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Waiter, there&#39s a walrus in my soup

It always seems rather sad to me when people who have enjoyed considerable eminence in business, or in politics, try to remain in the limelight by knocking the efforts and initiatives of those who succeed them. This was my reaction to Robert Reid&#39s contribution (Money Marketing, June 7).

Robert stumbles back into the arena like some financial services equivalent of John Prescott, with a haymaker to the chin of Paul Smee of Aifa for Advice First (an excellent initiative supported, incidentally, by Sofa, of which Robert was once Chairman).

He then follows this with a backhanded swipe at the IFP and the CFP accreditation which, surprise, surprise, he unsuccessfully tried to secure for Sofa during his time in office.

While there is undoubtedly merit in the US system proposed by Reid – that of evaluating and benchmarking the quality of advice through consumer surveys – we must first of all do much more work towards creating a cohesive and readily identifiable profession to evaluate.

Knocking initiatives that are designed to help do just this is hardly helpful and unworthy of a former industry leader.

There currently seems to be more willingness between the chief executives, presidents and chairmen of our various associations, institutes and trade bodies to work together than I have known in my 38 years in the business.

This is evidenced not only by Advice First but also by other joint initiatives such as the Financial Toolkits publication and the co-oper-ation between the IFP and the LIA with the Pinnacle of Professionalism programme.

The next thing that we must surely try to do is to sort out some order from the alphabet soup of acronyms and post-nominals that we have inherited and try to blend them into something much more palatable for our members and consumers alike.

When we come to strain that soup, the last thing we want is to find some grumpy old walrus sloshing about in it.

Simon Pym Williamson


Institute of Financial Planning, Bristol


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