Outgoing Personal Finance Society chief executive Keith Richards has urged his successor to focus on helping small advice firms, as he revealed he will not be leaving the sector altogether.
Richards, who is leaving the PFS in June, told FTAdviser he hopes his successor will continue his work and ensure the PFS lobbies the government on important issues affecting advisers.
Richards said: “I would hope [my successor] gets actively involved in the continuing work of influencing policymakers, because we are a sector that is made up of largely small firms and they don’t have the resources to lobby.
"Therefore, they need strong bodies behind them that can create the resource or influence to lobby on their behalf.”
The chief executive, who has been in his role for eight years, said whoever takes his place will be coming into an organisation that is in a much better position and far more established and financially secure.
He said 'revolution' will not be needed but 'evolution' will be constant as new challenges and issues arise.
Staying in advice
Despite stepping down from his role, Richards has vowed to stay active within the advice sector and said he would continue to push for change. He will also continue in his role as chairman of the independent Financial Vulnerability Taskforce, set up by the PFS.
Richards said: “I am unlikely to go off into any other sector. My passion is here and there is still a lot more to be done. Clearly the next generation need to pick up the reigns but I will absolutely stay active in this market.”
Although he said he has “loved every minute” of his time at the PFS, Richards believes it was time for someone else to continue his work.
He said: “When you become a CEO of an organisation there is always an inevitable point of considering whether you have achieved many of the objectives you set out to achieve and whether it is the right time to step down and let someone else take it onto the next stage.
“In my case I took over at a tense time for the advice sector, when it was going through regulatory reform with predictions of mass contraction in the market.”
Richards said he improved engagement with the PFS’s membership so much so it went from seeing 300 to 400 members a quarter to seeing over 4,000.
Richards said: “The PFS has played an important role in supporting the sector to evolve from an industry to a profession. I have been overwhelmed by the number of messages of support that I have received from members across the country since announcing I will be stepping down.
“Whilst that’s flattering, it’s a good indicator of when you have moved the dial and helped a sector evolve.
“There probably comes a point where it might be right for someone else to take that to another stage. Don’t get me wrong, is there a lot more to be done, absolutely, and I am passionate about seeing the profession move on to even greater things which I think will happen.”