Advisers believe Aifa has a difficult task on its hands in recruiting a successor to replace outgoing director Stephen Gay.
Aifa announced this morning that Gay was leaving to take on the role of director of life, savings and protection at the Association of British Insurers.
In an interview with Money Marketing today, Gay said Aifa had achieved a lot over the last year. He believes Aifa is in a strong position now thanks to cost cutting and the organisation’s overhaul, which has meant Aifa is beginning to move back to profitability.
Philip J Milton & Company managing director Philip Milton (pictured), an Aifa member, says: “I gave Gay the benefit of the doubt when he joined, despite criticism of his provider background. But some might say now it was inappropriate to give him the benefit of the doubt because he has not been in the job five minutes. Just over a year is a pretty poor show really.
“We need someone with gravitas, a heavyweight to be punching for the advisory community. But there is not anybody like that that springs to mind.”
AWD Chase de Vere head of communications Patrick Connolly says: “You would have to question whether a potentially good candidate would actually want the role. Aifa is facing really difficult times and somebody who comes in would have to agree with the direction or look to make some swift changes.”
Connolly believes the news is good timing for Gill Cardy, who launched the IFA Centre this week as an alternative to Aifa focused on championing the cause of the independent adviser.
Aifa opened up its membership to restricted advisers last year as part of a strategic review of the trade body led by Gay.
IFA Centre managing director Gill Cardy has been touted as a potential successor to Gay, but has ruled herself out of the running.
She says: “I have just set up IFA Centre. IFA Centre has a future as the voice of the independent financial adviser. Clearly I look forward to working with Stephen Gay’s successor on matters where there are common concerns.”
Panacea IFA chief executive Derek Bradley would like to see an IFA take over as director general.
He says: “This was the wrong job for the wrong guy at the wrong time for the wrong reason.
“He did not understand or feel the pain of being an IFA and was not used to being dismissed as being inconsequential by by the FSA and much of his membership. He was ‘not one of us’ and that was never going to be easy.”