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.”