The association is an irrelevance

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In response to Jeff Prestridge’s column (FA, 3 December) about Apfa (formerly known as Aifa), I have the following comments.

The main reason the ‘i’ in Aifa was dropped was because the main paymasters – the networks – knew full well that, for perfectly understandable reasons, they would ditch independence and become restricted.

A collegiate approach was mooted and that independents were to be housed somewhat separately. In the event, the networks and the large providers did not like this as they considered (rightly) that they would be regarded as second-class citizens.

The secondary reason is that Aifa (and now its successor) stumbled from one financial crisis to the next and relied on corporate subscriptions rather than individual members. This entailed the smaller firms (such as mine) paying subscriptions several orders of magnitude larger than an individual network member. The organisation was worried that significant numbers would go restricted (which they did) and therefore if the organisation remained independent they would lose too many subscribers.

As far as true IFAs are concerned, I think it is fair to say that it is now an irrelevance.

The takeover of IFP by Cisi was, in my view as a member, exactly the right thing. And I very much welcomed it. I find it a little ironic (if not a bit satisfying) that in spite of no longer practising as a regulated adviser I now have cinemascope designations – CFP chartered MCSI.

It has always been a source of wonder and irritation why our world is the only one that requires a trade body and a professional body. Do doctors, accountants, lawyers and architects? So why do we?

Harry Katz


HA7 Consulting,