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Alan Lakey: Setting the record straight on my Apfa tenure


Recently I was belaboured verbally for finding fault with so many aspects of financial services. On this particular occasion it related to comments made regarding my tenure on the Apfa council.

When I resigned from the council it was not my intention to publicly berate Apfa or pour scorn on its policies or procedures. I considered my time there as a worthwhile attempt to instil some backbone into an organisation that had been vilified as a talking shop.

However, subsequent events have altered this view. Within three minutes of leaving the council meeting a press release had been hastily flashed to all quarters stating  I had resigned to “seek new opportunities”. This term is generally used by organisations to describe the departure of an executive or director when he or she has been booted out.

As previously stated, until then I had no intention of making any public comment.

Since then, council member and fellow columnist Neil Liversidge has refuted comments I have made. He has missed the point, possibly because I have failed to explain myself adequately, so here goes.

I am not naïve enough to believe that democracy works. A veneer of democracy exists but the power of any individual is limited. Perhaps I was naïve in wanting to believe the Apfa council would be different.

I suggested, in a private telephone call to director general Chris Hannant, that as the majority of members were small firms their collective voice would be diminished if additional council members were allowed.

Hannant felt the current set-up was fine as it had been in existence for many years. He also stated those council members representing networks were surely looking after their advisers’ interests. I asked what would happen when a yes vote would be to the advantage of small firms but would negatively affect a network’s balance sheet.

Hannant felt the networks would vote for their members and he may be right. But I felt it would provide an appropriate balance if the number of small-firm council members was raised from four to six. He agreed to add this to the following month’s agenda.

At the meeting my suggestion was immediately ripped to shreds by three councillors, two of whom explained to me that networks definitely have the same goals and agenda as small firms. I had not mentioned networks at any stage and yet my suggestion was still spiked.

I did not leave the council because I considered it to be toothless. But if those purporting to be on your own side are fighting against you then the time to go beckons, and it is for this reason and no other that I resigned.

Alan Lakey is partner at Highclere Financial Services


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There are 12 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. APFA is toothless, Alan.

  2. “Refute” means “conclusively disprove”, not “disagree with”. If you say “Neil refuted my comments” you are saying that you are wrong and Neil is right.

    The misuse of ‘refute’ seems to be so endemic among journos that I often don’t bother pointing it out. But when people in the real world are making it, the time has come to say “enough”.

  3. ‘Contradicted’ might have been a more suitable choice of word.

  4. Incompetent Regulators 3rd October 2014 at 10:45 am


    We don’t need and English lesson. Understanding the point is what is important. APFA is full of politicians and Alan was not one of them.

  5. Alan

    It seems that you merely trod the path that led me out. I have always said that it was the big battalions who held sway and wan’t appreciated then. As for ‘Democracy’, well I know you are an idealist, but as in so many other things Democracy (and the law) works best for those with the fattest wallets.

  6. I go with repudiated

    And, incidentally, I repudiate APFA

  7. Whatever he did, I expect that having read this week’s edition of MM, Neil’s probably thrashing about on the floor and frothing at the mouth.

  8. Whatever he did, I imagine that having read this week’s edition of MM, Neil is probably thrashing about on the floor and frothing at the mouth.

  9. Neil F Liversidge 8th October 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Julian, I’m not given to either reaction, not even when I receive your juvenile and obnoxious emails with their typically pornographic and/or racist content. I’m too busy running a thriving business. You should try it sometime. As for a previous posting of yours on another blog where you accuse me of inviting you to join the APFA council in orderto ‘gag’ you, I can assure you that nothing of the sort has ever crossed my mind. I am happy for you to flap your trap as long and loud as you wish, and wherever you wish. It is neither my job nor my inclination to stop you making a fool of yourself.

  10. @Julian

    Re Neil : So there! I think you may have hurt his feelings! As I have mentioned before Neil seems to be a latter day Stephen Decatur “My country right or wrong”.

  11. Neil F Liversidge 9th October 2014 at 9:25 am

    You seem not to realise the incongruity of your position Harry, so I shall enlighten you in due course.

  12. Getting off the point somewhat.

    Shouldn’t the discussion be about how APFA conducts itself and whether the executive conducts itself like the civil service,from where, of course, Chris Hannant originated

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