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Backstage with Keith Richards

17th September 2015

Paraplanning, Pilgrim's, Pension's, and Regulation! 


It's been an extremely busy period since my last blog post, with various events and meetings around the country, including an opportunity to attend our first two Purely Paraplanning events which took place in Bristol and Leeds. I'm really pleased with the interest we've had in these events and following our London event at the end of the month we will have seen almost 350 paraplanner members in total. All credit and thanks to our Paraplanner Practitioner Panel chaired by Cathi Harrison, Founder of Parasols. It's been a brilliant response and we've received some really encouraging feedback so we will be putting this energy and enthusiasm into providing further dedicated support for this growing sector within our membership.

One of my more interesting meetings from last week was to meet with the CEO of another PFS - the Pilgrims' Friend Society - a charity supporting older people. We had a valuable discussion about the current and future care needs of the UK public and what key challenges we expect to be facing. We discussed the lack of care home spaces and the impact this will have on society with an increasing number of older people seeking some form of domiciliary care. There will naturally be a big knock-on effect to families as grown-up children will have little option but to care for their parents, often full-time.

I'm pleased to say that the Pilgrims' Friend Society is very keen to address these issues and to also help bring the different industry groups together to work on solving these challenges - which was the reason for our meeting. Having become aware of our 'United Profession' campaign, they are keen to recreate this initiative for the later life care industry. Of course, I was more than happy to share our experience in bringing together the different stakeholders and parties involved within the financial services profession and to initiate discussion to help the progression of our profession.

This past Monday saw the annual Personal Finance Society strategy planning day. Personally, I feel we're in a really exciting time at the Society, where we can look at what we've achieved already this year and also start making future plans for the other initiatives which are in the pipeline. The overall outcome of the day was to ensure we continue to evolve our role as your professional body and to further expand our presence in the consumer space. This is a very important step in raising our profile and in turn, raising the profile and value of professional advice amongst the wider public.

On Tuesday we held the Society's 2015 Annual General Meeting, in the Great Hall here in London. It was very well attended by members and all motions were carried. That included the election of our new President, Brendan O'Ciobhain; as well as the appointment of John White and Jonathan Rees to the Board; and due to the end of his term of office, the resignation of Garry Hale from the Board. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank David Thomas, Immediate Past President, for his enthusiasm, dedication and guidance during his term as President of the Society.

Yesterday I was off to yet another meeting, this time at the ABI. I am delighted to be involved in the Pensions Language Steering Group which is looking at how we can develop common and consistent language to use across Financial Services. This is really important, particularly as it is ultimately for the benefit of the consumer - which is what we're all about. Improving the language and terminology that's used throughout Financial Services materials will really help to increase public confidence and trust in our sector.

Today I have the pleasure of spending the morning with Pensions Minister, Baroness Altmann as she has graciously agreed to take part in some upcoming activity of ours. This includes an interview in the next edition of FS magazine, so keep an eye out for that landing on your doormats in the next couple of weeks.

Finally, my last meeting of the week will be with the FCA tomorrow, as I've been invited to join in their senior manager panel discussion, so I will update you next time on what we discuss. In the meantime, I wish you all a great weekend.

Best wishes,


About the Blog

In this blog Personal Finance Society CEO Keith Richards will be keeping you up-to-date with all the Personal Finance Society news, projects and initiatives that we have in the works.

Read past editions of the blog »