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Menu master Smee quits Aifa

Aifa&#39s first director general Paul Smee has resigned from his position after five years in the job.

Smee will stay with Aifa until December when he is joining the Association for Payment Clearing Services as its chief executive. Aifa will be advertising for a new director general immediately.

The formation of Aifa came after a huge row between the Labour Government and the IFA Asso- ciation, led by Garry Heath, over the pension review.

During his time at Aifa, Smee has been instrum-ental in turning the FSA away from the definedpayment system proposed in CP121, which would have effectively made all IFAs charge fees if they wanted to call themselves independent, and towards the payment menu which was eventually adopted by the regulator.

Smee is still urging IFAs to embrace the menu, saying the debate must move beyond commission being the big bad wolf to it being seen as merely a means of paying for advice.

He has also been very active on European issues, lobbying the European Commission on professional indemnity requirements for IFAs set to come into force in January.

More recently, Smee was lambasted by the Treasury select committee for failing to condemn IFA firms that dump liabilities in shell companies.

Smee, who believes one of his greatest achievements at Aifa has been in establishing credibility for the trade body with the regulator, says: “The biggest threat to IFAs, which they can fight themselves is their lack of self-confidence in the value of what they do.”

LIA head of public affairs John Ellis says: “This is probably a natural break for Aifa between the world of polarisation and depolarisation and perhaps it is a good time for Paul to leave. He has done a very good job to make Aifa a responsible lobbying organisation on behalf of IFAs.”

FSA managing director David Kenmir says: “I would like to thank Paul for all the hard work he has done representing Aifa over the last few years and the constructive way that he has worked with us on some of the challenging issues facing IFAs.”

Aifa chairman John Gummer says: “The IFA industry is in Paul Smee&#39s debt. He has fought the IFA corner and has earned Aifa the reputation of a representative body which punches well above its weight.”

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