Advisers don’t understand the true cost of independence and this could ultimately lead to the end of independent advice according to Pinnacle practice director Anne Fuchs.
Fuchs has become alarmed at the rapidly shrinking independent advice market, and questioned if the “end is nigh” for that sector of advice. “The number of truly non-aligned dealer groups, that are well-established and have a good track record, is now so small I can count them on two hands and have fingers left over,” she said.
Fuchs said many non-aligned dealer groups have institutional ties via wraps and platforms, and institutions are increasingly taking strategic shareholdings in boutique groups that are running IFA models, in order to attract more advisers into their dealer groups.
The biggest problem is in the costs associated with running a dealer group. These costs are heavily subsidised for institutionally-owned dealer groups, and Fuchs says many advisers don’t fully comprehend this until they look at leaving the group. “They then have some very commercially difficult decisions to make. It is not uncommon to see advisers decide that the cost to be non-aligned isn’t worth it.”
No More Practice founder Vanessa Stoykov doesn’t agree that FoFA, and increased costs associated, are solely to blame for the decrease in non-aligned firms. She said much of it was down to an ageing population, and advisers reaching an appropriate age to retire.
“I think that there’s still good, strong, independent groups out there and I think anyone that for anyone that matters to, there’s groups and licensee groups you can join that are independent. I think some people may well feel overwhelmed by legislative requirements and a flight to safety is possible.
“I don’t think it’s the death of the independent sector that’s for sure. I think there’s more demand than supply. If you talk to most of the brokers around, they’ll say that.”
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