CompaniesMar 26 2012

Axa Wealth could change charges for restricted advice

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ByDonia O’Loughlin

Axa Wealth is set to launch a restricted advice channel pricing and servicing package for those considering moving away from independent status post-Retail Distribution Review, which could see restricted advisers charged at a different rate to their IFA peers.

The package, which will run alongside its existing independent advice model, is expected to be available in the second quarter of this year and will offer a “flexible, bespoke approach” to what Axa Wealth currently offers by way of support and pricing.

Axa Wealth said it will be advising on its pricing model nearer the time of launch and this may or may not be the same price as independent.

The firm had initially announced it was looking at its post-RDR structure in September 2011, when it said it was considering adapting its structure to allow for independent, restricted and single-tied advice models.

With estimates of anything between 20 to 80 per cent of IFAs shifting to a restricted model, Axa claims “it is clear” that a number of advisers still need support and guidance on this subject.

Axa Wealth is urging advisers that are still uncertain on which advice model to adopt to make a decision about the type of advice and services that they are going to offer their clients as soon as possible.

Axa believes that advisers need to give “considerable thought” to what type of service their clients require post-RDR and whether clients actually put enough value on independence, “which may have a higher cost base and resource implications than the restricted route”.

David Thompson, managing director for marketing and distribution at Axa Wealth, said: “There is no doubt that the RDR is going to change the landscape of financial advice.

“It will shift the focus away from ‘which product’ to ‘which service’, and the value of that service from a client’s perspective.

“We are RDR-prepared and offer expertise on investments, platforms, retirement solutions and savings, and are extremely well placed to assist advisers in an area that we feel many are looking for guidance on.

“We believe there will be a very healthy whole of market sector and we will continue to support this fully; we do however want to offer flexibility in our approach for advisers who are considering a different route.

”Axa Wealth will offer a flexible, tailored pricing model to fit around an advisers business whatever advice model they’re adopting – restricted or independent.”