Standard Life  

Letter to the Editor: Road to independence offers hard choices

Simon Goldthorpe

For those advisers committed to independence, life seems to be getting much tougher.

The recent Almary Green aborted deal with Standard Life has resulted in a lose-lose situation in that no deal has been done (with presumably substantial costs being expended) but Almary Green has lost a significant number of advisers as they were threatened with a restricted offering.

It is a conundrum for the acquirers/consolidators as much as it is for the advisers. Clearly the likes of Standard Life will only find it economic to take on good sized firms with big funds under management, rather than smaller outfits.

But those bigger firms are still largely run through strong relationships with senior advisers running HNW portfolios of clients. Those are the very advisers who value the independence label. Given that they will have prided themselves for many years on being differentiated in that way, how can they then make a quick transition to a restricted model? Clearly many cannot or do not want to.

So they are left with a stark choice, accept being restricted or go off and find another independent firm. They could of course strike out on their own but the setting up costs and lack of early cash flow are daunting. No wonder so many go to SJP with the lure of financial support and an easy transition.

As an industry we should be able to offer the SJP model but in the independent sector. That means leadership, financial support, marketing and back office facilities and all the other things that a fledgling business requires. That is what truly independent financial advisers need to offer the best possible advice and outcome to their clients.

Our own model at Beaufort is based on providing the support and structure to financial advisers to achieve this. All they need is the determination to get a good job done and continue waving the independent flag.

Simon Goldthorpe

Executive chairman

The Beaufort Group