SIFA aims to reverse membership slump
SIFA is embarking on a recruitment drive after suffering a 50% decline in membership, but there are fears for the organisation’s future if the market for sole practitioners doesn’t improve.
Thursday, November 1st 2012, 7:14AM
by Niko Kloeten
SiFA (formerly the Society of Independent Financial Advisers) currently has 50 members, compared to about 100 in 2006 and 2007 before the industry was buffeted by tough market conditions and a new regulatory regime.
Chairman Robert Oddy said the organisation is aiming to get that number up to between 100 and 150 and it will be focusing its attention on Authorised Financial Advisers who aren’t currently part of any membership body.
The future of SIFA was a hot topic at its conference in Auckland this week, with a closed-door session for members reportedly generating a vigorous debate on the best way forward for the organisation.
Diversified director Norman Stacey, a long-time SIFA member, said a wide range of views was put forward and this was to be expected due to the “independent thinking” nature of the organisation’s members.
“Quite a few have had interesting careers before becoming financial advisers. Some were chartered accountants, some were lawyers and quite a few were engineers; Robert Oddy was a paramedic while I was a geologist. You get some quite divergent input.”
Oddy said one of the features of SiFA is that a large number of its advisers are also members of the Professional Advisers Association (PAA) or the Institute of Financial Advisers (IFA), or even all three.
“Obviously we would be silly to make ourselves out as being the only association around,” he said.
Oddy said SiFA’s decline in numbers was largely due to the exodus from the industry of older advisers who had chosen to retire when regulation came in.
Founding SiFA member Murray Weatherston said the future of the organisation would depend on the health of owner-operator financial advisory practices.
“If they survive SiFA will have a good future. If regulations crowd out smaller practices because of the costs of regulation then SIFA will either have to reinvent itself or it will disappear.
“If my darkest fears come to fruition, in five years it won’t exist.”
Niko Kloeten can be contacted at email@example.com
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