AIFA members are demanding to be consulted on future appointments to the agenda-setting AIFA Council following the "surprise" selection of Stephen Gay as director general.
The current director of distribution development at Aviva was last week named as the replacement for Chris Cummings.
While his appointment has been broadly welcomed, some AIFA members have expressed their surprise at his selection and argue they should have been consulted during the approval process.
Gay was chosen by an appointments committee made up of AIFA chairman John Gummer and representatives from the boards of AIFA, AMI and the AFB. The AIFA Council represents the body's 20,000 members.
Terry O'Halloran, founder of O'Halloran & Co, says: "Chris Cummings gave plenty of notice that he was leaving, so there was time to conduct a candidates' beauty parade.
"I had no idea how Cummings' successor would be chosen and, now he has, I am still none the wiser, yet once again I am footing the bill."
AIFA members pay an annual subscription and some argue this alone should entitle them to a say in appointments.
"Without a doubt we should be consulted," AIFA member Peter Chadborn, co-owner of CBK Colchester, says.
"AIFA can't be expected to request nominations from every member, but I would like to see a shortlist with a quick summary of candidates' credentials. Members could then vote."
As well as heading up AIFA, Gay will also become director general of the AMI and Association of Finance Brokers (AFB).
He joins from Aviva, where he helped develop and launch the industry's first financial adviser academy and led the insurer's work around the RDR.
Gay has also had roles with Standard Life and Prudential and enjoyed a short spell in a consultancy role with IFA network giant Sesame.
Some advisers have expressed concern about Gay's past with providers and his lack of "direct" intermediary experience.
"The fact that Gay comes from Aviva does not sit comfortably," Chadborn adds.
However, outgoing director general Chris Cummings, who was in the role for five years, described Gay as a "man of integrity".
"There is far more to Stephen Gay than a product provider employee," he says. "He has been dealing with IFAs for many years. It is important advisers test his metal but I am sure he won't disappoint them."
A start date for Stephen is still being agreed, but Cummings' last day will be 9 September.
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