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Quilter network gains DA interest amid crisis

Quilter network gains DA interest amid crisis

The Quilter network has witnessed an increased interest from directly authorised advisers as business owners assessed their financials during the Covid-19 disruption. 

Gemma Harle, managing director of Quilter Financial Planning, told FTAdviser the advice giant had seen many more directly authorised advisers committing to its network and not just "window shopping". 

The increase occurred during the recent months of lockdown when the network boss said many firms would have been reassessing their business and financial standing.  

Ms Harle said: "What we have seen is the interest from the directly authorised space, in particular it's probably a catalyst for firms both financially and from all the added value that good networks can bring.

"In particular part of the driver will be financial because obviously professional indemnity insurance and regulatory costs have hit firms heavily and particularly directly authorised firms.

"[Lockdown] has also given them the time to potentially reconsider if their business needs to be repositioned, and all firms should be taking a look from time-to-time at whether they should be directly authorised or with a network. Or if they are with a network, if they are with the right one." 

In April, Quilter confirmed it would be offering member firms a three-month deferral on its network fees in light of the coronavirus pandemic and national lockdown. 

At the time, the spokesperson said the business would not seek to recover the fees until "some sense of normality" had returned to the industry.

Ms Harle said this support had been offered to all member firms and a lot of the network's smaller firms with less turnover had benefited from the move.

But she said "generally we are seeing firms are financially quite resilient at the moment" despite the challenges presented by lockdown. 

Ms Harle added: "Despite advisers worrying they would not be able to get any new customers, there has been more success than I thought - so there is new business coming in."

Quilter tracks the financial performance of its network members and Ms Harle said the number of furloughed advisers had been "very low" during lockdown, although higher numbers were seen on the administrative side.   

Recent data published by FundsNetwork found 36 per cent of advice firms had furloughed employees during the crisis and 10 per cent had issued a hiring freeze in a bid to trim spending.

The most common role to be furloughed was support staff, with 89 per cent of firms using the government scheme to furlough employees in these roles.

rachel.mortimer@ft.com 

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