Membership to new trade association Libertatem, which was set up by former director general of The IFA Association, Garry Heath, will be open to both independent and restricted advisers as well as wealth managers across the UK.
The group aims to represent 20 per cent of IFA firms within the first 12 months and will raise funding through membership growth in adviser businesses and industry sponsorship. Subscription costs for membership stand at £240 per year, or £20 per month, for each adviser.
Members must be regulated by the FCA and PRA.
Mr Heath said, “We need a strong advisory sector and we want to be proactive, and not wait until regulators come up with policy but actually issue policy ourselves and suggestions on how things might be done.”
In addition to Mr Heath, Lord Howard Flight will be president, and members so far include IFAs Derek Bradley, Steven Farrall, Paul Stanfield, Alan Lakey, Alan Steel, Mark Learmont, and Phil Moore.
Lord Flight called the need for a new adviser network “blindingly obvious”, asserting that Libertatem will look after the industry, ensuring higher standards are met, and IFAs will have a greater voice in Parliament. He also assured that the association will not necessarily clash with the Association of Professional Financial Advisers (Apfa), as it represents networks, while Libertatem’s focus is advisers.
The trade body has called for greater accountability of the regulator, as it stated that as many as 15.8m consumers no longer have access to advice due to adviser job losses as a result of greater regulation from the RDR. The figures come from Mr Heath’s own report.
The report estimates a further 20-40 per cent of advisers could be lost from the adviser industry following the removal of trail commission in 2016.
While the group recognises that proper regulation is vital and that the RDR has improved the quality of advice, the direction of further regulation could have a negative impact on advice business.
The group believes a majority Conservative government will provide the ideal environment to make regulation accountable, to reduce its costs and intrusion to businesses, and to ensure the maximum number of advisers are available to the broadest section of society.
Between increasing emphasis on individual financial responsibility, the introduction of the pension reforms, and the deepening protection and investment gap, Mr Heath asserted the role of the adviser is greater than ever before.