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Multi moves and the panel beaters

Depolarisation, financial black holes, menus and mergers have all helped ensure that the year has been far from dull for the adviser community.

June 1 brought the move to depolarisation and the payment menu.

Many feared the menu of charges would play into the hands of the banks as the market average charges used by the FSA showed advisers to be expensive, leading to a massive wrangle over the validity of the figures.

The inclusion of execution- only brokers and maximum commission, whether taken or not, seemed to confuse everyone, not least consumers or those who bothered to read it anyway.

Depolarisation brought with it multi-ties, including Barclays Select Choice, Sesame Select, Burns-Anderson, Bankhall Connect and Principality Building Society.

The scrum of product providers offering enhanced commission for a berth on multi-tie panels only seemed to act as a red rag to the independence bull for many IFAs who staunchly clung to their independent tag.

Change was not all regulatory, with the distribution landscape again undergoing some seismic shifts as Misys geared up to sell Sesame and Bankhall restructured its entire business, closing its nursery network ISL and waving good-bye to founders Paul Hogarth and Simon Taylor.

The aftershocks of Millfields merger with Inter-Alliance continued, although chief executive Paul Tebbutt is confident that things are on the up. The same cannot be said about Berkeley Berry Birch, which faces a full FSA review on capital adequacy.

The Thinc Destini merger finally, after months of delay, received FSA authorisation, after which Fiona Price announced her departure from the firm, to pursue a TV career.

The big insurers had their chequebooks out, with Aegon making Positive Solutions
a wholly owned subsidiary. Standard Life made its first foray into the IFA sector by buying a stake in Tenet.

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