IFAs who don’t get ETFs should use trackers’
Skandia’s Graham Bentley has raised alarm over the number of IFAs who don’t understand exchange-traded products and said advisers should instead use tracker funds.
Mr Bentley, head of proposition for Skandia, said the company’s latest IFA Barometer showed more than two thirds of advisers have “little or no understanding of the structure of synthetic ETFs” and more than half had “little or no understanding of asset based ETFs”.
He said there was a danger that ETFs are being used by advisers when they shouldn’t be.
Mr Bentley said: “With the FSA having already expressed concerns about the complexity of ETFs and there being a lack of understanding of how they work by both advisers and customers, there is a real danger of these funds being used when they should not be.
“It is likely that demand for ETFs will remain limited even after the RDR and our research supports this.”
The research also showed more than 70 per cent of advisers have no clients holding ETFs, and of those who do, the overwhelming majority hold 5 per cent or less in their portfolio.
Mr Bentley said: “ETFs remain a niche, passive investment suitable for a limited number of clients. For those looking to use low-cost passive investment solutions, tracker funds are not only cheaper than ETFs but simpler for advisers and investors to understand.”
Peter Cooper, director for Yorkshire-based Cooper Johnston Associates, said: “We use tracker funds, but will start using ETFs now that they are available on platforms, provided they are cheaper.
“Many IFAs don’t understand ETFs because they are new. There isn’t that general knowledge base yet. However, those IFAs who are using them do understand them and from next year ETFs will become more widespread.”
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