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Scale warning

Editor’s comment of the week

Online response to last week’s Martin Bamford column headlined, Is the IFA model ever scalable?

Very interesting questions from Martin, to which my answers are, not scalable and not a bad outcome. A growing business can achieve economies in the ways you suggest in the article but it is the advice (being personal and, crucially, independent) that is not scalable.

This is a strength of the UK market and if you want to see what happens when a market is dominated by a few “advice” businesses that have achieved scale, look to Europe and you will quickly conclude the UK is a much better model for the consumer/client.

I think most high quality independent advice busin- esses could only achieve scale profitably by diluting the independence, breadth and personalisation of their proposition. Ironically, that probably involves destroy- ing the value of what it is they were providing that put them in a position to aspire to scale.

Peter Hicks


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