 per year, but I guess they will eventually wake up.

  2. Starting off with £2.5m as target revenue is bound to lead to certain financial conclusions.
    But this argument is no different to the financial planner who once told me that if anyone charged less than £3k they simply weren’t doing the job properly. Of course, it’s nonsense and people can do a perfectly good job for clients without charging that sort of money.
    Cutting coat according to cloth comes to mind.
    And in the age of austerity, financial plans and forecasts need to be made on a basis which takes account of the circumstances of those you are asking to pay for your services.
    Which is precisely why IFA Centre does not start assuming £2.5m turnover nor £500 per year membership fee. But yes, we still need members – and quite frankly, if neither of us provide services that people will pay for, or if IFAs never join however good we are, then without members and the cashflow they imply we all sink without trace.

  3. I used £2.5 million merely as an example. With this sort of funding it would be possible to do a half way decent job including interfacing with the prime regulator – Europe.

    Of course I too face reality and know that in the circumstances we will all have to manage with significantly less. And just as with the real world if you want a decent job done you need to pay a decent whack. The fewer who are prepared to stump up, the more they will individually have to pay. Can you really run a decent organisation on (say) £200k? That may imply 4,000 members at £50 each – or if you can’t raise the troops it looks a bit expensive at £200 or so from 1,000 members for a second rate job.

    Making a noise is not the object – achieving results is. And Gill has it bang on when she says “if IFAs never join however good we are, then without members and the cashflow they imply we all sink without trace”.

    Little more needs to be said

  4. I haven’t watch the film Titanic because I know how it ends.

    If they made a film about an IFA trade body I wouldn’t watch it for the same reason.

    The trouble with an IFA trade body is that gathering them is like herding Katz.

  5. IFAs’ are already paying out so much in fees and levies together with all the other costs of running a business, that paying out to a trade body which is ineffective is not financially viable.
    No one listens to our views anyway, so what is the point?
    Aifa shot itself in the foot over grandfathering, in spite of anything HK has to say on the matter, and is now reaping what it sowed.

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