Former Aifa council member and Norwest Consultants principal Harry Katz says he quit the council because he believes the adviser trade body often puts the interests of larger members before smaller advisers.
Katz (pictured) formally stepped down from the Aifa council last week after eight years, though he remains a member of the rebranded Association of Professional Financial Advisers. The trade body changed its name following a member vote last week, which also saw Adviser Alliance director and Highclere Financial Services partner Alan Lakey elected to the council in Katz’s place.
Speaking to Money Marketing, Katz says while he remains a member of Apfa, he did not feel it was right to remain on the council.
He says: “As a small adviser I have often felt that although there is lip service to our interests, they are subordinate to those who have the biggest wallets. It is also important that if you are on the council, in a similar way to ministerial responsibility, you have to toe the line. It would not have been appropriate for me to stay because I would not be singing from the same hymn sheet as other council members.”
Katz does not agree the decision to accept restricted advisers was a pragmatic one in the wake of the FSA’s new definition of independence.
He says: “What did Aifa do to try and get its membership, which is supposed to be independent, to understand that being independent might not necessarily be the hurdle that some vested interests were saying it was? It did nothing. And why? What vested interests were at work within Aifa?”
Katz is keeping a watching brief on the progress made by IFA Centre, run by Gill Cardy, but says he does know enough about the organisation to commit to joining at the moment.
On stepping down from the Aifa council, he says: “I do not want to sound anti-Apfa, or particularly bitter, but there are times when you have to do the right thing according to your own conscience and that is what I think I have done.”