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Consumers are demanding a professional body

Former IIAA ceo Roly Metge says the breakdown in the IIAA/IAFP merger talks is terminal.

Friday, December 5th 1997, 12:00AM

by Philip Macalister

Former Insurance and Investment Association (IIAA) chief executive Roly Metge says the window of opportunity which existed for IIAA and the Association of Investment Advisers and Financial Planners (IAFP) to merge has closed.
Metge has been watching with interest events unfold on Good Returns.
"I have sympathy to both viewpoints, and I regret the breakdown of negotiations," he says.
Metge says there was a window of opportunity in the first quarter of this year for the associations to merge and create one strong, unified, coherent advisory body with twin streams of financial planning and risk management.

He says proposed model with its two colleges, would have satisfied the major concerns of both associations.
More importantly the model would have met the consumer demands which were the whole point of the merger.
He says the consumer angle is what the associations should be focussed on, not the individual idiosyncrasies of each association.
"Consumers are demanding a professional body they can turn to," he says.
"In my view the breakdown in talks are terminal and represent a total waste of a window of opportunity."
He says the breakdown will result in two weak bodies, which will not have any authority or credibility with product suppliers, and they will have very little consumer recognition.
"Who knows what a CFP is, despite a good advertising campaign? Who knows what a CLU/ChFC is?"
Metge says advisers, as distributors of financial products, have to understand their relationship with the manufacturers, namely the fund managers and the life offices.
Both need each other, he says. "You can't run a supermarket without the product coming into the shop."
He says advisers need to look at the short, medium and long term, not just the short term. Also they need to understand the market has changed, fee and remuneration structures are evolving and the market is demanding a more professional standard from advisers.
"The two bodies are not accepting the market has changed, and they have put their heads in the sand. They have lost the big picture," he says.
Metge says instead of wasting time fighting over the proposed merger, advisers should get on with their business of providing quality service to clients.
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