Chris Cummings, the outgoing director general of AIFA, has lauded replacement Stephen Gay as a 'man of integrity' and says his recent past as an Aviva director does not matter.
Cummings is one of several advisers and industry stakeholders who have voiced an opinion on Friday's appointment.
Chris Cummings, current AIFA director general
I wasn't involved in the recruitment. There is far more to Stephen Gay than a product provider employee. He has 20 years experience in the industry, including as a broker consultant on the front line. He has a firm grasp of the issues facing IFAs, which is so important because the director general must be taken seriously at all levels of industry and government in the UK and Europe.
It must also be someone who can get the trust of people in the industry. He will focus on that. Stephen is a man of integrity. He has also been dealing with IFAs for many years. It is important IFAs test his metal but I am sure he wont disappoint them. And it was important we brought fresh blood into AIFA.
My advice to Stephen would be: Members first, whatever and whenever, its all about protecting members' interests. Never defend the indefensible. Align yourself with the long term interests of the clients because it will always stand you in good stead to act in the members best interests."
Alan Lakey, senior partner, Highclere Financial Services
"I did not know he was applying. I hope he makes a good director general but I have no idea of his capabilities. He has an extremely difficult job ahead. It is a bit like a general entering a battle after losing six or seven battles and then facing the final battle over the next 18 months. Last year, he said the regulator has failed to consider the danger of adviser charging limiting access to advice for those on lower incomes and I hope he stands by those comments."
Malcolm Small, Tisa director of policy
"Stephen has got a very strong background in distribution and he has also been involved in public policy work so overall this is not an unreasonable appointment. He is a safe pair of hands and this is not a controversial appointment."
Fay Goddard, CEO, Personal Finance Society
"I know Stephen well; I worked with him at the PFF. He is a very capable guy. He has a good understanding of the IFA sector and a lot of experience. It is a good appointment."
Simon Chamberlain, CEO, Succession Advisory Services
"I do not know who Stephen is, but I would offer him my best wishes and say good luck. I am a little surprised the role has gone to somebody linked so much with large insurance companies and I just hope he has an understanding of the true difficulties distributors face."
Martin Bamford, managing director, Informed Choice
"It's a bit of a surprise, particularly as he has no direct IFA experience. You would have expected someone who knows the sector better. He's know to be quite pro-RDR. It strikes a bit of a wrong tone."
Martyn Laverick, marketing director, AWD Chase de Vere
"I think the man has the right skill set to do the job. He can bring his knowledge from the provider world to the IFA world. If you just stick to the IFA world you become polarised."
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