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Whitechurch aims at bigger IFA firms

Whitechurch Direct is looking for business from bigger IFA firms and says it can undercut SimplyBiz by 40 per cent for firms with a turnover of more than £210,000The firm says both of the support services companies’ fees are similar for IFA firms with an annual turnover below £210,000 but for claims that for companies with bigger turnovers, the difference is significant.

Managing director Ian McIver says Whitechurch’s fees for companies with a turnover in excess of £210,000 are capped at £4,800 and he claims that SimplyBiz’s comparable rate would be over £8,000.

He says: “There is nothing more you can do once you start getting into higher amounts. Whether a firm is writing £200,000 or £1m of business, the amount of compliance does not increase that much more. The cost is what you feel you need to set it at.

“Networks are generally more expensive as you need to factor in supervisors but as our service is largely web-based, the extra costs are reduced.”

SimplyBiz managing director Ian Thorneycroft says: “We cap our charges at £577 a month, linked to inflation. We cannot bring our £8,000 down as we know what it costs to service clients turning over that level of business. I would ask though if they are planning to guarantee that rate for life.”

After carrying out a review of the business, McIver says Whitechurch will now place a much greater focus on its direct offering after previously focusing on its network. It will not look to secure FSA authorisation for its directly regulated arm, like rivals such as Tenet have recently done.

He says: “I cannot see why you would authorise compliance services when they take no liability and are not conducting regulated business. I think this is a fad.”


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