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Pricing and discounting

At this year&#39s PIMS conference, Autif chaired a session called, The Polarisation Debate. As the title suggests, the aim was to find out the range and type of views held on the likely implications of depolarisation.

There are many ifs, largely because none of us yet knows the extent to which the market will be depolarised. It is not an issue that can be considered in isolation as, for example, disclosure is another hot topic that is inextricably related to it.

The article in the issue of Money Marketing of June 7 headed, Autif says polar shifts will sink the discount brokers, may confuse. The last slide used in Autif&#39s preamble to the debate asked the question whether IFAs and discount brokers were set to disappear.

In our view, where added service of clear value can be demonstrated, this is unlikely to be the case. If anything, we believe demand will increase. If, however, the pricing anomaly that exists in the unit trust market were to diminish or disappear – whereby discount brokers can sell on access to funds at a lower price than private investors can buy them by going direct to the provider – then these brokers would be under pressure as, in most instances, the discount is the only service they offer.

Anne McMeehan

Autif, London WC2

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