From Karen BarrettI read with some concern the letter from Michael Norwood (Mortgage Strategy December 5) in which he criticises IFAP’s definition of an IFA, claiming companies like his are being left out in the cold by not fitting our membership criteria. I’m pleased he recognises IFAP’s successful and cost-effective efforts to promote the benefits of independent financial advice to consumers and would therefore like to benefit from our marketing activities. But IFAP and its sponsors decided ahead of depolarisation that it would promote IFAs and IFAs alone. We and our sponsors agreed that IFAP should extend its campaign specifically to promote IFA member firms that offer independent mortgage advice as part of their services. When we launched www.impartial.co.uk in June this year to promote mortgage IFAs, we carried out consumer research which showed 78% of mortgage sales have at least one associated investment or protection sale. In other words, somebody may well go to an adviser looking only for a mortgage but they will probably find they have other product requirements. We believe that, for all of these products, consumers should receive access to whole of market advice plus the option of deciding how to pay for it – which an IFA firm can offer. We require members to confirm they have an investment qualified whole of market adviser offering a fee payment option at their branch, and hence are an IFA firm.But we also require members to declare whether they have a whole of market mortgage, protection or insurance adviser at the branch, again offering a fee payment option. This pro-consumer stance works in favour of our IFA members by improving their consumer profile and boosting the quality and quantity of leads we generate for them.