PFS apologises after sending erroneous welcome email to members

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PFS apologises after sending erroneous welcome email to members
Pexels/Torsten Dettlaff

A number of advisers received an email from the Personal Finance Society over the weekend, welcoming them as new members despite them being existing ones.

The email, seen by FTAdviser, said: “Today you've become part of the largest community of insurance professionals in the world. It's great to have you onboard, and we’re excited to be part of your journey.

“You're in good company! We have 40,000 members committed to raising professional standards through CPD and adhering to a published code of ethics.”

Advisers, many of which received the email over the weekend, took to Twitter to express their confusion. 

Jon Doyle, director of Juniper Wealth Management, said: “It was rather confusing to be welcomed as a new member after more than 14 years of membership. 

“I haven’t seen a follow-up apologising or explaining the error so I can only guess but I imagine someone imported existing users into the new CRM system that has automated workflows built in and forgot to turn the automations off. It then treats all the imported users as new users. 

“It’s a school boy error. Really basic stuff.”

Doyle added: “With the CII on the back foot with PFS members already it doesn’t exactly give off an air of competence nor an eye for detail that one would expect from a professional body.”

Following the email, the Chartered Insurance Institute put out a statement on LinkedIn from Mat Mallett, chief digital information officer apologising  to any members who received a message in error on Friday (March 24) evening.

It said: “The message, which welcomed recipients to CII membership, was automatically generated when we applied an update to our new customer contact system.

“We’re sorry for any confusion caused and no action is required.”

Chartered financial planner Elliot Guthrie also received the email.

He said: “It is disappointing after all the bad press and disregard for PFS members by the CII, they're not even trying to understand the frustrations and improve relations between PFS members and CII members.

“I never have and likely never will work in insurance, but they still believe that personal finance and insurance are one and the same."

David Hearne, partner at Financial Planning Partners, said: "This email appears to ignore the long standing membership of current PFS members, and confuse them as working in the insurance profession.

"At a time when the relationship between the CII and PFS is under strain, this will only heighten the calls for the PFS to be able to operate independently, and perhaps even be completely separated from the CII."

Speaking on the email issued to PFS members, Don MacIntyre, interim CEO of the Personal Finance Society said: “I am aware that a number of PFS and CII members have recently received a welcome email in error.

"This happened due to a migration to a new CRM system that occurred over the weekend and I apologise for any inconvenience or confusion caused.

"The content of the email was a draft template that was never intended to be issued, was not approved by myself or anyone else from the PFS and had not been written with PFS members in mind.

"I am confident that the CII is making progress in improving longstanding IT issues affecting both our memberships and I will continue to ensure they are working towards delivering the best possible service for PFS members."

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