RegulationMar 9 2023

Keith Richards launches professional body for financial services

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Keith Richards launches professional body for financial services
Keith Richards, chief executive of the new Consumer Duty Alliance. (Carmen Reichman)
BySimoney Kyriakou

Advice industry veteran Keith Richards has launched a professional body for financial services, bringing together 'big gun' names such as Nick Cann, Ian McKenna and Johnny Timpson, FTAdviser can reveal.

At an event in the Shard in London today (March 9), the chief executive of the Financial Vulnerability Taskforce and former chief executive of the Personal Finance Society, unveiled the new body: the Consumer Duty Alliance. 

Dismissing speculation that some Treasury officials are uncertain how the Financial Conduct Authority's consumer duty regulations will work, as reported by FTAdviser's sister title the Financial Times, Richards said the "time was right" to create this new, independent association.

Richards told FTAdviser: "There is truly a need for an independent professional body for the finance sector, to serve members' needs, engage with policymakers, promote best practice and share thought-leadership, and create a community that can focus on delivering for clients and supporting financial planning."

Engaging, informing and working collaboratively with all parties is going to be essential to delivering and building on the promise of consumer duty.Johnny Timpson, FSCP

He was keen to stress this was not a response to the ongoing disagreement between the Chartered Insurance Institute and the Personal Finance Society, who are at loggerheads over the CII's allegations of governance failings, which the PFS nominee board members strenuously deny.  

Richards stated: "The Alliance has no commercial aspiration, it is not-for-profit and it has a non-conflicting role to play in bringing all the various bodies together. 

"We are not here to compete with the PFS. The Alliance would always have been a natural evolution of the FVT."

Avengers assemble

The CDA has also brought together big names in the financial planning world, including Nick Cann, former chief executive of the Institute of Financial Planning, who will be heading up one of three forums that sit beneath the CDA umbrella.

Speaking to FTAdviser, Cann said the consumer duty planning forum was an "exciting opportunity" not just for him but the wider financial planning community.

"After surviving a stroke 10 years ago, and living with aphasia, it is good to be back.

"The financial planning forum will create relevant content around good practice, and signpost other support guidance and useful links to support the further evolution of financial planning.

"There is a real need for the Consumer Duty Alliance."

The second forum will focus on technology and how fintech developments can help advisers develop their propositions alongside consumer duty and best practice. 

There is a real need for the Consumer Duty Alliance.Nick Cann