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Reporting requirements

These are turbulent times for some IFA companies and their advisers, with one business crashing in the last few months and others facing a financial crunch.

This comes in the context of a tough market, particularly for recruitment, with fierce competition for advisers just as some groups face the need to cut costs which might just include not paying away so much of the commission.

In the midst of all this sits trade newspaper cover-age – some good, some bad, some tabloid nonsense. Money Marketing’s aim in all this is not to bore its readers with worthiness but nor do we feel the need to ape The Sun at its worst either, particularly when livelihoods are a stake.

We have a duty to publish the information as quickly as we can be sure it is true.

Money Marketing has all manner of readers in its circulation in lenders, fund managers and life insurers as well as advisers great and small and maybe, however reluctantly, even some people at the regulator.

But it is advisers who are our first readers and it is with them in mind that we put together the top pages in the paper.

What happens when big IFAs are in trouble? Our attitude is that in all cases we have to report fairly on what is going.

We have to give the companies as much time as we can to answer our queries but at times the information may only come to us late in the day.

We certainly do not want to get involved in anything that would lead to a company’s demise and understand that it is the role of the senior directors to maintain stability among a workforce, advisers and in the case of a listed company to reassure the stockmarket.

But that need cannot override the fact that we have to let advisers – the bulk of our readership – know what is going on in a company.

The case in point has to be BBB where the capital adequacy issue did seem to be of a magnitude to warrant big headlines in mid-2005.

We also felt it was beholden on us to try and explain any other facts which came to light after the demise of the firm where the regulator had disapproved of practices within the company.

It is also important to consider the plight of advisers and staff following any closure and where the liabilities and debts rest particularly when this can have big implications for the rest of the market due to the strains already placed on the compensation scheme.

At all times on issues such as these we hope to give those involved as much chance to explain themselves at the time or, if that is not possible, to allow those involved to give their side of the story after the fact.

It does not really matter whether the individuals involved go to work in a helicopter or not or indeed how arrogant they might be, they are allowed to put their side. And so are the members and employees.

Our approach is to try to give IFAs as much information as possible as quickly and as fairly as possible. We may not strike the balance right 100 per cent of the time but that is what we are trying to do all of the time.

Your opinions on how successful we have been are always welcome, whether you are a small IFA worried about the compensation scheme, a network member or a self-employed adviser.

It also applies if you are the director of a big national IFA or networks whether you are making money or hope to very soon.


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