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Time to answer back

With the RDR still very much at the heart of IFA concerns some new viewpoints have been voiced by representatives from SimplyBiz, Cavanagh Group and pi Financial Dixon Sutcliffe, breathing new life into the hot topic.

SimplyBiz chairman Ken Davy reckons the professional financial planner category is currently too restrictive, believing it should be opened up to all advisers with a clean complaint record and three years’ experience to fall into this top tier.

He says with these minimum requirements and customer agreed remuneration in place, there is no reason why advisers should be prevented from being grandfathered into the PFP category.

Davy believes the primary advice channel is anything but that. He says it is in fact secondary advice, but needs to be rethought, as advisers’ pride would not encourage them into a channel with such a title.

Meanwhile, Cavanagh chief executive Andrew Fay raises a point, shared by many leading IFA groups in the pre-RDR days, over specialising.

If IFAs are being encouraged to specialise, with many larger groups seeing the benefits of having experts across a range of sectors that share in resource and cross-introduce between each other, this flies in the face of the RDR.

Fay says he is himself looking for specialist advisers and fails to see why advisers that are at the top of their game in a particular area, but might be lacking in expertise in other areas – for example sipps or protection products– should have to retrain across the board in order to call themselves professional, or indeed, independent.

Tim Sutcliffe, chief executive of pi Financial Dixon Sutcliffe has issued a strong warning to the market, that if the general financial adviser category – that is representing the vast majority of the current IFA community – is to not be eradicated, advisers have to stand up and be counted.

He says apathy is at the root of too much unwelcome change in the IFA space and says advisers will only have themselves to blame if the threat of the RDR comes to light.

Origen managing director Stephen Greenstreet says the IFAs he deals with seem directly unconcerned, with many of them reliant on their network or national IFA collective to do the worrying for them.

He agrees many advisers are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to industry change, but he himself is less worried about the proposed changes, saying the RDR paper in its current form has very little chance of coming to fruition anyway, but is confident that many Origen advisers are not far off PFP level already.

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