Independent adviser trade body IFA Centre has criticised Sifa for opening its doors to ‘restricted whole of market’ advisers, claiming the move ‘means nothing in regulatory terms’.
Sifa has announced the move in response to the Financial Services Authority’s change to its criteria for independence, moving from a definition based on a lack of ties to a third party to one focused on the scope of services offered. It said that basing membership on the new definition would have excluded some firms which are independent ‘in the dictionary sense of the word’.
IFA Centre managing director Gill Cardy (pictured) said: ‘Restricted whole of market means nothing in regulatory terms. It is restricted advice. And independent means independent. IFA Centre is not agnostic. I am not and my members are not.
‘As of Monday 31 December 2012 there are two words that matter and that differentiate the advice that clients receive: independent and restricted. It is a binary choice - not 50 shades of grey.’
Cardy added that Sifa’s move, following the Association of Professional Financial Advisers to accept restricted members last year, meant that the IFA Centre was ‘now, without any shadow of doubt, the only trade association representing and supporting only independent financial advice firms and independent financial advisers’.