A new trade body for the adviser industry has been officially launched today (15 May), led by director general Garry Heath and a board of industry members.
Speaking this morning, the former director general of The IFA Association explained that the formation of the new association led from Panacea Adviser chief executive Derek Bradley’s insistence on the trail commission issue creating the need for an alternative to the Association of Professional Financial Advisers.
The new association will be called Libertatem - so as to avoid the traditional “alphabet soup” according to Mr Heath - and aims to capture membership from around 20 per cent of the IFA industry within the first 12 months; ensuring income of over £1m to fund initial campaigning.
Libertatem’s non-executive president and Conservative peer Lord Flight commented that there should not necessarily be a clash with Apfa, because they now represent mostly networks, with only around 100 IFA members.
He stated that the association’s mission is to look after the industry and maintain standards, whilst also negotiating with government to ensure the rebirth of the market. This was deemed particularly important by Mr Flight, as the recent at-retirement reforms have created a demand for advice that is not currently being met.
“The government’s guidance arrangements leave things hanging, as they can’t steer people towards appropriate products.
“It’s a scandal that the bulk of middle England, who voted the Conservative party to power, have no access to financial advice.”
An early focus will be on delaying the end of trail commission next year, which according to the Heath Report, risks losing between 20 and 40 per cent of the remaining adviser population. “We also want to bring back regulatory consistency and accountability, while we police market standards,” Mr Flight added.
Mr Heath said that Libertatem would look to issue policy, not react to it, complaining that simplified advice does not work and customers do not understand the restricted advice title.
“The Conservative majority gives us the opportunity to examine the accountability of regulation and we will encourage MPs to match their de-regulation rhetoric with actions; there are no longer any excuses.”
The member panel is set to include a member of parliament and Mr Heath is also on the look out for a consumer member, after Ros Altmann was taken this week for a ministerial role.
At this stage, the formation committee includes IFAs Steven Farrall, Alan Lakey, Alan Steel and Mark Learmont, along with European Federation of Financial Advisers and Intermediaries secretary general Paul Stanfield and Heath Report “number cruncher” Phil Moore from Action Consulting.
Membership for the first year will range from £240 per annum for the first adviser or a one-man-band, up to £2,400 for a 10-man firm.