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Warland leaves Autif but keeps lid on new role

Autif director general Philip Warland is stepping down from the job he has held for 10 years at the end of the year.

He remains tight-lipped about where he is heading next, saying that, for legal reasons, he cannot divulge his destination.

During his tenure at the trade association, Warland has seen the investment industry boom, with funds under management soaring by 530 per cent to £265bn from £50bn in 1990.

He has built a solid reputation for the body, which represents unit trust and Oeic providers, as an influential lobby known for “reasonable and competent arguments”.

Warland says, unlike other trade bodies, he has generally worked behind the scenes to get the industry&#39s point across instead of issuing loud public statements. He says he has operated by going directly to Government ministers or regulators to make his arguments heard.

He says: “Saying that, if we have failed behind the scenes to get our message across, we will go public.”

Warland has built a positive role with IFAs by opening the channels of communication.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of research Mark Dampier says: “He and director of communications Anne McMeehan have put more muscle behind Autif generally. He has been good with the IFA community by providing a lot more communication.”

Chase de Vere investment adviser Justin Modray says: “He has done a lot to heighten the awareness of the unit trust industry.”

Warland has seen the industry go through radical changes and has often been involved on behalf of Autif in some of the more heated debates with the Government about the future of investment in the UK.

When asked the acc-omplishment he is most proud of, Warland mentions his role in getting the Government to back down over its plans to install a £50,000 lifetime ceiling on Isa investments.

Autif approached the Inland Revenue, which is responsible for policing the tax regime governing Isas. It told the Government that a “lot of New Labour voters already have some £40,000 in Peps” and then went public when it did not look like the Treasury was going to acquiesce.

On the subject of Catmarked products, Warland says while he agrees in principle with setting standards, he has a real problem with the Government&#39s 1 per cent cap on charges.

“I have a principle objection to Government interference with prices. Our environment does not justify Soviet-style control over financial services,” he says.

Warland is also concerned it will lead people to believe a Catmarked fund is the best available when quite often this is not the case. But he admits he is not that concerned with Cat-marks as he believes it has not had the impact the Government hoped and Autif feared they would.

Warland has gone on record in the past about his problems with the ABI&#39s Savings and Long Term Risk initiative.

Again, despite his bel-ief that setting industry standards is a good thing, he says there may be confusion over whether a Saltr-accredited fund is the same as a fund which receives accreditation from another source such as the FSA.

Warland is convinced that, despite Government efforts to make investment as simple as possible, advice will always play a role.

On Emx, Autif&#39s fund trading hub, Warland concedes it has had “considerable growing pains”.

But he says: “The establishment of industrywide standards is very valuable.”

He adds that the current number of fund supermarkets would not exist if not for Emx.

He says: “If the industry were to put it up for sale, there would be a long list looking to buy it.”

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