New IFA trade body aims to fight for regulatory accountability

Added 18th May 2015

A new trade association representing UK financial advisers has been launched to give the industry a louder voice in discussions with government and regulators.

New IFA trade body aims to fight for regulatory accountability

Garry Heath, former director general of the IFA Association, will lead the new body, to be called Libertatem, which will target both independent and restricted advisers in the UK, specifically those directly authorised by the FCA.

Heath believes the industry needs to play a bigger role in the formation of new regulations, especially as they affect fees and commissions, to ensure it thrives.

“Markets should make decisions about how people are paid, not regulators,” Heath said after the launch.

At the launch of the new body on 15 May, Heath said: “At a time when individual responsibility for our own financial well-being has grown, pension freedoms have been introduced, and the protection and investment gap is increasing, the role of advice, and of the adviser, is more important than ever.”

While welcoming regulatory reforms like the Retail Distribution Review (RDR), which led to a movement way from a commission-based remuneration to a fee-based system, Heath said the impact of the changes had been a drop in the number of advisers and therefore a loss in the access to advice for many consumers.

Heath’s own research has found that as many as 15.8 million consumers may have lost access to advice as a result of RDR. He has estimated that the removal of trail commissions in 2016 could create a further loss of advisers in the industry of between 20% - 40%. 

“Now we have a majority Conservative Government; we have a golden opportunity to return accountability to regulation, to cut its costs and its intrusiveness and to ensure that the maximum number of advisers are available to the broadest section of society, Heath said the launch of the new body.

“The Government expended much of its election rhetoric on deregulation. It is now time for rhetoric to become action and we believe a stronger, clearer and broader representation of advisers is needed.”

Members of Libertatem’s formation committee have led or been part of trade associations, as well as practiced in the industry. The Committee’s president is the UK peer Lord Flight who is also a director of Metro Bank and a director at Investec Asset Management.

In a statement the new association said it aims to:

  • be a clearer voice for adviser firms within the regulatory and political framework in the UK and address the challenges they face.
  • ensure the survival of a strong advisory sector which provides access to impartial advice to the broadest section of society.
  • create an effective trade association fit for the 21st century, based on the principles of excellent advice to clients who wish to improve their personal and family independence.
  • create a democratic structure that will seek to represent the widest numbers and types of advisers in a proactive and positive way.
  • encourage the provision of financial advice to the maximum number of our fellow citizens. Promote the creation of a cost effective, joined up and client facing regulatory system directly responsible either to the Parliament that created it or those who pay for it.

Members of Libertatem’s formation committee have led or been part of trade associations, as well as practiced in the industry. The Committee’s president is the UK peer Lord Flight who is also a director of Metro Bank and a director at Investec Asset Management.

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Geoff Candy

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Geoff Candy joined Portfolio Adviser as News Editor in May 2014. He has been a financial journalist and broadcaster since 2005 and, in that time has worked in both South Africa and the Netherlands, covering everything from high street retailers and construction companies to mining and insurance.

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