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Outside Edge

When I started to write Outside Edge, a journalist told me that I would not be a fully fledged columnist until I got my first letter informing me of my shortcomings. So grateful thanks are due to Institute of Fin-ancial Planning president Simon Williamson who took the time to point out my faults in a recent issue of Money Marketing.

I should point out that I crave no limelight nor have “I stumbled back”. After all,I never thought I had left. But, irrespective of all of that, I do remain entitled to express my views, a right that Simon, as I recall from the last time he took me to task, does not recognise.

As for his comments to do with straining the alphabet soup of letters after our names, why not just scrap the initials entirely and produce titles that mean something to those who matter, the public.

After all, do we look at the letters after our GP&#39s name. No we do not but we understand the difference between a doctor and a consultant.

The only people who rec-ognise our post-nominal letters are our peers so let us consider leaving them on the CV where they belong or on the wall behind our desks or better still in the reception area of our office. So, how about it, Simon? Would your organisation, the IFP, like to lead the way or as is more likely are you just calling for the CFP to be the de facto standard for all?

While on the subject of my own opinion, I am at a loss as to the recent moves by the ICS involving one of the national IFAs, especially as I previously had investigated the subject re the ability of the directors of a defaulting IFA being able to be principals of another IFA.

I was told that the “fit and proper” test would be applied, so does this mean that the ICS will bail anyone out who asks but then the FSA will prevent them from holding senior positions in an IFA in future?

We need this clarified and fast if it is possible simply to cleanse your self in this way, then can we look forward to the ICS taking on all IFAs in this fashion and if not why not?

Whatever the answer, is this a real opportunity for Aifa to prove it supports the IFA sector as a whole and not just the bigger concerns.

I always believed that phase two would have an adverse effect on the number of firms. Under phase two, we will see a number of firms overwhelmed not just by the cost of the compensation but the cost of conducting the review itself.

The news that the calculations basis was incorrect and cases have to be redone has to date ignored the fact that the FSA took outside advice from consulting actuaries, who I presume carry PI cover.

Could some of these unnecessary costs not be recovered from them? We should also have the outcome soon of the case to determine whether windfalls should be deducted from any compensation paid. Should the PI insurer win his case, then the value obtained from the reclaiming of monies paid to date could pale into insignificance against the value we would need to place on the loss in confidence from the public.

Oh and Simon (he of the IFP) I do not mind being referred to as a walrus. After all, it was good enough for John Lennon and Craig Stadler. If only I could sing like John and drive a golf ball like Craig or at worst throw a punch like John Prescott.

Robert Reid is principal of Syndaxi

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