Stephen Gay, the outgoing director of AIFA, has defended his tenure in the role and insisted his achievements have not always been recognised by the community, but said he believed it was the right time to move on.
His departure was announced today - coming just 14 months after he took up the position - and he will join the Association of British Insurers to become its new director of life, savings and protection.
Speaking to IFAonline, Gay said: "You can never tell when a good opportunity comes along, and it has. It gives me an opportunity to do some things I feel passionate about.
"There's always regrets when you leave a great team, and when you're working with people you like a great deal, that's not something you do lightly.
"If you leave a role when you think you've done everything you possibly could do, then you've probably been too long."
AIFA has been criticised by many IFAs over the past year for not doing enough to stem the tide of regulation, particularly with the retail distribution review.
Gay added: "What we have achieved is substantial and has often not been understood by the market.
"We've lobbied on issues that concern us about RDR and, after long consultation, the Treasury Select Committee's view turned out to be similar to ours."
Among the other achievements he cited was the delay of capital adequacy requirements and the opposition AIFA put up against the advertising tactics used by the Money Advice service and its description and ‘free' and ‘independent'.
"Perhaps one of our greatest achievements was barely on the radar screen of IFA, but would have been, if it hadn't worked," he said.
"That was the Consumer Focus attack on renewal and trail commission which happened in the summer and, as a result of ten months work on that, the challenge was seen off in a very emphatic way in the national press. That could have been a disaster for our community."
Another criticism of Gay has been his experience and his background within providers, rather than as an adviser.
However, Gay described this as a "lame and naïve argument", pointing out the qualities needed for his position.
"Who would be an ideal person to run a trade organisation? You need someone who is experienced in lobbying, who has connections in regulation and government and who has worked with the IFA community for a long time," he explained.
"Would it be a good idea for a former IFA to do that? Only if they have those capabilities and the desire to do it."
Three years at the Treasury
Address key mistakes
Letter from the frontline
Breaching SEC rules
In Leeds since 1969