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'We don't want to cut ties, but CII needs a change in attitude'

'We don't want to cut ties, but CII needs a change in attitude'
The industry body for IFAs has called for a 'change of attitude' from the CII after a disagreement broke out into the open last year (Pexels/Pixabay)

A member director of the Personal Finance Society has said the industry body does not want to cut ties with the Chartered Insurance Institute, but that a change of attitude is needed in order to regain trust between the two organisations.

Speaking on a PFS consultation today (January 20), Gordon Wilson, managing director of Carbon Financial Partners and a member director of the PFS board, said the two bodies work best together when the PFS is autonomous from the CII.

“The PFS board does not want to extract itself from the CII…[but] a change of attitude is needed, particularly from the CII, in order to work positively together.

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“The [CII’s] recent behaviour has destroyed [the trust between the two bodies] in a heartbeat,” he said.

The consultation was organised to allow members of the PFS to ask the board about the recent situation with the CII.

The disagreement between the two bodies, which the PFS said had begun in March 2021, came to a head in December after the CII announced it was to appoint a majority of directors to the PFS board, alleging failed mediation attempts and poor governance issues.

The institute also appointed three institute directors to the PFS board with immediate effect.

The PFS strongly denied the claims.

The move prompted the president of the PFS, Caroline Stuart, to step down, citing the “tremendous stress and pressure” put on the PFS’s board by the CII.

Three members of the PFS's planning panel, including its chairperson, have also resigned over the issue.

The former chairperson, Alasdair Walker, said earlier this month (January 9) that he did not feel he could carry on supporting the PFS as a volunteer while there were so many unanswered questions about the CII’s “hostile” takeover attempt.

Benjamin Beck and Jane Gow also stepped down from the panel.

Sarah Lord, who spent two years as PFS president and advises the PFS board, said the PFS had thrice requested details of the alleged governance failures cited by the CII as the reason for appointing members onto the PFS’s board.

Wilson said he had “no idea” what the governance issues mentioned by the CII are.

He also said he had reached out more than once to the chief executive of the CII, Alan Vallance, but so far the two have never spoken.

There was also criticism of the way the CII has dealt with the situation.

The two bodies entered into mediation in September 2022, and Lord said the PFS thought they were still in that process when the CII released a statement just before Christmas announcing the new board appointments.

“I do not think it is good the way this has been played out in public,” she said.

Wilson added: “We need to get round the table and find a solution rather than this heavy handed forcing of the issue which is quite difficult to deal with.”