The interim chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning has stepped down from his role with immediate effect, as the merger with the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment has been approved.
The IFP board has formally approved the merger with Cisi, with a completion date of 1 November 2015 set.
Last month the IFP announced it was consulting with its members regarding a proposal for a Cisi merger. Since then, Mr Gazzard has been forced to defend the merger against claims made by an anti-merger campaign.
In the space of one week, the ‘Save Our IFP’ campaign was launched and then dropped, with the campaign stating that the IFP was not in a good financial state, which Mr Gazzard denied.
Alongside Mr Gazzard’s exit, the IFP said that its chief executive Nick Cann, who has been on long-term sick leave from this role, has also left the business by mutual agreement.
Rebecca Taylor, IFP president, said: “Steve has done an outstanding job for the IFP over the past seven and a half years whilst Nick has made a massive contribution to the success of the IFP since he joined the IFP in 1999.
“Both have played such an important part in driving forward the financial planning profession.”
Over the next few weeks, Cisi will be “working closely” with the board and the IFP and the Financial Planning Standards Board UK teams in Bristol to transition.
During this period, the IFP said business will continue as normal, and the IFP annual conference will still be taking place from 5-7 October.
Ms Taylor said: “We’re excited that this merger is now going ahead. It represents a very positive step forward for IFP, Cisi and the UK financial planning profession and provides significant opportunities for growth going forward.
“The IFP can be very proud of its achievements to date. We have brought financial planning from an unknown niche discipline, to the brink of a widely recognised and respected profession. It is now time to take financial planning to a new level, to make it accessible to more people, and to integrate financial planning principles into mainstream advisory businesses.
“With the combined strength of both the IFP and Cisi we can achieve more than could ever be realised alone.”
Meanwhile, the IFP also announced that Richard Lee, a senior project manager has been appointed to oversee the ongoing interaction between IFP and Cisi.
Cisi and IFP will now start the integration process to be ready for implementation on 1 November.