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Leading from the front

I am a great believer in improving standards and qualifications. For this to happen and for this whole area to receive the emphasis it deserves, there needs to be some leadership.

My aim is for the Personal Finance Society to become the automatic reference point for anyone – consumers, the media and even advisers themselves – looking for information on financial advice. We have a key role to play in showing people just how good service can be in our marketplace.

IFAs are the most obvious people to turn to when seeking advice but I also believe that providers have a significant role to play. Clearly, providers want business. That is the basis of any relationship they forge with an adviser. If business levels fail to meet expectations, they are disappointed. Having joined the PFS from the commercial world, I understand that. At the same time, it is essential that advisers receive relevant guidance and support when it comes to figuring out how best to use these products to their clients’ advantage.

I believe that by adopting a considered and professional approach in determining how products best fit in the advice process, the PFS has a crucial role to play in the middle ground between advisers and providers.

This means that part of my job is to harness the support of the provider community and to persuade them of the importance of a viable, professional, highly-skilled advice fraternity. I would argue that there is a moral imperative to back what we do and have embarked on a series of meetings with chief executives of the principal providers to secure support for the PFS and help guarantee the long-term survival of the advice sector. I want to see providers promoting the PFS and encouraging staff to join.

Our Partners in Professionalism initiative, where companies will be given a chance to talk through matters with PFS members, is an important element of this engagement with providers. We will see the fruits of this work in 2007 but there are already a number of major announcements in the pipeline and at our conference in November there will be a healthy array of big-name sponsors in evidence.

The industry also needs to recruit new talent. If we are to aspire to the same perceived standards of professionalism as accountants and solicitors, we need to make the jobs we offer more attractive. To this end, we are actively forging links with a number of educational establishments and further developments are planned.

We are also looking to boost PFS membership from the current 23,000. The drive is progressing on a number of fronts, including the member-get-member initiative and negotiations with distributors which would see large numbers of staff joining en masse. Our regional meetings programme is being scrutinised to identify ways to improve its appeal. Current meetings attract 10 per cent of the membership, which is too few. My job is to find out how we can deliver a programme that will bring in the rest.

The bigger we are, the more credible our voice will be among our key constituencies – the public, the media and the regulator. Our messages have greater reach and impact if we are speaking on behalf of the majority of the advice profession.

Tim Eadon is chief executive of the Personal Finance Society


Three’s a crowd

Our occasional series of look-a-likes continues with Winterthur technical wizard Andy Boyt and a menage a trois of mammoth proportions. Andy’s kind colleagues have sent in convincing evidence that he was separated at birth from the overrated Phill Jupitus and still reasonably funny Johnny Vegas. Their similar ages, facial hair and, of course, girth are […]


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Genworth launches 100 per cent LTV mortgage insurance

Insurer Genworth Financial claims lenders will be able to help more first time buyers get on the property ladder after the launch of its specialist mortgage insurance product. Genworth says the product will help to mitigate the considerable risk associated with 100 per cent loan-to-value lending by covering lenders’ risk.Research commissioned by Genworth has shown […]


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