Simoney Kyriakou  

As 'divorce day' looms, will the CII and PFS split?

Simoney Kyriakou

Simoney Kyriakou

Next Monday, January 9, marks what law firms gleefully describe as 'divorce day'.

This is the Monday marking the first full week back after the Christmas break, on which solicitors across many developed nations have cited a surge in applications for divorce.

There's only so many gifts of Lynx a man can take before he breaks. 

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Lawyers have been sharing their wisdom in anticipation of the usual seasonal 'flurry' - or seasonal marketing ploy, if you're cynically inclined.

But while trawling 'divorce day' on Twitter, I fell into a rabbit hole and discovered that, at the age of 84, Mae West starred in a raunchy, straight-to-video musical called Sextette.

What's that got to do with divorce or the CII? Hear me out.

In this dreadful waste of acetate, the frail femme fatale played a later 20-something, man-hungry starlet who was on her sixth husband, but the couple were unable to consummate their relationship due to a catalogue of unfortunate events. 

The biggest obstacle is the fact her wedding comes on the brink of World War III, with Russian aggression played up significantly.

Divorce and war are both on the cards, albeit with plenty of dancing, sequins, and utterly forgettable songs. Well, it was the 1970s.

Not to draw too much of a tortuous analogy between an old film star yearning for love and the limelight, and a chartered body seeking to keep hold of a profitable society (against a backdrop of Russian aggression) but I'll give it a go. 

Torturous analogy

The Chartered Insurance Institute, which received its royal charter in 1912, is far older than Mae West was when she attempted to play the lead character, Marlo.

But it has been through just as many relationships, ever since the first insurance institute was founded in Manchester in 1873.

According to the CII's history microsite, other insurance institutes were set up throughout the late 1800s, before coming together in 1897 as The Federation of Insurance Institutes of Great Britain and Ireland. 

Over the years, it has expanded its reach, becoming the 'home' of the Personal Finance Society, after the CII's Society of Financial Advisers and the former Life Insurance Association were merged in 2005. The CII also created the Society of Mortgage Professionals in 2005.

Managing so many relationships well is not easy and relationships will go through ups and downs.

But when very public disagreement, with senior members of the PFS branding the Institute's move to appoint board members as "flooding" and "cynical", and the CII claiming it had no choice but to act over concerns regarding governance, it's hard to see a happy future for this couple. 

A fall-out and a make-up scene during the summer of 2022 may have lulled members into a false sense of security that the relationship was back on track.