Institute of Financial Planning members have paid tribute to chief executive Nick Cann and interim chief executive Steve Gazzard after they stepped down from the professional body.
It was announced last week the pair had left the organisation as the IFP board voted to formally approve the merger with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment.
The merger is expected to complete on 1 November.
Cann has been on long-term sick leave from his role as chief executive following his stroke in March 2013.
Gazzard was appointed to lead the professional body on an interim basis when Cann went on sick leave. He was previously chief operating officer of the IFP.
The IFP says Gazzard decided to step down as interim chief executive “some time ago” in order to achieve a better work-life balance.
The IFP’s 15 Bristol-based staff are currently in consultation and are being offered positions in the CISI’s London office.
IFP president Rebecca Taylor says: “Steve has done an outstanding job for the IFP over the past seven and a half years whilst Nick has made a massive contribution to the success of the IFP since he joined in 1999. Both have played such an important part in driving forward the financial planning profession.”
She adds: “The IFP board and I wish to say a very big thank you to both Steve and Nick for the massive contribution they have made to the development of the IFP and the financial planning profession. Their strong leadership, commitment and enthusiasm for the profession and the IFP in particular have been so inspiring to members, the board and IFP staff alike. We wish them well for the future in whatever they choose to do.”
Yellowtail Financial Planning managing director Dennis Hall says Gazzard’s departure came as a surprise and creates further uncertainty over the future of the IFP.
He says: “Nick and Steve are very different characters who brought different qualities to the role and achieved a great deal for the financial planning profession.
“These may be the first of a number of IFP names that disappear as the merger completes because I cannot believe all the Bristol-based staff will be willing or able to take up a role in London.
“It is not clear at this stage who will be taking the lead in Steve’s place.”
Mazars Financial Planning chartered financial planner Mark Brownridge says: “Steve was in a difficult position taking over on an interim basis, but he has done a fantastic job.
“No one knows how the merger will go until we enter the brave new world in November. The IFP did need to change course slightly to connect with the public more, and hopefully the merger will give it the necessary resources to do so.”
IFP merger: Q&A
What is happening?
The Institute of Financial Planning is merging with the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment. The proposal was announced in August and is due to complete on 1 November.
Why is the IFP going ahead with the merger?
The IFP says the mission of its board has always been to “grow the profession of financial planning in the UK for the benefit of consumers”. It says its current finances do not allow for significant investment in growing the profession.
Who will lead the IFP following Steve Gazzard’s departure?
The IFP has appointed chartered accountant Richard Lee as project manager to oversee the transition of the merger. The IFP board will become a committee which will serve on all key committees within the CISI. It will be chaired by the IFP president, which this week will become Forty Two Wealth Management partner Alan Dick when Rebecca Taylor’s three-year term ends. Taylor is expected to have a role on the CISI board.
What will the merger mean for IFP branches and events?
The IFP says the CISI has committed to continue all of its current events, and would take over the contract with Celtic Manor for the annual conference in 2016. It says most branches will continue as they are but where there is an IFP and CISI branch in the same location it would look at how these could be merged.