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Former PFS presidents sound rally cry to advisers

Former PFS presidents sound rally cry to advisers

Past presidents of the Personal Financial Society are calling on advisers to vote against the Chartered Insurance Institute at its annual general meeting next week.

Earlier this week (June 23), past PFS presidents Robert Reid, Carole Nicholls, Brian Steeples, Sharon Sutton and former CII vice president Grant Scott and Informed Choice executive director Nick Bamford, came together and published a website called Our PFS.

The website was launched solely to call for PFS members to vote against specific CII resolutions at its AGM.

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Speaking to FTAdviser, Reid said: “The sole purpose of this was because we were unhappy with what is going on between CII and PFS. We decided the best way to show our displeasure was to help PFS members who are also CII members to remember to vote at the AGM.

“We should be voting against the accounts, the appointment of the auditor and everything happening with the whole institute.”

The revolt against the CII comes after last week the PFS board voted against deregistration for the third time since 2016.

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 earlier this month that 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. 

On the Our PFS website, Nicholls said: “Over the years many of you have distanced yourself from the CII, as have most of you I’ve probably never voted at an AGM.

“However, now is a moment to engage and make your vote count.”

Likewise, Steeples explained to PFS members that he understood the concerns they may have around recent attempts to deregister.

“To be clear, the PFS is a limited company – that is a company limited by guarantee, and its revenues and assets are not some sort of CII piggybank to be raided whenever the general insurance finances are in need of a boost.

“When the PFS was set up, it was done so as a separate limited company in order to ringfence and protect the PFS revenues and assets so that they would be used for the benefit of you, the PFS members, not the general insurance members.”

He added: “With the CII de-registration attempts in mind, I believe we should have an independent audit of the CII accounts and CII operations.”

Steeples said he would be voting against these and urged PFS members to do the same.

This decision by the PFS board to deregister also followed Matrix Capital Limited chartered financial planner Robin Melley’s plea earlier in the month, where he urged others in the industry to pressure the CII over its plans to deregister after he wrote 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.