I have been surprised and somewhat saddened by the level of misinformation circulating about the LIA/Sofa merger. I cannot see how disingenuous comments about the LIA board help in the debate about a new professional association.
I am a past president of the LIA and have always been in complete support of a merger between Sofa and the LIA.
As a member of both, I see a completely natural fit where the relative strengths and weaknesses complement each other. Both organisations have committed to becoming professional bodies and have the same ideals.
Are all the terms and conditions and small print ideal? Probably not from any of the parties' perspectives. When organisations merge, there are always going to be compromises made as part of the negotiating. Do I believe that the best possible terms that could have been reached have? Yes, absolutely.
Over my years of involvement with the LIA, I have heard less than a handful of detractors from the concept of one professional body.
From an idealist perspective, I would have preferred to see the LIA/Sofa and the IFP merge as one independent organisation with firm educational links to the CII.
Putting ideology to one side, the CII does bring much added value to the table, which will significantly speed up the process of establishing the Personal Finance Society. We must also not lose sight of the fact that the CII is a not-for-profit member organisation.
My main concern is that if LIA or Sofa members vote against a merger, what message does it send out?
It is saying we do not want to be united in a common cause, share a professional ideal, improve standards of advice and business skills and generate greater consumer confidence.
In my view, we have a golden opportunity to move forward, to help restore confidence in our sector and become recognised as the professionals most of us are.
We should be concentrating on the bigger picture and working towards the future. We know that change is inevitable so why don't we embrace the Personal Finance Society and welcome it with open arms?
Gavin Tisshaw Certified financial planner,
Executive Advisory Services,