The majority of the applications to fill Smee’s role – which becomes vacant at the beginning of December – are understood to have come from outside the industry.
If a suitable candidate is not found or cannot start before Smee leaves, director of policy Fay Goddard is expected to act as an interim director general.
But Sofa chairman and Informed Choice managing director Nick Bamford believes that a senior person within a product provider, such as Scottish Widows market director corporate pensions Robert Wyllie, would have the right attributes for the job, as would Sofa board members Robert Reid and Brian Steeples.
Former IFA Brian Lentz has applied for the position. Lentz has been deputy chairman of the Aifa protection taskforce since 2002.
Bamford says: “I think that we need someone from inside the industry. Paul has done a cracking job but we need someone who does not need to go through a long period of understanding financial services.”