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Openwork defends Brazilian adviser conference

Restricted network Openwork has defended a conference it is holding in Rio de Janeiro for over 100 of its top advisers.

The Openwork Overseas Convention is set to take place in Rio in May and sees the firm entertain 120 of its “key advisers”.

Openwork says it fully funds the conference itself, which forms part of its ongoing engagement programme to enable advisers to share ideas and best practice.

The firm, which is 25 per cent owned by Zurich, reported a £321,000 profit for the year ending 31 December 2012. Its 2013 accounts are yet to be published.

An Openwork spokesman says: “Openwork runs a full programme of events to engage with our advisers. All of our events are run in full adherence to FCA requirements.”

Independent compliance consultant Adam Samuel says the trip would not fall foul of the FCA’s recently announced inducement rules as it is paid for by the distributor, rather than any providers.

But he adds: “You would hope Openwork is carefully monitoring the marginal deals which make the difference between an adviser being on the plane or not being on the plane.

“You also hope the people on that plane are not those with concerns around suitability of any sales.” 

Concept Financial Planning managing director Paul Richardson says: “I think anything like this is tainted because it is driving a sale rather than advice.”

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