The Institute of Financial Planning’s chief executive has responded to claims made by an anti-merger campaign that it was not in a good financial state, claiming the industry body is in its strongest ever financial state.
In the space of a week two advisers launched and ceased a campaign to ‘Save Our IFP’ in response to the proposed merger between the IFP and the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investments.
Steve Martin, chief executive of Smart Financial, and Damien Rylett, managing director of Brunel Capital Partners, said the movement gained some support among IFP members, but today (27 August) it was officially dropped.
Mr Rylett argued: “What has become apparent to the SaveTheIFP campaign in the last couple of days is that the organisation is not in the rude health that had been suggested and although on paper the financial position is improving, the day to day reality is there is no money.
“There is no money to promote financial planning, no money to reform the much maligned CFP training and examination process, to upgrade the online CPD, to promote the jewel in the crown, the Accredited Financial Planning Firm status, or to recruit the key staff required to achieve the institute’s objective of growing the financial planning profession in the UK.”
“Although tempting to think that a new board, with fresh eyes, could restart the organisation and deliver its goals as a standalone organisation that would only be possible with engaged staff and capital,” he continued, adding that with no capital available, it would be an impossible job.
Mr Martin added that “with heavy heart” the campaign accepts that the merger is the best solution available to the IFP.
He told FTAdviser that while there has been no suggestion of mis-information, there is certainly been some “spin” around the financial health of the organisaion.
“We were told that there is £375,000 in their bank account, but that none of this is money that can be used for the benefit of the IFP, so I think if anything, this campaign has helped to get information like this out.”
He added that they will remain ‘sceptical observers’ of the new body and are ready to speak out again if it does not deliver on promises.
Speaking to FTAdviser, the IFP’s chief executive Steve Gazzard, responded that they are not in trouble financially and are in fact in the strongest ever position, but at the same time admitted the merger was being sought to ensure they could re-invest more into building the profession.
“We wanted to get everyone up to speed, so by having a rational conversation with members I think there has been a dose of reality on the state of the organisation.
“We released all our accounts, which demonstrate that we’ve been trying to re-invest as much as possible while building reserves, but we’ve not been able to do as much as we’d have liked and the merger will help address that.”