AIFA policy director Chris Hannant has criticised 'free rider' advisers who back the trade body's efforts and benefit from its work, but don't want to pay for membership.
Hannant, who has been with the organisation since January, said a number of IFAs choose not to become members because they reap the rewards of its successes regardless of whether they have joined the organisation.
"It is true, on a straight factual basis, that if there is a rule change it will apply to all [advisers, not just AIFA members]," Hannant said.
"It's the old free rider problem. AIFA is stronger the more members it has, and the more effective and the more of a voice it has. If we have too many free riders there won't be much benefit."
"It's a cynical view that [advisers] see value but they'd rather have it for free."
Independent advisers' reluctance to join AIFA meant its move to permit restricted practitioners as members was inevitable, Hannant said. The trade body made the announcement in July last year.
AIFA will also have to rebrand after RDR, with the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) being the most probable option.
"It's a slightly artificial and silly distinction," he continued.
"I've come to this with fresh eyes and no axe to grind, but to my mind independent means I'm not beholden to a provider, whereas the [FSA's] definition is you review the whole market.
"It's a confusing label, especially when they allegedly chose it after doing work with consumers. We are where we are and we're stuck with it, but it isn't helpful.
"A lot of members will be doing exactly what they are doing now and offering the same service, but will have to be restricted. It seems strange you have to put effort into learning about products the FSA does not even want you to sell."
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