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Stephen Gay quits Aifa for ABI


Aifa director general Stephen Gay is to leave the trade body to take up the role of director of life, savings and protection at the Association of British Insurers.

Gay (pictured), who also held the role of director general of the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, joined Aifa in December 2010.

He joined from Aviva where he was director of distribution development and replaced Chris Cummings.

During his time at Aifa’s helm Gay has overseen a strategic review of the organisation which opened the trade body’s membership to restricted advisers.

Gay’s leaving date, and when he will join the ABI, is yet to be decided.

Aifa chairman the Rt. Hon.John Gummer, Lord Deben, says: “During a difficult economic year for members, Aifa and Ami have continued to provide a strong and essential voice for their professions. Aifa has reduced its costs, while increasing revenues, and has improving operations and governance. Aifa is now in a better position to provide the single, strong and united voice that is able to exert greater influence on regulators and policy makers in the UK and Europe.

“Stephen’s leadership has been crucial to Aifa’s improvement over the past year I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his valuable contribution to our work and the development of the intermediary profession.”

Gay said: “I am proud of the work that Aifa and Ami do for their members and what we have achieved during the past year. I am also extremely grateful for the support shown by our council and boards, and the dedication of all the staff at the organisation during what has been a difficult year for advisers. I have no doubt that Aifa will continue to offer the profession an effective voice that is both listened to and respected by regulators and policy makers now and into the future.”

Aifa announced the appointment of a new policy director earlier this week. Chris Hannant joined from the British Chambers of Commerce and has also held roles at the EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, and the ABI.

Former Aifa policy director Andrew Strange says it is critical Gay’s successor has a good grounding in policy to be able to tackle the significant regulatory challenges in the UK and Europe.

Strange says: “At such a crucial time in both the UK and Europe, including the creation of the Financial Conduct Authority and the implementation of RDR, and the significant legislative agenda stemming from Europe, it will be critical for Aifa to secure an experienced policy professional, with extensive IFA experience, who can really hit the ground running.”

On Gay’s appointment to the ABI, ABI director general Otto Thoresen says: “We are delighted that someone of Stephen’s undoubted calibre will be joining us to drive forward the ABI’s work on pensions, saving and protection.

“This is an absolutely crucial time for the industry and we have a unique opportunity to change the UK’s low saving habit through the introduction of automatic enrolment. If we get this right we could change the way people save and protect their futures for good and I know Stephen is absolutely focused on helping the industry rise to this challenge.”


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There are 15 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. AIFA may now start to promote IFA’s to the utmost and not do things half hearted. If they do I might just rejoin.

  2. Not really a surprise?

  3. “Joined AIFA in December 2010”

    Gave it a good long go then – presumably he has achieved all the goals he set himself for AIFA and is now moving on to other organisations that need the same help

  4. Not much point in having a strong voice if noone takes any notice of it Mr Chairman. I am curious to know what tangible results Stephen Gay actually achieved during his tenure. So long, fairwell, auf wiedersehen, adieu. Another one bites the dust. Not long to go now before AIFA realises its time is done and needs to disband to make way for a body that can actually get results for its members.

  5. Draw your own conclusions but it the interpretation has to be he never had his heart in AIFA and let’s face it, it is a dead duck

    Another self-serving move!!!

  6. He came from an insurer. He’s left for an organisation representing insurers. He didn’t make this decision overnight. So what has he done for IFA’s? Was he ever really doing anything for IFA’s

    Yet another of the professional gravy train riders, on the merry-go-round of overpaid pointless jobs. Surely his next step up will be the FSA. He sounds perfect for it.

  7. Another example of career progression from the same people who brought you Chris Cummings

  8. He didn’t last long then! Probably worried that he won’t get paid soon…..

  9. It depends on what results you wanted from your trade body – if you were hoping he’d decry the RDR, or get it postponed because you’d not started your qualifications yet, he probably disappointed.

    Still, AIFA is bust – because there will be precious few IFAs left. Cue rebadged to ‘Intermediaries’ and a more rational perspective across all members interests – not just those with the time to blog and snipe, eh?

  10. Tyburn Asset Management 13th January 2012 at 11:04 am

    You really couldn’t make this up. This really confirms what most IFAs knew or the less cynical ones suspected all along.

    IFAs have been bashed around for so long we are like a boxer which has been 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. We are also all getting older and there are virtually no younger IFAs coming through. We have been misrepresented for years with no credible professional body fighting our corner. Our independence is our own worst enemy sometimes, everyone has their own view and we are bit like a fledging country with a corrupt dictator being bashed around by foreign powers.

    How could it possibly happen that someone who was supposed to be representing IFAs leaves to join the insurance brigade, the very same people who are writing to our clients with tick boxes asking if they no longer receive advice from their IFA.

    IFAs need a revolution of their own but I can understand why it hasnt happened yet. We have been through so much it just takes the fight out of you.

  11. AIFA an effective voice? For who? I think Stephen will be better suited to the ABI as the ABI response to the FSA’s retail distribution review, confirmed their ABI opposition to the current IFA distribution model.

    The ABI calls for FSA regulation to stop product providers from paying commission to IFAs or multi-ties for the provision of advice about investment products. It also demands a large increase in capital adequacy requirements for advisers.,

    The ABI (like AIFA) “claims” to represents the collective interests of the UK’s insurance industry.

  12. Stephen has left AIFA in better shape than it was a year ago, it was a close shave.

    If only the advice sector could afford the research required to guide the FSA ‘geeks’ who pore over spreadheets and computer models along a path which doesn’t damage the distribution model.

  13. Been the chairman of this organisation must be really hard job as you only have to read a few of the responses to articles on this site to realise that IFA’s have many different ideas of how the industry should go forward. The fact is that many IFA’s spend far too much time throwing stones rather than coming up with constructive comments. I also notice that many people do not put their names to comments – never really understood why people would do that as how can you take that opinion seriously.

    I think we all crave for a professional body that really represents IFA’s daily challenges but to do this we all have to start working together, sharing ideas, and promoting the benefits of using an IFA. After all that’s what professionals should be doing on a daily basis we may not like regulator and their decisions we can only give feedback and hope to influence the debate we can never be in a position to dictate terms to the regulator. For if we were in this position we would be no better than the banking industry, which have done this for the last 11 years since the FSA came into being.

    I was never convinced of Stephen Grey’s idea to allow non-IFA is to join AIFA as I don’t see the point. If many people in the industry choose to go down the restricted advice model then they should create their own professional body, AIFA should only be for independent financial advisers and nobody else.

  14. The fact that Gay is’nt going to be replaced really says it all?

    His job could’nt have been that important then?

  15. Aifa had been torpedoed below the water line before Mr Gay joined. His predecessor had left an unexploded timebomb; horrendous staff turnover and a £200k pile of do-do to be swept up. Not to mention having his authority totally undermined by members of Aifa’s Useless Council.

    Good luck to you Stephen. The ABI’s gain for sure.

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