The man charged with overseeing what he says will be a "mammoth" independent review of the role and purpose of the Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC) says an overhaul of the organisation was needed.
Simon Ellis, former head of Fidelity’s multi-manager business, says it is difficult to describe what the council does “in a sentence”, before adding “it shouldn’t be”.
He has been appointed FSSC managing director and will lead a team on an open consultation, seeking out the views of employers and stakeholders, which is expected to last until September.
In May, ministers in UK Government and Devolved Administrations decided the FSSC’s role and strategy should be subject to review.
While recognising the organisation had strengths, the council was judged not to have met the required standard.
“It will be a massive undertaking,” he says. “If we’re realistic, it could take forever.”
Ellis, who is currently helping husband and wife team Patrick and Ana Cukic Armstrong with their new multi-manager venture, Armstrong Investment Management, describes the number of stakeholders as “vast”, adding it will be “impossible” to collate the views of every employer and interested party in the UK.
Stakeholders include 56 trade associations, 39 professional bodies, 12 awarding bodies, four regulators, eight regional development authorities and three national development authorities.
But he says an independent review will need to be “extremely thorough”. “This will not be about filling in the gaps,” he says. “We need to take a step back and carry out a thorough review of the strategy of the council.
“There must be some form of skills council. Whether it’s this particular body in this particular form, I don’t know. I’m sure there are lots of people who would like to see the council disappear and something else come in.”
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