More IFAs reach certified status…

Positive development to begin with-according to Money Marketing, the Institute of Financial Planning has announced that 900 Advisers have actually achieved the Certified Financial Planning License, with these numbers looking to increase to 1,000 in quarter 1 of 2009, currently 20% up on 2007.

I think this shows that there are many Financial Planners in the UK that actually want to develop themselves to be able to give high quality advice, and are responding well to the “sea change” in Financial Services. We forget that for every Financial Adviser who resists advancing themselves technically through whatever route, Certified, Chartered, AFPC etc…., there are numerous individuals who want to self-development swiftly through these outlets!

Over to Life Office World……Standard Life have announced that it is to cut 37 jobs in their marketing team in order to “refocus” their marketing strategy going forward, through redundancies by Spring of 2009.

This trend, in my opinion, is continuing, until F/S Life Offices see business volumes recover, as the downturn bottoms out and comes back up the other way. I think Financial Services was affected early by the downturn so logically will recover earlier: 2010, quarter 1, will see fantastic volumes of Life, Pension and Investment products (you’ve heard it here first)!

Onto the Networks, Sesame is poised to acquire Premier Network Group’s final remaining 37 appointed representatives. This move was confirmed by Director Paul Fisher of PNG, after a meeting in Derby, last week.

All sectors of Financial Services, are either streamlining, announcing redundancies, being “swallowed up” by bigger firms, banks or networks, for security in these dark times! I wonder how many absolute Networks will be left after 2009.

Also, on Networks, Prestbury has been hit with a winding up order, last week, as it’s been unable to pay creditors, mainly due to the fact that its members have been unable to pay
themselves. This problem has been intensified, since it agreed to transfer some of its members/ARs across to Personal Touch Financial Services, as some went to other Networks, or some didn’t meet Personal Touch’s criteria!

There are certainly, ripple effects, at work within the IFA/FS market at the moment, Prestbury are owed £360,000 by their members and hence have a cash flow problem to pay their creditors, and hence “wind up” orders are proposed! With Business Volumes falling for ARs and Network Members, coupled with P.I costs, and enhanced time needed to meet RDR and Capital Adequacy, they them struggle to actually pay their levy to their Network or holding company!