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Regional Review: The North-West

In the first in a series of regional reviews, Money Marketing will set the key UK regions into context in terms of giving advice. This week, the North-west and Greater Manchester come under the spotlight.

Manchester, which is the commercial, financial, educational and cultural capital of the UK&#39s biggest economic region outside London, plays host to more than 80 of the Financial Times Top 100 companies.

There are around 2,399,781 economically active people employed within a 30-mile radius of Greater Manchester, which has a total population of 5,138,708.

Unsurprisingly, the average IFA client profile veers towards professionals, in particular, managers or directors of small business, and high-net-worth individuals.

The total number of directors in the North-west is around 26,000. In terms of turnover, there are two main groups. The first numbers big companies with over £500m turnover, of which there are 87. The second group comprises 92 companies with a turnover of between £200-£500m.

When it comes to the future profile of clients, consensus among the IFA community in the area is that little will change. But the outlook is very different when it comes to the business that IFAs believe they will be writing in the future. The feeling is there will be a marked shift away from bread and butter pension business into a broader spectrum of income generating products, in particular, critical-illness cover and income protection.

A change to the way that IFAs are remunerated is also expected. Intermediaries are finding that clients are increasingly receptive to having commission rebated, offset against a monthly fee.

Money Marketing IFA UK is a regional trade event for the UK intermediary sector, which aims to help regional IFA communities build contacts with product and service providers operating in their area.

Each event incorporates a comprehensive conference programme tackling contentious and compelling industry issues, educationally orientated product seminars and interactive workshops.

The next event is being held on Wednesday, September 19 at the recently completed Manchester Inter-national Convention Centre. There will be over 80 exhibitors and 18 conference sessions. More than 1,000 IFAs are expected to attend.

The issues under discussion will include the challenges facing the new Financial Ombudsman Service, the polarisation debate, the next stages and the ways in which Aifa is working to influence the arguments, topping up pensions after April 6, 2001, how to ensure payback for your internet investment and how to use worksite marketing to generate traffic to your website and how to convert site browsers into clients.



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