Levy breaks consensus on GRiD relaunch

Advisers are demanding a rethink on the way fees for Group Risk Development (GRiD) are being levied after the organisation raised costs by a factor of 13.

Simon Derby, director of i2 Healthcare, a longtime member of GRiD, has resigned his membership in protest at the fee hike, arguing it flies in the face of the organisation’s commitment to growith the membership,

Derby said: “I don’t have a problem with the £2,000 cost but I do have a problem with the 1,300 per cent increase. There is no way we are going to get IFAs whose core business is not group risk to join the organisation if they have to fork out £2,000 a year.”

Derby was one of several delegates calling for a rethink of GRiD fees at the third Group Risk Adviser Forum in London last month. Advisers agreed that the organisation’s budget needed to be increased to allow it to raise the industry’s profile. They also acknowledged the progress that had been made since Katharine Moxham had been appointed GRiD’s first ever full time salaried spokesperson.

But there was near unanimity in the condemnation of a fee structure that charges the same £2,000 a year fee to a one-man band generalist IFA as a multi-national insurance company. Last year’s fee was £150 per member.

Even organisations with considerable group risk advisory businesses balked at the fee hike. Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Origen said: “We must see a return on investment to justify £2,000 and it will need to be a very considerable return. In the nicest possible way, I would struggle to justify this to my board at the moment.”

Guy Roberts, business development director at Portus Consulting said: “The sensible decision would be to link it to the size of the organisation as opposed to just making it a cost for the providers.”

Moxham said the decision to fix the fee at £2,000 had been made at the GRiD steering committee meeting in January, and had been ratified at the AGM. She confirmed that she would go back to the steering committee with advisers’ views as to how the fee structure could be reorganised.

– For six pages of coverage of the Group Risk Adviser Forum, see the August issue of Corporate Adviser, out next week