Stephen Gay is taking over as director general of AIFA. But can, and should, an insurance company director represent IFAs' concerns, fight your corner, fly your flag?
As distribution development director at Aviva, Gay said his philosophy on managing and leading people was being able to answer the question 'how do you see the future?'
For him it was to provide a vision that "aligns a team to a common cause".
As a man who has spent a lot of time on insurance companies' books (he worked for Prudential and Standard Life before joining Aviva), heading up the nation's biggest professional body representing IFAs will test that philosophy to its limits.
Already among the broad support for his appointment are whispers of concern over his background.
Simon Chamberlain, CEO of Succession Advisory Services, expresses "surprise" the role has gone to somebody linked so much with large insurers.
"I just hope he has an understanding of the true difficulties distributors face," he says.
It is a hope every IFA will share.
Gay has certainly been vocal on some issues vexing IFAs, and has often come out against FSA-orchestrated schemes.
He backed an independent board to oversee development and qualifications in financial services, and was disappointed when the FSA scrapped it in favour of an internal structure.
He rightly argued, along with the PFS and the IFP, that a neutral board would drive professionalism and promote trust in the industry.
In the past Gay has also criticised the regulator for failing to consider the danger of adviser charging limiting access to advice for those on lower incomes.
Nevertheless, IFAs are a sceptical bunch, and Gay must be worried his past provider affiliations will come back to haunt him.
Another problem, though perhaps easier to solve, is Gay's profile. Chris Cummings knew and was known by everyone.
By comparison, Chamberlain best sums up Gay's position.
"I do not know who Stephen is. But I would offer him my best wishes and say good luck."
Gay is going to need every ounce of luck, and good PR, he can get.
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Nomination deadline - 28 June 2019
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