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Seager attacks &#39fat cat&#39 network chiefs

IFA and Network Whitechurch Securities chairman Kean Seager has slammed big network chiefs, accusing them of being “fat cats dining on the cream” by overcharging IFA member firms.

Seager, who set up the Whitechurch Network last year, attracting 50 firms, att-acks the bigger networks for “milking” IFAs through high charges, saying firms get little in return and only accept the situation because of the pressure of the sudden inc-rease in compliance over the past few years.

Seager is setting up an IFA support group, Whitechurch Associates, saying it will offer more cost-effective services than rivals such as Bankhall.

He says networks “had us over a barrel”, exploiting IFAs by portraying themselves as providing protection from an unreasonable regulator.

He also believes increasing consolidation such as Misys&#39 acquisition of DBS makes IFAs feel like a small cog in a big wheel, which goes against their individual nature.

Seager says Whitechurch provides the same compliance benefits as mainstream rivals at a lower cost, does not charge fees on renewals and does not force advisers to pay for run-off professional indemnity insurance cover if they leave the network.

He says: “Advisers should do what they encourage clients to do. They should shop around, ask for discounts and, if not satisfied, look elsewhere.”

DBS spokeswoman Anna Scarfe says: “We offer very good value for money. Because we have lots of members, we can pass on the benefits of our buying power in areas like negotiating professional ind-emnity insurance and dealing with product providers.”

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