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Backstage with Keith Richards – 6 April 2021

Blog

Publication date:

08 April 2021

Last updated:

08 April 2021

Author(s):

Keith Richards

Soon to step down!

You may have already seen the announcement earlier this week that I will be stepping down as Chief Executive Officer of the Personal Finance Society at the end of June after eight years at the helm.

I was appointed CEO following the implementation of the Retail Distribution Review in 2013 when many experts were forecasting significant contraction of our sector; but personally I felt more optimistic about the future and the sectors potential to succeed which I am pleased has proven to be the case.

Over the last eight years we have unquestionably evolved from an industry to a recognised profession, and I hope you will agree that we have equally evolved the Personal Finance Society to be a more modern, relevant, and inclusive professional body.

Contrary to the pessimistic predictions of contraction, the PFS has continued to see membership growth year on year to 40,000 individuals and over 200 Associate firms. As well as launching multiple initiatives and a significantly enhanced CPD programme, we have also strengthened the Society’s overall financial performance and resilience. 

During the past eight years, the PFS has also seen significant growth in attendance at both physical and digital events through the introduction of a more dynamic and business relevant continued professional development programme, including increased website traffic and downloads of ‘good practice’ guides.

Development of our Power Financial Planning programme has started to make a significant difference and I would like to thank all of our practitioner panel members for the contribution and impact they continue to make. Thank you to all our regional officers for the fantastic work they do on a voluntary basis without whom we could not have succeeded!

Every true profession has a formal pro-bono programme and it has been a key objective to become more visible to the public. Key drivers to enable this have been several consumer initiatives which include MoneyPlan with Citizens Advice, Forces MoneyPlan for Veterans of the Armed Forces and My Personal Finance Skills, a financial education and awareness programme working with schools across the country. Thank you to all to of our volunteers for representing the profession and for providing support to millions who otherwise can’t access it.

Setting up of the European Financial Planning Association-UK mutual recognition qualification programme and the cross-sector Pensions Advice Taskforce, including the Pension Transfer Gold Standard consumer guide and Financial Vulnerability Taskforce – which launched in January 2021 – are all key highlights I am proud to initiating with the support of a fantastic team.

Lobbying for the sector was a new concept for the PFS but since 2014 we have been tackling many of the key issues and our consultations with government and regulators have contributed to a number of working parties, including the government’s implementation group for pension freedoms, DWP and the HMRC intermediary forums and the HMT/FCA Financial Advice Market Review.

The future for the profession looks bright and it has been a tremendous privilege and an honor to lead the further evolution of the Society in what is now its sixteenth year. I have been overwhelmed by the huge number of messages from members and the wider market over the past two days and would like to thank you all for your kind words and best wishes.

Financial education programme extended

The Personal Finance Society has launched a new ‘Your Money’ section of the My Personal Finance Skills website to extend its financial education and awareness programme to people of all ages.

A survey of 2,000 adults in 2018, commissioned by Quilter, showed most (77 per cent) adults could not recall receiving any financial education in school and 79 per cent said they wish they had been taught about money matters.

Following the ongoing success of our school-focused programme ‘My Personal Finance Skills’, which has around 1,000 volunteer education champions across the UK, it seemed logical to extend the promotion of financial education, support tools and the principle of financial wellbeing to everyone.

The FCA’s recent consumer survey on Financial Lives identified that the stark challenges facing more than half of adults, a general lack of financial resilience and vulnerability to scams. Improving personal finance skills either a little or a lot can make life changing differences and additionally raises the profile of professional advice.

The responsibility for making money last a lifetime increasingly falls on the shoulders of individuals. Individuals take on the burden of risk in a way that they did not have to in the past when it was shared more with government and employers.

We hope this website will help adults gain the knowledge they need to be able to confidently rebuild their finances better in the years to come.

Financial Vulnerability Taskforce – 650+ supporters and counting!

I’m delighted at the response of Personal Finance Society members who have thrown their support behind the recently established Financial Vulnerability Taskforce. Going into the Easter break we had passed 650 registered adopters of the Charter and our next goal is to reach 1000!

Its ultimate purpose is to promote greater UNDERSTANDING, encourage appropriate BEHAVIOURS and establish GOOD PRACTICE in respect of consumer vulnerability. Find out more at www.fvtaskforce.com and register your support now (for free) to receive:

  • A Consumer Guide (to educate your clients about the support they will receive)
  • The Charter in Action (illustrating how the Charter can be applied)
  • A Digital Logo (a sign of your commitment, which can be placed on your website and stationery).

 

Best Wishes,

Keith

 

This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.