There will be no change in culture, identity or values once the IFP merges with the Cisi, Alan Dick, the new president of the IFP, has claimed.
Speaking at Celtic Manor in Newport – which played host to the last IFP conference before its merger with the London-based Cisi – Mr Dick told candidates: “Whether we are a small organisation of 2,000 members or whether we are within a much larger organisation, we are still the same IFP; we are still the same people with the same culture, with the same values and the same beliefs.
“Is our culture under threat? I do not see that. I see the complete opposite, I see an opportunity for us to take all the good things about our culture and spread them to a whole new audience.”
He told the conference room: “I have a dream that the IFP will no longer be the best-kept secret in town, a little organisation which proudly punches above its weight, because along with our new partners at the Cisi we will move up to the heavyweight division and will be a knockout team.”
Also speaking at the conference, Steve Groves, chief executive for life and pension provider Partnership, suggested the City watchdog will give the green light to robo-advice services following its joint review with the Treasury into the financial advice market.
Mr Groves said the somewhat controversial algorithm-based advice system was a key insight into the future of the pension freedoms-influenced retirement landscape.
He said: “I think the FCA review is going to lead to what I call robo-guidance. I know people call it robo-advice, but I do not consider it is advice but rather a form of guidance.”
He told delegates that a mis-selling scandal as a result of the reforms “was inevitable”, with victims likely to be individuals who did not seek professional financial advice.
With regard to products, Mr Groves said that hybrid offerings combining annuity and drawdown elements were likely to become commonplace, while standard annuities will disappear over time and variable and deferred annuities will become niche products.
However, he warned the FCA not to stifle product innovation with overly stringent regulation.
The IFP was formed in 1986, and serves a membership of circa 2,000 members, including 1,000 CFP professionals.
On 30 September, the IFP board voted to formally approve the merger with Cisi, with a completion date of 1 November.
Under the merger, the IFP’s chief operating officer and interim chief executive Steve Gazzard stepped down, while its chief executive Nick Cann – who has been on long-term sick leave from his role since suffering a stroke in March 2013 – has left “by mutual arrangement”, a statement confirmed.
Mr Cann had been at the IFP since 1999.