FIBA: more than just a new name?18/01/2018
Yesterday's half-day event was a chance for the new Financial Intermediary and Broker Association ("FIBA") to explain how it differs from the association which it effectively replaces, the Association of Bridging Professionals ("AOBP"). Chairman Adam Tyler and primary supporter David Golder (of The SimplyBiz Group) were also tasked with explaining the difference between FIBA and AOBP, to which the honest answer is, not too much at the moment. One might say that FIBA is AOBP with a ramped-up focus on compliance, in all its forms; MiFID2, GDPR and SMCR all being sets of initials our readers will be, or will become, familiar with in 2018.
David Golder said, 'Compliance is just an interruption," and emphasised how membership of FIBA would largely elimate that interruption to a broker's day job.
The audience members Leasing World spoke to came from a variety of backgrounds. Not all were AOBP members and some were only tangentially connected with the bridging market. FIBA's inclusive message does not mean that it is already in a good position to welcome asset finance brokers, for example, into its membership because its partners and lenders still have a strong short term finance "flavour". But reading between the lines, diversification is liable to happen organically; FIBA will be hoping that its compliance package is a competitive and attractive one, and that its simple fee structure wins fans.
It's that fee structure that represents the other big difference from the AOBP. Adam Tyler was keen to stress the way in which members join as individuals, not as firms, so a broker could have dual membership of two associations if he/she chose. Also, the fees are capped, so large broker firms in particular will see that cost-per-member looks very affordable.
FIBA will be hoping that they have set out a strong case to explain why ex-AOBP members used to paying nothing should now find £20 per month for a fuller package of benefits.
The messages coming out of this new Association are in fact very similar to those of the 25-year-old National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers ("NACFB"). Both make their case for being whiter-than-white and strong on compllance, with 2018 fee increases to cover those benefits. But the differences are in the details, and as with any newly formed organisation, it would be a surprise if FIBA were not able to report some strong growth figures during the coming year. From Leasing World's perspective, it is FIBA's future diversification which interests us, now that "bridging' or "short term" are no longer in the Association's title.