AIFA to set up ‘whole of market’ division
The ‘Scope of Membership’ consultation was undertaken to research members’ views on the criteria for joining AIFA. It asked firms whether it should only allow those who meet the revised depolarisation definition of ‘independent’ to be members or whether ‘whole of market’ firms should be allowed to remain.
80 per cent of responding firms were in favour of allowing ‘whole of market’ advisers – those who survey the entire market for clients but have chosen not to meet the FSA’s depolarisation fee-charging requirements – to remain members.
Therefore, AIFA has announced that a subsidiary branch, under the banner of the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA), will be set up for this category of membership.
Chris Cummings, AIFA’s director-general, said: “Our members have spoken and given three clear messages. First, there must be a body for those who offer exclusively independent advice under the new regulatory definition.
“Second, we must continue to provide a home for those who survey the whole of market for their clients but have chosen not to meet the FSA’s new depolarisation fee-charging requirements. Finally, those firms who are exclusively tied or multi-tied are not obvious members of our Association.”
Cummings added: “Our industry is changing. Our members have decided that their Association should reflect and embrace those changes as long as we continue to represent only those advisers who put their clients first.”
However, Alan Lakey, senior partner at Highclere Financial Services, believed the move was a cause for concern. “If Chris Cummings and Faye Goddard are to be in control of the new body, you have to wonder how they can adequately support independent financial advisers while lobbying for lesser advisers,” he said.