The Feifa Expat Online Forum, as it has been provisionally named, is expected to go live in September, according to Paul Stanfield, a founding director of FEIFA and its chief executive.
He said the website was envisioned as providing a target audience of more than 800,000 British expatriates currently living throughout Europe “with information, expertise, guidance, and an opportunity for discussion”.
“This should assist consumer understanding of financial matters, and assist our IFA members to constructively communicate with potential clients in an open and transparent manner that is beneficial to all parties,” he added.
Members of the public will be free to post comments on the website, but Stanfield said it is hoped that they will be mainly of the “question-and-answer” type, rather than of the strongly-opinionated and negative sort that lately have become a common feature of many expat web forums.
“Obviously, if we feel anyone is mis-using this facility, whether it be an IFA, a provider or an expat consumer, then we will remedy that,” he added.
FEIFA is developing the website in partnership with an undisclosed company that specialises in developing and running consumer facing financial services websites, and has acquired a database of the names of some 800,000 British expats known to live in Europe, Stanfield said.
Advertising will be accepted for the website, but only from the 47 so-called corporate “partners” of FEIFA, which range from platform provider Acordias to investment fund specialist VAM Funds, and which are listed on FEIFA’s website.
FEIFA, which celebrates its third birthday this month, is a non-profit trade association for some 30 English-speaking member IFA organisations based or operating in more than 25 countries on the European mainland.
Separately, FEIFA announced that Chris Marriott, founder and director of Geneva-based Blackden Financial, will succeed Michael Lodhi as chairman of its executive committee, assuming he is re-elected to it, at its annual general meeting on 20 Sept. Blackden was one of the founding members of FEIFA.
Lodhi is standing down from the role he has held ever since he and Paul Stanfield co-founded FEIFA in 2009, though he has agreed to serve as vice-chairman if requested.
Marriott has been FEIFA’s vice chairman since the beginning as well.
Lodhi, whose day job is chairman of the Spectrum IFA Group, which he also helped to found, said being involved with FEIFA, particularly in the role of chairman, had been “fantastic”, but that the time had come “for someone else to provide a new surge of energy in that position”, particularly given its ambitious plans for a new website.
About that website, he added: “We have been working on this for some time, and it is [a] potentially [incredible benefit] for our members, partner companies and also consumers.
“It is also entirely appropriate that it is now driven forward by a new chairman.”