National IFA Perspective says it may forfeit ‘independence’

National IFA firm Perspective Financial Group has told FTAdviser that it is still in talks over whether it will attempt to retain its independent status post-2012, saying that if it feels it does not meet regulator’s stricter definition it will adopt a restricted model.

Julie Hepworth, group regulatory manager at the firm, said that the group is well-placed for the incoming Retail Distribution Review as it has been planning the transition for a “number of years”.

Ms Hepworth said that the firm currently plans to be independent post-RDR, but said that this is not set in stone and is currently being reviewed.

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She said: “We are still talking about the independent/restricted question at the moment. Wherever possible we will remain independent but we are also very mindful and do not want to fall foul of any FSA requirements, so if we believe that we can’t meet that benchmark, we are not entirely wedded to independent.

Ms Hepworth added that the company’s view is that the importance of independence will diminish post-RDR, saying: “we believe that the chartered status is more important.”

Perspective says it is “very well-placed” in terms of adviser qualifications post-RDR and it has “gone one step further” by encouraging its advisers to be chartered.

Ms Hepworth said: “We view that as being our benchmark and we are striving towards some of our firms being corporate chartered. We are busy pushing that so we are very comfortable as to where we are with qualifications.

“With adviser charging, we already generate quite a big proportion of our income from this, and we are pushing on to ensure that 100 per cent of our revenue is from adviser charging.

“There are training needs around that as that is a very different conversation with the client but again, we feel well placed.”