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Personal Finance Society
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Backstage with Keith Richards

11th November 2015

Proactively progressing our public profile.


The last fortnight has involved back to back meetings, with the main highlight being our first National Financial Planning Symposium in London last Monday (2 November). It was a fantastic day and a real pleasure to see so many of our members in attendance - 650 in total! Whenever you hold a live event for a large number of delegates, there's always something that will go wrong, and on this occasion I can safely say that we can give that award to the inconvenient fire alarm that went off during our President, Brendan O'Ciobhain's, opening speech. Credit goes to the delegates, and to our wonderful event staff who managed to make this early morning hiccup a non-issue. 

The rest of the agenda flowed smoothly and we were able to enjoy the insight and knowledge shared by a selection of our members and professional speakers throughout the day. This was followed by our annual Awards Gala Dinner which was a real celebration of the good work that our members have done over the past 12 months. Our host, Alistair McGowan, entertained the guests with a witty repertoire including his impressions of Roy Hodgson, Roger Federer and Andy Parsons to name just a few. In my opinion, he was an excellent host and did a great job at introducing and presenting the awards to the deserving winners. All of the finalists were fantastic ambassadors and I'd like to once again extend my congratulations to all the finalists and winners.

The following day saw our bi-monthly board meeting with our future strategy and the current Financial Advice Market Review (FAMR) dominating discussion.

I was also invited to another meeting at the Treasury to discuss a possible secondary annuity market. It was a constructive meeting and it is clear that some stakeholders are more enthused than others and want to see the option implemented, although we have highlighted that commercial motivations must avoid conflicts of interest. It is perhaps obvious to many that this is fraught with potential risk and consumer detriment, which of course must be mitigated. The Personal Finance Society is 'cautiously supportive' and will continue to work with government accordingly. We will also continue to engage member input and we always welcome your views on any key subjects.

A lot of my time in recent weeks has been taken up with interviews and calls with various editors from consumer financial press. It's a key part of our ongoing work to raise the profile of professional financial advice and to engender confidence and trust in our profession.

We continue to comment in the FT, Mail on Sunday, Express, Express on Sunday, Guardian, Independent and were recently invited to speak on the BBC's MoneyBox programme. Our President's theme for 2016 is to raise the profile of professional advice....and that's what we intend to do. 

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 »