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Why accountants and advisers must lunch together

Why accountants and advisers must lunch together

Firms that can get to grips with multi-disciplinary collaboration will gain a real competitive advantage, according to the Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales.

Speaking this morning at an event organised by Prudential, the ICAEW’s financial planning and advice manager John Gaskell said pension freedoms have been a “game changer” in this respect.

He admitted there are certain truths to the stereotypes of financial advisers and chartered accountants - “IFAs are from Venus and accountants are from Mars” - which are not always easy to break down.

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However, Mr Gaskell stressed that both have very similar needs and must fulfil similar client objectives.

His colleague Alan Hind, ICAEW’s senior manager for professional standards, explained that for accountants to really take advantage of adviser referrals, they must have a Designated Professional Body license.

The DPD was brought in under FSMA 2000 - which restricted accountants from giving advice - and allows them to provide s limited service, as long as it is incidental and complementary.

Crucially, according to Mr Hinds, it does allow accountants to refer clients to IFAs (and restricted advisers, so long as it does not impact advice) and comment, explain and evaluate the advice given.

He noted that accountants are not allowed to recommend any course of action, but can deem it unsuitable.

Only around 400 ICAEW firms actually hold these permissions though, something which this series of seminars is aiming to remedy.

“It’s really a no brainier. People want a one-stop-shop, so accountants should be trying to provide a better service to long-term clients.”

Paul Harrison, who heads up Prudential’s business consultancy division, said: “It’s not about eating each other’s lunch, but about eating lunch together.”

Prudential has previously backed Sifa-run events promoting adviser relationships with solicitors, another area which has become more overlapping since changes to inheritance tax and death benefits in April.

peter.walker@ft.com