Tuesday’s paper moved the review on in terms of putting a sea of blue water between advice and sales, but it cast doubt over the future for the multi-tie and tied sectors of the market, with its advocacy for whole of market advice.
The obvious company for whom these proposals is problematic is certainly St James’s Place, the tied wealth management group, whose first quarter results happened to be out on the day the paper was released, leaving little time for in-depth analysis.
But having spoken with the group’s chairman Mike Wilson, I was left with no doubt over SJP’s opinion that they will be challenging the proposals, which he is confident will not be effected.
He says: “This is very early days and I think a lot will change after much consultation, to which we would like to contribute. We are all for raising standards in the industry, so we welcome that but we have definite concerns over the understanding of what constitutes advice or sales.
“We offer advice on inheritance tax and pensions to high net worth individuals – these are sophisticated products, not simple ones. I do not think for a moment this will see the light of day – it is incredible to suggest that our advisers are just sales people and that anyone who sells products from the wider market is giving advice.”
There is still much uncertainty around the transition periods, with the FSA leaving yet more room for manoeuvre with lots of ifs, buts and maybes.
Several advisers felt the process was being far too long and drawn out and not as confident of the regulator as they would like to have seen.
But many were congratulating the FSA for finally recognising that whole of market advice was the only way to go.
True Potential managing partner David Harrison says: “I’ve been saying it for years and it is nice to have them all finally agreeing with me.”
And his successor at Positive Solutions chief executive Jim Reeve agrees.
He says: “The paper carries a strong endorsement for the value of whole of market/IFA advice, the very model that Positive Solutions wholeheartedly embraces.”
Over at the Lighthouse conference, which took place in Monte Carlo, the general consensus seemed to be (from what I hear, having been stuck in rainy London rather than sunny Monaco) that the integration with Sumus is progressing nicely, with an expected completion date of May 6.
The group also announced a new deal with LV= Asset Management to distribute four new Oeics, set to launch in July. Tom Caddick’s multi-manager and fund selection team will run the four funds.
Lighthouse chief executive Malcolm Streatfield says: “Lighthouse Group is very pleased to further our relationship with LV= again. These four funds will prove to be excellent additions to our adviser’s product offering. We look forward to helping LV= in their development of this area of their business.”
And Towergate is continuing its shopping spree of IFA firms, this week announcing it has picked up Glasgow-based firm MacDonald Reid Scott Group.
The latest acquisition grows Towergate’s presence in Scotland even further, having bought JW Group last year and McAra Associates and Albannach Financial Management earlier this year.