Networks
Does Rosengren hold the key to the Lighthouse?
Friday, July 13th, 2012

The Money Debate doesn’t really have much of a view on whether Lighthouse should delist or not. That is for its owners and its shareholders. However it is interesting that sharetipper, investor, journalist and all, Tom Winnifrith is against.  On his blogsite, Winnifrith says Allan Rosengren with his 14 per cent shareholding could be key to scuppering the delisting and suggests that he is not a fan . Winnifrith wants Allan Rosengren back as chairman too. Could be a twist in the tale yet.

I include this story in the world’s best UK IFA weekly trade news round up on Adviser Home. And on  Funds Network I back The Question of Trust campaign and argue that it could be more important than you think.

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Did this liability fell Honister?
Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

From the Honister accounts published to the end of September 2010 , there is a provision for liabilities amounting to £3,591,513 relating to expected  consumer redress from Burns Anderson, Sage and Honister Partners. Advisers will know all too well that PI insurers get worried about all sorts of things such as how hard the market is in general and the profile of any business. But surely it is almost always outstanding claims and liabilities or past payouts by PI insurers that worry them the most. Could this be the nasty little sleeper of a liability that broke the business and left so many advisers high and dry?  Unfortunately the accounts don’t say much more. What would be very good to know is when this liability dates to, how many cases it relates to – a handful or several dozen – at least for the satisfaction of those who want to know the proper source and just how historical the problems are. Perhaps we’ll never know. But in a market where networks and support services operate on thin margins, such sums can be a threat to their existence.   Anyway if anyone can shed light on this please use my gmail on johnlappin9@gmail.com. Thanks.

And here is my column from Investment Adviser published here on FTAdviser.com. The headline – which I don’t write – caused me a little pause when I saw it, but maybe that is what I am arguing. Regulators are terrified about bank models.  In contrast advisers need to set out why their post RDR model is actually likely to be more robust (and indeed part designed by regulators) than say that of the High Street banks. But the FSA needs to allow this adviser model it to breathe and give it a chance financially. Unfortunately since time of writing, I am less optimistic given the FSA’s hardline stance on the takeover of Honister by another network. Such a deal strikes me as the best way out of the impasse especially if the network wasn’t risking itself but only offering temporary shelter. Why on earth would a regulator strike that down?

Difficult times indeed.

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Ken’s independent standard
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

I was at a lunch hosted by Simply Biz’s Ken Davy last Thursday where he placed the flag, nay, the standard in the ground for unbiased, unrestricted, independent financial advice.

I realise obviously the Money Debate is being er, fifth with the news, if it’s lucky, but we will try to offer intelligent analysis while suggesting that our staff (of one, me) have been quite busy. But there is more to this than simply Ken taking up the cudgels and bopping the nearest network boss over the head.

He says the difficulties of being independent are being overplayed in what he clearly feels is a network push to tie up advisers. Restricted is just the new name for tied or multi-tied he thinks. That is bad for consumers and these tied operations won’t be acting on their behalf.  

The crucial part, however, is that Simply Biz says its offering will combine meeting the RDR definition of independence with providing the tools to make sure advice is suitable, something the FSA is very concerned about.

He suggests that those who say restricted advice can be more compliant and suitable are siren voices.

Now I don’t necessarily believe that this applies to the big concerns that are more asset gathering machines with advisers attached, who may restrict themselves and their clients. If you’re offering one big oeic albeit with sub funds, then there may not be much else you can do for regulatory purposes.

But there are two groups who maybe should look at what Ken is saying.

First are network members. If you are offered something ‘you cannot refuse’ by your network to join its new tie up you would be perfectly within your rights to ask ‘If Simply Biz can support independence why can’t you?’ If the answer is ‘we don’t think Simply Biz can do this”, ask them to say how it can’t in detail.

The second group may be some new model operations. They may deploy arguments to say ‘well, we are chartered so the independent label does not mean so much.’ But that doesn’t mean they should necessarily go restricted if they don’t need to. Some of the criticisms of DFMs and DIFs could also give pause for thought too about how all this fits together before 2012/13. Obviously these operations aren’t trying to lure themselves into multi-tying but maybe being independent is more valuable than they thought.

I have got a little bit sense that some people are saying to themselves ‘Well Ken would say that wouldn’t he?’ I suggest you pay a little bit more attention to what he’s doing and what he’s offering before making up your mind.

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