Aifa director general Stephen Gay says he believes independent advice will remain the gold standard as members await a decision on whether the trade body will admit restricted advisers after the RDR.
Aifa is currently conducting its strategic review which will guide its future direction and is likely to reveal if it will broaden its membership.
Gay says: “With everyone asking about the question of independence, it would be ridiculous for us not to consider it in a root and branch review of our organisation.
“I cannot decide Aifa policy but I can influence it and I am a very large part of the process of creating it. I am not changing my view that independent advice is the gold standard of our profession.”
Gay says the number of IFAs who will remain independent will be influenced by how strict the FSA is in monitoring its new rules. “The number of people that remain independent will depend on the appetite that the FSA has got to police the division it has created,” he says.
Gay is calling for a progress report from the FSA on RDR implementation. He says: “I would like assurances from the FSA about whether or not the implementation is going horribly wrong and at what point it would decide it needs to change tack. The problem is nobody knows the answer.”
Gay says the FSA needs to do more work to ensure IFAs understand the RDR remuneration changes. He says: “It is not universally understood what adviser-charging entails, even after all the time spent debating the matter. I have had enquiries from IFAs who were of the view that they were not able to take an ongoing revenue from a client after 2012.”