Financial advisers are in the right place to encourage more diversity into financial services and serve the needs of more Britons, the outgoing chief executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute has said.
Talking to FTAdviser In Focus, Sian Fisher said: "This whole issue of empowering individuals to have the best possible chance of managing their finances is more important than it has ever been.
"We have to have the right mechanisms in place" to encourage people into financial advice.
She added: "In our profession, we should be at the forefront of the levelling-up and socioeconomic initiatives because that is where the very wide talent pool is. You need to make your profession accessible to this very wide talent pool."
The video interview was filmed a few days before the CII announced a wide-ranging consultation among members, which was met with consternation by the board of the Personal Finance Society.
As reported in FTAdviser on October 15, the CII published its Shaping the Future Together consultation, but the PFS claimed its board had not been consulted.
PFS president Sarah Lord, who was consulted individually by the CII, said she “regrets that the CII did not engage with the PFS board collectively on the drafting of the consultation document and the CII did not bring the document to the PFS board for input”.
Moreover, when Fisher's departure was announced at the beginning of October, chartered financial planners told FTAdviser they were concerned this marked the start of yet another proposal to deregister the PFS.
In June 2021, the PFS board voted down a third proposal to deregister it after it caused uproar among members. The proposal had first been made to deregister the PFS as a legal entity in 2016, and then again in 2019, but the PFS board rejected this both times.
Both times the proposals were rejected by the PFS board, but Fisher told FTAdviser in June that back in 2019 it was agreed that it would be considered again following the formation and establishment of the structure of the CII’s Insurance Societies.
Fisher told FTAdviser In Focus: "Anything I can do before I finish on our own consultation with our own members about what they would like to see the future look like, [I will]," she said.
She added: "It's the same issue that our new president Peter Blanc and Sarah Lord, president of the PFS, are both concerned about: the future of advice.
"What more, collectively across financial services, can we do about that?"
Fisher, who said she had agreed to a five-year tenure in 2016 but stayed an extra year because of the Covid-19 pandemic, expressed her desire to hand the baton onto someone who "feels the same passion" as her.
"Every iteration has a skill set that comes along with it. I hope I used mine to the best advantage. It is sad to leave but it has been an incredible and fulfilling experience."