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Why is the PFS working against its own members?

The Personal Finance Society is certainly hitting the ground running but it gives the impression that it is stubbing its toes rather badly.

Within two months of being created, it has managed to “disenfranchise” a substantial majority of members who are MLIA (Dip).

It has achieved this by allowing the public to access from the PFS website only PFS members who hold an ALIA (Dip) or above.

The reason for this dubious decision is supposedly to raise standards but it was not voted for by the membership.

This is disgraceful, as it suggests that those who are qualified to MLIA (Dip) are not capable of handling such enquiries.

When someone is qualified to a higher standard, it does not necessarily follow that his or her level of honesty and integrity inevitably go hand in hand with that qualification – an aspect that you cannot determine by examination.

I, and I know others who are MLTA (Dip), pass on business to others where specialist expertise is required.You cannot be expert at everything, although some would believe they are.

It would also appear that the PFS is promoting and endorsing the report by Charles River Associates for the ABI, wherein it proposes the abolition of indemnity commission. It is bad enough that the FSA and others are promoting this ideological stupidity, completely against all the evidence that there is no commission bias. But why should our own organisation be doing something so detrimental to its very own members?

The Personal Finance Society and its collaborative masters, the Chartered Insurance Institute, seem to be living up to all the expectations that I feared when the merger was proposed and which went ahead on a very small overall vote compared with total membership.

It is about time that the PFS remembered where its loyalties lie and verify this by having all its members’ best interests at the heart of each and every decision it takes. Aifa has no difficulty in doing so, why should the PFS?

This can be demonstrated, first, by making all members eligible for contact by the public through the PFS website and, second, by defending our position regarding the continued payment of indemnity commission.

David Barnett
DPB Independent Financial Services, Middlesex

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