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Fay Goddard

Aifa’s acting director general is renowned in the industry for her ability to understand and explain highly complex technical issues and she is aiming to use that in a bid to reduce the EU burden on IFAs and ease the cost shock of levies.

Date of birth: June 14, 1951

Lives: Thorpe Bay, Essex

Education: Southend High School for Girls

Career:
1968-73:London City branch of Norwich Union,pensions department.
Career break to bring up her two daughters.
1990: joined David Moore & Associates, a member of the DBS network, and qualified as an IFA.
1997: Joined the IFA Association as technical officer, providing assistance to members on regulatory issues, particularly the pension reviewShe became head of technical services before being seconded to the newly formed Association of Independent Financial Advisers in August 1999, where she was appointed director of policy and technical services.

Likes: Art, music and walking

Dislikes: TV, in particular soap operas and sitcoms, and arrogant people.

Life ambition: “To be happy, healthy and do the things in retirement that I do not have enough time to do now – like gardening.”

Career ambition: “To see professional high quality financial advice as a recognised profession, gaining chartered status.”

Hero: Paul Smee

Car: Family car is “BMW of some type.”

First lady of financial services Fay Goddard is a well known name at Money Marketing. For MM reporters, Goddard is often the first port of call if totally confused by the latest FSA tome or piece of EU regulation.

Her role as policy director at the Association of Independent Financial Advisers has seen her take on the media as well as the FSA in recent months but her work focuses mainly on the technical side of running IFA businesses. Drawing on her background as a compliance expert, she regularly meets with IFA groups to discuss how they need to apply changes to their businesses.

Last week she trekked from London to Yorkshire and back in a day to talk to IFAs about the payment menu and how they go about transferring their businesses to a fee-based rather than purely commission-based model.

She says: “They fully understand the concept, it is understanding the detail that is the problem. They have to use the initial disclosure document. There has been a lot of confusion over when you use the IDD for general insurance.

“The meeting was really to air views. I am being asked when they should go for the fee option but the answer is I do not think it is the speed at which it is implemented but whether everything is in place before they go ahead.”

Many tipped Goddard to take over Paul Smee’s role, saying she would be a perfect choice as director general, being an ex-IFA with a profound knowledge of compliance and regulation.

But you get the impression she would rather continue on the technical side where she feels most confident, away from the limelight. She has, after all, watched Smee grilled by the Treasury select committee and the press.

Goddard’s background is predominantly financial services. Her career started at the London City branch of Norwich Union where she worked in the pension department from 1968 to 1973.

She left when she got married and had her first child but says she was “desperately bored” as a stay at home housewife and mother and after 12 months started working for the family retail business. She says she never really stopped being involved with small businesses.

Her two daughters both work in the City – one as an office manager, the other in IT. She says if they had had the right personalities to go into financial advice she would have encouraged them whole-heartedly and adds how well she thinks it can fit with family life.

Apart from her family, one of her main interests in life is art, particularly painting and drawing. She has a strong interest in art history as well as oil and gouache painting fairly regularly. She also attends night classes which cover several areas from portraiture to botanical drawing. “It is not just about pretty pictures hanging on walls in galleries, it is a recording of what the artist was thinking at the time.”

Another key interest is music. She listens to a lot of classical and opera. She has recently branched out into the areas of Jamie Cullum and Katie Melua and is keen on this new genre of jazz: “It is a new breed of music and a new style which I am pleased to see. I think the boy and girl bands have had their day.”

When David Severn joins Aifa as director general, Goddard’s role will extend to include mortgage advice while Association of Mortgage Intermediaries director Chris Cummings will become Aifa deputy director general, working with Severn to lobby the FSA and Europe.

Europe is a big issue for Aifa with a commitment to a PI review, which has involved protracted discussions with the FSA and the Treasury that Goddard has been closely involved in.

“There are two directives which include PI requirements for IFAs. We think there may be a way of mitigating the requirement in the Mifid. We are looking to see if there is a way it can be ‘disapplied’ to IFAs.”

Also in the association’s sights in the next few months are FSCS and FOS payments. The organisation is continuing to push for instalments and Goddard believes this is a crucial issue for IFAs. “We need to look at the FSCS levy itself and see if there is a better way of apportioning the cost. This is a long-term project. The more immediate problem is how can we help alleviate the financial burden that hits once a year. Firms might plan ahead but what is needed is a much earlier warning of what the total cost will be.”

She says Aifa is waiting for a consultation paper that will be issued by the end of the month that she believes will give a much clearer indication of next year’s costs. She admits endowment claims are still coming in to the ombudsman at a fairly rapid rate and thinks that the cost of precipice bonds will also weigh heavily on the scheme.

Goddard has been one of the most outspoken voices on the FSA’s basic advice regime. She does not pull any punches and although she still considers that the concept of basic advice is a good one, she says the FSA “can’t have it all ways”.

The regulator has muddied the waters, according to Goddard and its solution is “not quite full advice” which Goddard thinks will prove to be a question of trial and error to get it right. She believes that the whole process must be reviewed in two or three years to analyse whether it is working.

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