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Trade body for discount firms

A new trade body has been set up to represent the non-advised sales sector but Hargreaves Lansdown says it will not be joining.

The Association of Independent Discount Brokers comprises groups with over £5bn of assets, including Bestinvest, Chelsea Financial Services and Willis Owen.

Financial Discounts Direct, Garrison, Allenbridge, Fundsnet, Isa Limited and Dennehy Weller are also founder members. All firms offering non-advised sales are being invited to join.

The AIDB is concerned that the retail distribution review excludes non-advised sales despite inviting comment on remuneration structures.

Chelsea Financial Services managing director Darius McDermott says: “Considering we account for 20 per cent of fund sales, it is hard to believe there is no trade body for us, whereas there are a number of IFA groups who lobby against the regulator on issues like the RDR, which will change the face of the industry.”

Financial Discounts Direct managing director Paul Penny says platforms and fund firms have encouraged the trade body but he says it will take issue with platforms in areas such as re-registration. Penny is acting secretary at launch, with McDermott as acting chairman. The association will produce an RDR response paper later this month.

A Hargreaves Lansdown spokesman says: “We are already on the UK Platform Group as the majority of business goes through our own platform Vantage. Our energy is channelled into this.”

Aifa director Rob Sinclair says: “Aifa is a well recognised trade body to help consumers but if there are other areas such as execution-only that have their own interests, then they should ensure they are well represented.”

Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey says: “I understand what they are doing and would do the same myself. There are dangers that the more disparate bodies there are the more confused the message becomes but their aims are largely different to IFAs.”

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