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Survey shows IFAs value autonomy

The majority of IFAs value their independence but network members are more willing to consider multi-ties than non-members, according to research by KPMG for Skandia Life.

The company condu cted in-depth interviews with a cross-section of 48 leading IFA firms in September to find out IFAs&#39 responses to the London Economics report to the FSA on polarisation.

Among network members, multi-ties are seen as a poss-ible option as IFAs face greater financial uncertainty because of pressure to cut commission levels.

Network IFAs also believe multi-ties could give networks more clout when demanding commission from providers.

Smaller non-network IFAs were fearful over their future independence, with the majority not keen on multities although they admit they would “not be too proud to accept the right commercial offer”.

KPMG says most regional IFAs are concerned primarily with the autonomy of running their own businesses and would be worried that multi-tie providers would impose harsh business restrictions.

Most firms said if they had to select a multi-tie partner they would make a selection based on the life office&#39s financial strength, investment performance and service standards.

Skandia group marketing director Bill West says: “The motivation behind the survey was to find out IFAs&#39 opinions on polarisation and the new proposals and encourage them to think about it.

“In September and October, before the recent spate of letters on the proposals from the FSA, etc, we talked to all sorts of IFAs to gather their thoughts on what might happen to polarisation. The conclusions from the survey were very encouraging. The IFA sector will continue to grow and prosper and there is a great strength of feeling about independence and the value of the current structure.

“These findings are especially encouraging since independent advisers have been under attack recently.”

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