Apfa urged not to sideline advisers in WMA merger

Apfa tries to allay concerns advisers will play second fiddle to asset managers in merger

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Apfa has been urged not to sideline advisers’ interests as it lines up a merger with the Wealth Management Association.

This week, the two trade bodies announced they were proposing to merge to create a new body, the Investment Management and Financial Advice Association.

Members will vote on the merger at a meeting on 23 May. If approved, the new body would take effect on 1 June, led by WMA chief executive Liz Field as Apfa director general Chris Hannant stands down after a “transition period”.

Apfa council member and West Riding Personal Financial Solutions adviser Neil Liversidge told Money Marketing the deal would bring “more expertise around the table, more concentration of resources and better use of resources”.

“We are all basically on the same page anyway,” he said. “We are an adviser firm and also a wealth management firm, so if you flipped a coin people could be in Apfa or WMA.”

Parallels have been raised with the merger of the Institute of Financial Planning and Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment in 2015, however, which left many advisers concerned that their interests would be less represented.

Apfa member and Yellowtail Financial Planning chief executive Dennis Hall has already voted to approve the Apfa merger in his proxy ballot.

However, he still has reservations about the overlap between the two organisations.

“The memberships don’t feel like a strong, made in heaven marriage. If we thought there wasn’t  an 100 per cent fit between the IFP and CISI, they look great compared to this.”

“I wasn’t sure how long Apfa could go on. There seemed an inability to attract and retain members….I approved it because I didn’t see what else Apfa could do, and I’m not sure either who else they could join up with.

“The team may be working as hard and effectively as ever, but just how much could they get compared to guys at the Personal Finance Society who seem to get the ear of the FCA far more readily just because of their size?”

Another adviser, who asked not to be named, said: “As far as I can tell [Apfa] have been spectacularly ineffective for years. As for the WMA I’d barley heard of them. One can only hope that it doesn’t follow the previous model of and adviser body merging with a wealth managers body when the IFP merged with the CISI and disappeared.”