Report lays out trade body merger options

A new proposal to merge some of financial services most influential trade bodies includes the Wealth Management Association, the Investment Association and the Tax Incentivised Savings Association.

A major report laid out four options for reform of numerous trade bodies, to allow for better collaboration and a more effective lobbying voice for the financial services industry. The options range from no change to full consolidation of 12 trade bodies.

Former Ofcom boss Ed Richards, who is leading the review, has made no formal recommendation at this stage. However, he says the two halfway-house options are “most likely to offer the right balance between securing enhanced effectiveness while minimising the risks associated with increased scale and scope”.

These options would both bring together the British Banking Association, the Council of Mortgage Lenders, the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association, the UK Cards Association, Payments UK and UK Payments Administration as a single, integrated trade association.

The two favoured options are distinguished by whether or not the Asset Based Finance Association and the Finance and Leasing Association would also be included.

Both halfway-house plans would leave the WMA, the IA and the Tisa as distinct individual trade bodies.

However, the wealth and asset management groups would still be expected to offer improved collaboration to members.

Richards is seeking responses to the proposals by the end of September, ahead of conducting further cost-benefit analysis before ultimately providing final recommendations.

The paper follows up on a January document that had previously proposed either full integration or better alignment of trade associations operating in similar areas.