The appointment of Stephen Gay as AIFA director general came as a surprise to many, primarily because knowledge of the contenders had not been made public.
Whilst unexpected, it was not as big a surprise as the abdication of Chris Cummings, who chose an inappropriate time to jump ship, this being the most dramatic financial services upheaval since Laurence 'Jim' Gower's original Financial Services Act.
Blog sites have been crammed with comments regarding his suitability and I have been asked by many commentators for my opinion regarding his aptitude for the position.
This is not a question that I can answer with any clarity or pertinence, because I have never met Stephen. However he has not been reluctant to come forward with his views since becoming director of distribution development at Aviva.
Jumping from Aviva to AIFA is like leaving the Bosun's position on a huge freighter for the captain's post on HMS Daring.
Back in February, Stephen suggested: "The FSA needs to concentrate on the point of the RDR, improving consumer access."
Few will disagree with this, however his November 2009 comment regarding the distribution model ("The model we have been operating in our industry for generations has had inherent conflicts of interest") implies an acceptance that commission is outmoded.
Stephen believes in professional qualifications, that provider factoring makes sense and that providers should not be employed as pseudo-regulators. Regarding the lack of a 15-year longstop, he is on record as saying that there is a strong argument for a 15-year time limit on complaints but, considering the current reputation of the industry, it is the wrong time to introduce it.
Adviser Alliance broadly shares the same ambitions as AIFA although, alongside a large chunk of the adviser population, we believe it has failed to deliver.
One reason frequently voiced is that the director general has not experienced, at first hand, the travails IFAs have laboured under and, just as importantly, has little knowledge of the day-to-day workings of an adviser.
Equally, my experience has been that knowledge of the myriad FSA/FOS rules and guidance has been lacking and such a lack has been evident in the failure to provide the rebalance that financial services needs.
In short, Stephen Gay has an uphill task made that much harder by the weight of expectation and the potential devastation the RDR will cause.
Adviser Alliance is eager to find common ground with AIFA as it makes sense to work together on those issues where commonaility is found. This was not possible under the former director general but, hey, that was yesterday. Now's the time to look ahead.
Two global vehicles
'Further plug advice gap'
Must appoint separate CEOs and boards
Advisers do come out well
Will report to Mark Till