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Tied ebbs and flows as firms ponder choices

IFAs and product providers are split on how to adapt their businesses to take into account the FSA&#39s polarisation proposals but independent advice looks set to continue.

Among the providers, Zurich says it is not interested in multi-tying, saying it is happy with its current distribution methods. Standard Life says it has no plans to enter tied arrangements as yet but Axa is preparing fully for multitied distribution.

IFA RJ Temple says it will drop independent from its title and continue operating as it does now because its customers do not want to pay fees and it does not want to become a limited multi-tie.

Many IFAs plan to divide their businesses to accommodate both multi-tied and independent advice.

Towry Law says it will continue as a fee-charging IFA but may set up a multi-tied broking arm. Misys and Bankhall both say they will adopt a multi-tied arm if members request it.

Other life offices are looking to secure distribution in whatever form necessary. Scottish Widows says multi-ties are not its preferred option but it does not want to miss out on the market. Norwich Union says it will support IFAs regardless of which regulatory option they choose.

RJ Temple communications manager Liz Walkington says: “Our thoughts are to drop the word independent as we do not envisage suddenly moving to fees – it is not what our customers want. It is a shame to have to lose independent from our name because we plan to give exactly the same advice as we do now.”

Axa spokesman Steve Muir says: “We already have multi-tied experience around the world. On the basis that the proposals will come into force as they are, we will be talking to IFAs to see if they want to go down the distributor route.”

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