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MM leader: Time to get behind Apfa

Apfa council member and small IFA Neil Liversidge makes an impassioned plea in this week’s issue for advisers to sign up to the trade body.

Liversidge compares it to the Motorcycle Action Group he is also part of, pointing out that both the MAG and Apfa do some great work but receive relatively little support from the community they serve.

There are probably a host of reasons why advisers have failed to sign up. 

The nature of lobbying means much of the hard work needs to be done behind the scenes and that victories, sometimes clinched early in the policy-making cycle, are often kept quiet.

Apfa has recognised the need to shout a bit louder about what it is doing but it cannot make everything it achieves public for members to inspect.

Another problem with being a representative body is that everyone gets the benefit of most of what you do whether they are members or not. That can be a tough sell at the best of times. 

With firms keeping an ever closer eye on fixed costs, the membership fee of £240 plus £100 per extra RI can easily fall into the “nice to have” rather than “essential” pile and end up being overlooked.

However, it should be seen as essential that the interests of advisers and their clients are properly represented as new rules and regulations are being drawn up
and debated in the UK, Europe and further afield. That representation
costs money.

Following the closure of IFA Centre, Gill Cardy has joined Apfa and called on others to do the same. A united voice representing the adviser profession is far more powerful
than a number of groups fighting a similar cause.

The financial advice sector is never going to compete with the lobbying budgets of global corporate giants. But its position as an independent group of professionals focused on their clients’ best interests means it is often able to punch well above its weight in such circles.

That said, it has limited resources and needs as much funding as possible to continue to fight the corner for advisers and their clients on so many fronts.

A thriving advice profession needs to be properly represented at the policymaking table around which sit powerful groups with deep pockets whose interests are often at odds with those of advisers and the clients they serve. It’s time to get behind Apfa.



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There are 9 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. We have had numerous regulators and trade bodies and yet consumers are no better off than they were in the 70s.

  2. The above comments sums it all up. What have they ever done for us?

  3. Neil, I am sorry to this but it is a total waste of time. APFA cannot and will not change the new rules and regulation that are thrust upon us. If the TSC chairman had to resort to requiringthe FCA chairman to reviuw his chief executive’s decision not to repay the overcharge of £118 million then because Mr Wheatley point blankly refused to admit the facts then what chance has a tradebdoy got? In short Sweet FA.
    Teh Eurocrats and uk regulators only have one thing on their mind – to protect consumers. That is fine until the detail of how this is to be done comes to light and then we all have problems. This is because they live in a differnt world, they have no idea what actually happens in the real world and could care even less. “We must keep making rule changes and additions to ensure that we are seen to be doing something” is their mindset even if the “something” is so ludicrous and ridiculous. Its a sad state of affairs but it is what it is Im afraid.

  4. Like Gill, I re-joined APFA . It’s a bit like voting. I try to always vote as that way if the party I don’t want gets in I can be critical of them and if the party I do want gets in we can try to get them to follow the commitments before they got in to power.
    If we don’t join ANY representative body (APFA or IFP for example), then we have no representation and no combined forum to argue our position with the regulator which from personal experience I can say even when you know you are right and they are wrong both morally and legally is very difficult as an individual.

  5. Waste of time, a fool and his money are soon parted.

  6. I avoided joining AIFA/APFA for years because I found certain individuals to be duplicitous, conniving and self-serving.

    Post RDR things have changed and the real argument is, do you rid the industry of representative bodies because they are considered effective or do you join with them to make them effective and to give teeth where previously only gums were evident?

    I joined the APFA council to make a difference. If I find that I cannot do this then I’ll jump off because I have better things to do than waste my time.

    I have told the council that it needs to demonstrate its value in some tangible manner rather than repeat the boasts of previous councils regarding achievements that can never be proven.

    That is the challenge for both the council and the rump of the adviser population.

  7. I too renewed my membership. Unlike Phil; I don’t believe in voting – as it makes no difference what I think. All the choices are naff and I don’t get a demonstrable benefit.

    In the case of APFA I joined because I value the work they do in informing us. I know they will have very little success in changing anything and anyway I don’t think continual whining about every detail does any good anyway – to the contrary.

    However it seems as if the problems at the association are as they have always been. I well recall all the heart-searching because of lack of funds when I was on the Council. We had two years of not really getting anywhere as far as extra income and significant new membership was concerned. This lead to the dropping of the ‘I’ and the adoption of the new name in the hope of attracting a wider constituency. As I suspected from the outset – it hasn’t worked.

    If APFA want to attract new members they need, as a start, to look at four things:

    1. The fees. There is a palpable injustice in having such a wide disparity between Network members and DA members.
    2. Keep the promise that was made at outset for a collegiate approach. Independents might feel more included.
    3. I know they have revisited costs, but if some of the costs were anything like those in my day – then there is still a very long way to go. This may go some way to solving 1 – above.
    4. When a member of the Council my hobby-horse was for the inclusion of a USP. This is something they don’t have. They could have gone for being an issuer of SPS, but didn’t even try. That would have given them a guaranteed income. The idea of a merger with a another body also went nowhere. I guess the Networks and egos got in the way.

    One wonders how it is that the AMI seems to thrive when APFA has such problems – perhaps they have something to learn from Rob Sinclair

  8. Despite my respect for you, Neil, and for Alan Lakey and Dick Carne, the fact remains that in the absence of a Statutory Independent Regulatory Oversight Committee or a TSC with real powers to impose its judgements on the regulator, the FCA remains free to treat APFA as just another talking shop whose council comprises men of straw. If Martin Wheatley can simply defy to his face Andrew Tyrie’s call for the FCA to reimburse IFA’s with the £118m we’ve been overcharged over the past five years, what possible hope can APFA have of being treated any better than a mildly irritating little dog yapping at its back door? It’s like chucking marshmallows at a Panzer tank.

    Please tell us just what, if any, impact on FSA policy APFA’s representations have had on matters such as:-

    1. the RDR,

    2. the forthcoming blanket ban on trail commission from legacy products,

    3. vastly simplified RMA reporting,

    4. a streamlined (and thus vastly less expensive) advice process,

    5. hindsight reviews or

    6. the denial of a longstop against complaints about advice given in the distant past.

    Unless you’re prepared to do this, APFA will continue to be widely regarded as nothing but a talking shop comprised of men with no power or influence to change anything. How can you possibly expect people to continue to commit money to an organisation like that?

  9. I don’t know why Alan is on the board again? I agree with Julian. Dull men with no idea or vision.

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