View more on these topics

Aifa: “pressure group” tactics only effective in short term

Aifa director general Stephen Gay said the trade body could use “pressure group tactics” but it would only work in the short term.

Speaking today at the Tenet Annual Business Conference in Ascot, he said an aggressive approach can “burn bridges”.

He said: “A pressure group can be very fierce about short term objectives without needing to consider the longer term consequences. Shouting about things can be great but it can be easy to burn bridges.”

Gay added it would be most effective for Aifa to be consistent in its approach to shaping policy.

He said: “My overriding directive as director general is to ensure our community emerges from the RDR and MMR not traumatised by the experience but fit and ready to influence policy makers on the European stage, as well as in the UK, for years to come.

“We know from our recent strategic review that some members want Aifa to contribute constructively in influencing and shaping policy in the committee rooms of the Treasury, Parliament, Canary Wharf and indeed in Brussels.

“Others want us to fight aggressively for the rights of IFAs in a way that is loud and visible. Can we do both? Only to some extent. Whilst we can make adjustments to the way we operate, ultimately we cannot have it both ways.”


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


There are 18 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Rosa Parks : Lech Walesa : Emmeline Pankhurst : Martin Luther King : Nelson Mandela : Mahatma Gandhi etc etc …

    Seems strange that the victories they eventually won as thorns in the side of the establishments they challenged brought about changes that have long outlasted the regimes that saw them as nothing other than hotheads.

    Even the Magna Carta was probablythe next day’s fish and chip wrapper, huh?

  2. Sadly AIFA tactics have not been successful long term else we should not be in the state we are in and with so so much anger in abundance.

  3. More excuses for lack of results methinks.

  4. My dear Mr Gay, I wouldn’t worry about burning bridges if I were you. There isn’t going to be an industry to represent in Treasury, Parliament, Canary Wharf and indeed in Brussels at this rate.

  5. So you should really inform those IFAs you are unable to represent. This would be TCF and save them their annual fee.

  6. Try asking your Individual members, and represent their views rather than what you think they want.

  7. I doubt that AIFA has a “longer term”.

    Maybe short term pressure tactics could give it the support it needs to continue.

  8. Mr Gay is a sopping wet Margaret Thatcher would have ordered him for breakfast.
    As to bridges good job he was not in Arnhem ‘cos he is certainly no Montgomery. let alone those mentioned by Mike F above.

  9. Is Mr Gay going to enlighten us with the results of his recent ‘Strategic Review?’

    Did his review confirm what most of us already know? That AIFA is unfit for Purpose!

  10. Spot the man with the salary who doesnt have a clue about the industry he represents.

    Every IFA woke up one morning and just fancied a bit of lobbying, not really anything bad going on down here, rest easy.

    At least he can just get another job when this one no longer works, good job he hasnt got his assets on the line if AIFA subs fall.

  11. There seems to be a genearl concensus here about Mr Gay now. When he was first appointed there were a few voices in support. Have they all gone? If so I am not surprised. I too would like to see the written results of the Strategic Review published.

  12. Lobbying is but one facet of the representation process but…it works.

    The TSC enquiry and the attentions of Mark Garnier and Harriet Baldwin are living proof that cogent arguments presented in a thoughtful yet forceful manner can win support.

    AIFA seems overly careful about who it might upset and that is not a tactic to adopt when much of the IFA sector is faced with extinction.

    I recall Mr Gay’s predecessor telling me that Mark Hoban was a freind of the IFA. This presumably informed his tactics…

  13. Geoffrey Rideout 27th January 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Alan L – call me a cynic but no doubt Mark Hoban was telling everyone who had ears that he was their friend before the election. Not saying that Mr Gay’s predecessor seemed infatuated with politicians and gullible enough to fall for such gumpf … but you make a cogent point …

    Aifa’s problems would seem to be long standing and deeply rooted. I fear a change of Chief Exec and a cosy “survey” is not enough to stop the rot. No bloggers or Aifa members are arguing against the criticisms being levelled at them – are things shortly going to reach a critical mass whereby they effectively end up bringing the industry into disrepute?

  14. The bottom line to all this is that the FSA takes very little, if any, notice of anything that AIFA says, for the simple reason that it doesn’t have to. Why try to maintain a pretence that the reality of the situation is any different?

    AIFA is an organisation that flaps its wings and squawks a bit from time to time but ultimately has no clout because, as we know, the FSA has its own agenda and anyone who disagrees can basically go jump off a cliff or be trampled underfoot like some tiresome and inconsequential insect.

    It’s a seemingly intractable problem, but somebody somewhere must be able to find a solution.

  15. Unlike your predecessors (apart from the former FSA bloke) you have failed to reply to a simple email from a simple man.

    In my simple world that simply speaks volumes.

    Mike Fenwick put in ways that I can only dream of, because I am so simple.

    The problem lies with the AIFA Council, not so simple.

  16. As I presume the Pressure Group remark was a punt either at IFAA or Adviser Alliance; it may be time to put the record straight.

    IFAA understood from the outset that it did not have the establishment grunt to play the smoked filled rooms role.

    In common with all SME’s; IFAs may employ a lot of people but not in one place. As a result they cannot threaten a Government Minister with 1,000’s of redundancies in Liverpool if something was not granted. Neither are they likely to be able to employ ex regulators or ministers when they lose their current roles.

    It was our view to make the IFA sector too prickly to mess about with whilst being as helpful to the authorities as possible. As result throughout the IFAA reign the FSA did even try to change polarisation.

    Within 6 months of AIFA polarisation had been scrapped.

    I doubt if the Keydata decision would have been made in my watch.

    Our tactic was to establish over 100 MPs who would speak on the IFA’s behalf. Most of those had a knot of IFAs who were in regular contact

    The Treasury knew that any movement against the IFAs would result in a number of hostile MPs at Treasury questions. This created a fear in the minds of officials and regulators which tempered their excesses

    Between that tactic and more mass lobbying of MPs allowed us to punch well above our weight.
    This did not mean we avoided being helpful. If something made sense FIMBRA, PIA and the FSA found IFAA very helpful and keen to finesse ideas they had. This element was not publicised much but actually formed the core of our activity. We could be Mr Nice but annoy us and Mr Nasty wasn’t far behind. It was a far more sophisticated approach than most perceived.

    AIFA came in as the pacifist alternative and as such was a one trick pony which was easy to ignore. It was created by the ABI – the Audley Harrison of political fighting.

    Even worse it might be persuaded to work against its own member’s interests.

    The IFA sector cannot afford to be represented by an organisation that refuses to fight for it and by extension the clients the IFA sector represents. It is currently taking subs under false pretences.

    Adviser Alliance is moving from small pressure group to something larger. It needs members and their funds.

  17. Sign me up Gary!! You are needed back at the head of an organisation to represent IFAs. Where have you been when we needed you?

  18. Interesting to read what Garry Heath has to say about the IFAA not having the “establishment grunt to play the smoked filled rooms role”. Look at who has been chairing Aifa since its inception – two former cabinet members who now sit in the House of Lords. I fail to believe that this has not given Aifa leverage and access to at least some smoke filled rooms. This would seem to make their lack-lustre performance all the more lamentable. I also cannot disagree with Garry’s view about Aifa’s potential preparedness to act against members’ interests. Is the role of Aifa’s Chief Exec merely to be a “Useful Idiot”? If it is, they should stop collecting subs from IFA firms and stick to hand-outs from providers.

Leave a comment


Why register with Money Marketing ?

Providing trusted insight for professional advisers.  Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and advice.

News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

Money Marketing Events
Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

Research and insight
Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

Have your say
Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

Register now

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm