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Specialists will be hit by pro planner bracket

Specialist IFAs will lose out if the professional financial planner category of the retail distribution review is introduced, says Cavanagh Group chief executive Andrew Fay.

Fay says neither advisers nor consumers will be best served by the FSA encouraging IFAs to move towards a top-tier generalist category.

Cavanagh has encouraged advisers to specialise in particular fields and says it is not the best use of advisers’ time if they have to take on additional training to meet FSA requirements above their existing expertise.

He says: “We are looking for specialists in particular areas. The main questions to ask in the retail distribution review are whether you are encouraging specialisms. Are advisers going to stick to their areas of expertise?

“Are you going to stick to advising on pensions, tax, investment or business management? Their skills do not always match and are not always across the spectrum.”

Fay says he welcomes the FSA’s drive for professionalism in encouraging higher standards but believes specialist advisers should prevail, passing on leads to colleagues with appropriate skills if clients need advice on another area.

Fay says: “IFAs need to decide whether you are good at everything? If not, what are you really good at?”

Cavanagh will be contributing to the retail distribution review response from its compliance support provider Bankhall.

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