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Adviser sounds rally cry to put pressure on CII over PFS

Adviser sounds rally cry to put pressure on CII over PFS

An adviser is urging others in the industry to pressure the Chartered Insurance Institute over its plans to deregister the Personal Finance Society.

Robin Melley, managing director of Shropshire-based advice firm Matrix Capital, and vice president of CII affiliate body the Insurance Institute for Shropshire and Mid-Wales (IISMW), called on his peers to write to the CII and voice their concerns about the way it has been led in recent times and its renewed attempt to deregister the PFS.

Melley, who has been a member of the CII for 30 years and is a PFS fellow, has himself written to the CII’s independent chairwoman Helen Phillips, telling her that both himself and his fellow IISMW council members had concerns about what was happening at the body.

He wrote: “In particular, we are concerned about the strategic direction that your board seems to be applying to its qualification standards and the treatment of the PFS membership. 

“The CII’s strategy seems focused on changing the importance and relevance of the PFS; and we are concerned that this will not only undermine the status of the profession, but will allow other interested groups to capitalise on the opportunities created by your proposed course of action.”

Speaking to FTAdviser, Melley said: “Many members of the CII and the PFS have emailed and phoned me to say that they endorse everything that the IISMW has said. 

“What they need to do is email Helen Phillips instead of me and tell her because unless they do, there is a risk that their voices will not be heard and the CII’s PR machine will successfully brush it under the carpet and nothing gets done.”

He added: “The CII need to stop what they are doing and appoint independent auditors to review the original manifesto launched in 2016, understand the impact so far and assess the outcome and overall effect on the CII and the future of the PFS. 

“They also need to answer all of the questions set out in the emails that the CII have to date sidestepped.”

Melley's concerns centre around the CII's renewed attempt to deregister the PFS, which apparently has led to chief executive Keith Richard's departure earlier this year.

The CII had first proposed deregistering the PFS as a legal entity in 2016 and then again in 2019 with a view to making cost savings and reducing the tax bill.

Both times the proposals were rejected by the PFS board but Sian Fisher, chief executive of the CII told FTAdviser last week: “[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. The proposal was made again by the CII. 

“The Personal Finance Society board requested further information from the CII about the proposal so that they can consider whether it is the best interests of the professional body’s membership. This proposal is still being considered.”