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The last chance saloon

What does the future hold for IFAs then? If the imminent retail distribution review does not pose a definite threat to independent financial advisers as such, it may well pose a threat to the term “IFA” itself, some might say.

Very well informed sources that have given Money Marketing an indication as to what is expected to be in the discussion paper have said that IFAs, and advisers generally, will be directed down one of four routes.

The review looks to be splitting financial advice into four streams – holistic generic, simple, general and professional advice – and remuneration will be one of the key areas being addressed.

The raging debate over fees versus commission caused quite the furore this week, with Andrew Fisher, chief executive of JS&P Towry Law ruffling a few feathers amongst his peers.
Fisher has been oft-quoted as pinning his colours firmly to the mast of fees-only for some time, since the merger of the two firms a couple of years ago.

Fisher’s strategy is firmly entrenched in service-led, holistic financial planning but he has been attacked this week by IFAs that say he is a hypocrite, with his business only moving towards a recurring income model quite recently.
While Fisher is calling for the FSA to heighten barriers to entry to improve levels of professionalism, increase capital adequacy requirements and insist on a commission ban – all of which seem to be the order of the day to some degree – some advisers think there is an element of pot calling the kettle black.

Facts & Figures Financial Planners managers director Simon Webster says that as Towry only moved to a fees-only model very recently, he thinks that the message is a badly-shrouded way of boosting its own business model.
Shameless self-promotion, or a smart move that was just streets ahead of the competition?

Elsewhere in the distribution world, David Harrison’s next gig, True Potential is now live, saying it will give advisers of all descriptions – tied, multi-tied or whole of market – a more streamlined process of writing business by exploiting a bigger and better technology system.
Harrison is calling on all advisers to take advantage of the efficiencies and effectiveness of his latest venture.
He says by improving systems advisers can beat the burdens of administration, poor technology and multiple systems in an evermore fragmented world of both manufacturing and distribution.

Next Wednesday sees the start of something huge. Perhaps this RDR is the opportunity to finally clean up the industry of its less-than-complimentary reputation of yesteryear.

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