CII to take control of PFS board amid 'failed mediation'

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CII to take control of PFS board amid 'failed mediation'
(Left to right) Neil Watts, Sarah Howe, Azlina Bulmer
BySonia Rach

The Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) intends to appoint a majority of directors to the Personal Finance Society board, following failed mediation attempts.

Alongside this, the CII also announced its decision to appoint three institute directors to the PFS board with immediate effect.

The CII said in order to “guarantee the highest standards of governance”, after a 30-day consultation period has elapsed, the CII group board intends to form a majority by appointing a further institute director to the PFS Board.

Helen Phillips, CII group chair, said: “This is not an outcome the CII group board wanted or pursued. The CII team has worked hard for many months, initiating independent mediation, and responding to the PFS board’s demands diligently, professionally and with immense goodwill. 

“Therefore, it is deeply disappointing that independent mediation has failed, and serious and significant governance failures have arisen, which leave the CII group board with no alternative but to take this action at this juncture and resolve matters without further delay.”

The PFS is a subsidiary of the CII group, and the PFS’ articles of association give the CII group board the right to equalise and/or appoint a majority of directors to the PFS board.

The PFS board is currently made up of five PFS member directors and two institute directors.

However, the CII is appointing further three institute directors, who are Sarah Howe, Neil Watts and Azlina Bulmer.

Howe is the former chief executive officer of Harpenden Building Society, former independent chairof the consumer panel at Openwork and recently appointed to St Clare Hospice board.

Meanwhile Watts is the former board member of the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual), former advisory board member for Cifas, as well as former Complaints Committee Member at the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO).

Bulmer is already an existing CII membership and engagement director and the current associate non-executive director at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust.

She was the former director of International at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).

CII CEO Alan Vallance, who was appointed to the role in April, said: “Sarah, Neil and Azlina all bring immense professionalism and exceptional experience to the PFS board. The newly composed board will continue to be mandated to focus entirely on protecting and serving PFS interests. 

“The CII team will work with the new PFS board to embed best practice and establish the long-term governance arrangements that will ensure PFS members receive all the services and support they deserve without any further delay.”

Vallance joined from the Royal Institute of British Architects where he worked for seven years and was chief executive.