STATEMENT: CAROLINE STUART, PRESIDENT OF THE PFS, THURSDAY 5 JANUARY 2023
With the deepest sadness, I have today (January 5) given my resignation as both President and Member Director of the PFS Board to the PFS Board, I will be standing down with immediate effect.
I have been working with the PFS on an entirely voluntary basis for close to eight years, both as a member and chair of the Paraplanner Panel and, since September 2018, as a Member Director and vice-president of the PFS Board.
It was the greatest honour of my professional life to be elected as President of the PFS in September 2022, particularly as I was the first paraplanner to be elected to the role.
Since March 2021, it has been well documented that the PFS Board has been under tremendous stress and pressure from the CII from threats such as de-registering the PFS and flooding the PFS Board with Institute Directors.
This pressure and stress has increased exponentially since the CII appointed further Institute Directors to the PFS Board on the 21st December 2022 with the intention to appoint a majority after a 30 day Consultation Period. All done under the guise of alleged ‘governance failings’.
I, along with my fellow Member Directors fully refute all allegations made by the CII. In my time as both a member director, Vice President and President, my fellow Member Directors and I have taken our fiduciary responsibilities extremely seriously.
We have performed them diligently, professionally, carefully and with the utmost integrity. These allegations are baseless and without foundation and in my opinion, a clear attempt to justify accessing PFS funds to support a failing CII.
In the past 12 months alone, I have spent over 440 hours volunteering on a pro bono basis with the PFS in my roles on the PFS Board, the PFS Paraplanner Panel and mentoring through the Connect Platform.
The amount of time spent supporting the PFS has often been to the detriment of my own business and family life.
The untold pressure that the PFS Board is currently under is now also at the detriment of my health and I have taken the very difficult, but I feel only, decision available to me to preserve my own health, and have resigned my position as President and Member Director of the Personal Finance Society, with immediate effect.
The Member Directors of PFS Board have for nearly two years been operating in the most challenging of circumstances, which at times has been to the detriment to our own professional and personal lives.
These circumstances, created by the Chartered Insurance Institute, include numerous instances, in my opinion, of unprofessional and hostile behaviour of CII appointed persons.