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To the lighthouse

Chris Cummings
Chris Cummings

Going, going… but not yet gone. I was deeply honoured by the kind words sent to me when it was announced I was leaving Aifa. There will be time yet for further reflection but that is a subject for another day.

The work of Aifa continues apace and it was with a smile that I greeted news that the regulatory architecture is going to be radically overhauled. This is no simple changing of the brass plaque at Canary Wharf.

That news does, of course, mean a busy Aifa schedule is going to become even more onerous – as the hand-to-hand lobbying over the objectives, structure, role and costs of the new regulatory structure will be conducted at the same time as the current regulator is pursuing its objectives. Double the workload – both for companies and for Aifa.

It is at such times that the advisory profession needs its trade body most and where we will prove our value in representing our members’ interests so vigorously.

Aifa benefits from a very strong executive team and an outstanding group of policy professionals who are experts in regulatory detail while being on top of the debate about the future direction of social policy.

Such things are essential in these times of change.

We are in the midst of finalising reports on wrap due diligence, new RDR-compliant business models and an update of the successful business transition academy that now sees around 1,000 members visiting it to use the services offered free as part of their membership.

Of course, the UK may be an island but it is very firmly part of the European regulatory land mass. With proposals for a rewrite of Mifid, Prips and the IMD now making their way through the system, it is essential the UK IFA voice is heard loud and clear.

Aifa has increas-ingly devoted more personnel to these matters as the need to campaign for a fair deal has come to the fore. Often, we find that other European member states do not have strong IFA professions, so regulation risks inadvertently damaging us because the only voice in those countries is coming from the banks.

These are challenging times and I believe that members are lucky to have such a strong Aifa team to negotiate on their behalf. Amid the turmoil, Aifa provides the lighthouse to help members steer a safe course. It has been an honour to help with that journey.

Chris Cummings is director general of Aifa

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