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See which way the wind blows in typhoon alley

While we run stories of doom and gloom, IFAs are doing very nicely thank you.

It should come as no surprise in the Isa season, even a muted one, coupled with the launch of a new pension, that more business is coming IFAs&#39 way.

But by April next year, the whole marketplace could be turned upside down.

Increasingly, the twin tornadoes of polarisation and the stakeholder margin crunch are changing everything.

Last week saw the FSA telling providers that where stakeholder decision trees were involved, IFAs may be excluded from commission. But the commission crunch is not just hitting pensions, as Hargreaves Lansdown is forced to rebate renewal commission to compete with rivals.

The dash for distribution may also be under way as Gartmore takes a 13 per cent share in InterAlliance while Royal London links with the Exchange and the air is thick with talk of white-labelling deals.

The polarisation mess gets messier. Autif has, according to the FSA,suggested that all Isas be depolarised not just Catmarked ones.

Combined with ABI acceptance of phase one,the waters are now totally muddied.

Money Marketing will continue to argue that changing polarisation is reckless, given the launch of new products. But, without a vestige of industry consensus,if the FSA wants to completely abolish polarisation, it has every excuse.

In the run-up to the end the of tax year, IFAs&#39 main concern must be to advise their clients and to keep making money. But it would be wise to have half an eye on what the big players are up to.


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