The Sandringham network has announced will transition from restricted to independent advice.
Speaking to Money Marketing this week, chief executive of the West Yorkshire-based firm, Tim Sargisson said increases in growth and profit during 2016 and 2017 had seen it expand the range of investment services it offers.
He says: “We have moved our proposition on from the past five years that it’s not true to describe us as a restricted business now. We are very much open market so we are moving to being independent advisers.
“Clients want advisers to deliver risk-managed, solid performance at a reasonable price and when we had a long look at our investment process and how things have evolved, we realised we are no longer restricted.”
Despite the move to whole of market advice, Sargisson says the firm will not change its approach and will be working with advisers to guide their investment offerings and product selection decisions.
He says: “Fundamentally, nothing within the business changes, we’re not going to allow our advisers to go and start picking investments and funds for our products, we will still tightly control that process to manage risk. We have our investment committee that monitors the selection of funds and we also have oversight provided by an independent investment specialist.”
February figures from the FCA show a slight dip in the percentage of restricted financial advisers within the sector, now coming in at around 15 per cent. Sargisson says the move towards independent status for many is driven by historic bias.
He says: “People get really excited about the restricted/independent advice polarisation and it goes way back to when we first had the first real regulation in the industry and in those days, you were either independent or you were tied which tended to be inferior. We still suffer from that perception post-RDR and restricted is still seen as an inferior offering for advisers and clients and that impacts on us negatively as a business.
“We are trying to recruit aspirational advisers, but the hurdle has always been that we are restricted, but we feel what we offer is more independent than some other firms that are out there as independents.”
Sandringham currently provides access to 13 distinct fund styles across 61 portfolios and funds from its nine managers.
Sargisson told Money Marketing the firm was reassessing its recruitment drives and would focus on building its network to 250 advisers from the 160 it has currently.