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Cutting ties to CII/PFS is a matter of principle

Open letter to CII/PFS
With the advent of the FSA’s RDR and in light of the responses from different sectors of the industry, I have come to the conclusion that while I agree with areas of what you say, I am diametrically opposed to some of the PFS and CII policies and consultation responses, in particular the suggestion that membership of a “professional body” be mandatory and the pressure to move to chartered status, either in one’s own right or by becoming a member of a directly authorised firm which is chartered.

If the FSA chooses, following the RDR, to make membership compulsory, then I will argue that it is a tax and not a membership, just as I argue that the FSA, the FOS and PI fees are also a tax as we are not allowed to trade without them. The fact that I would not trade without some regulation or insurance is immaterial.

I have never had a complaint made to the FOS so this is not sour grapes but I cannot condone actions I believe to be immoral and will have to reassess payment of FOS fees later this year in light of any High Court decision on the case of Pickering. I will also decide whether to establish a firm outside the UK and passport back later in the year.

As a result of the issues above, I have decided that after nearly 20 years in the industry and more than 10 years as a member of the PFS/CII and its predecessor organisations the LIA and Sofa that, on principle, I need to cancel my membership with immediate effect.

The FSA make a lot about principle-based regulation and treating clients fairly. Principles and treating people fairly are at the heart of what I do in life, not just what I do in work, and my principles preclude me from remaining a member.

One man’s ethics or principles can vary drastically from another man’s and mine appear to differ from some of yours.

Compulsion and restriction of trade are not the answer. Designatory letters have already been removed from our headed paper and business cards.

Phil Castle
Financial Escape
Broadstairs, Kent

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