Positive Solutions has not so much thrown down a gauntlet to potential multi-ties as slapped them across the face with it.
Chief executive David Harrison says multi-ties will not serve clients or advisers.
He believes that advisers who multi-tie will quickly want to go back to being independent when they see the contracts they are expected to sell and that ties will frustrate competition.
He is scathing about increased multi-tie commission, saying it will be short-lived while directors of the big firms line their pockets. Finally, he suggests that many big IFAs are only multi-tying because their business model has failed.
Positive Solutions speaks from a position of some strength – RI numbers are up, it is profitable and, in Aegon, it has a parent with deep pockets, although critics will suggest this compromises its stance. What it has certainly not done is lead Harrison to mince his words.
These are the toughest comments yet in the multi-tying debate. The likes of Sesame, BBB and Bankhall present the case as an operational choice for advisers.
Simply Biz and Tenet suggest that many, if not most, will stay independent but have not gone as far as Harrison.
Money Marketing has always believed that independent advice is best but businesses may feel the need to tie if economic circumstances dictate. But we have yet to hear one important argument from multi-tie advocates – how they benefit the customer/client. One argument might be it makes giving advice to middle-income groups affordable or that clients will get cheaper products, if not the quite the same choice. But few are saying so and it is about time they did or multi-ties will soon be at the sharp end of national press coverage.
Positive Solutions seems to be setting itself up as the standard-bearer for independence.