18th May 2022

CII and PFS Presidents reflect on purpose
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Peter Blanc, president of the Chartered Insurance Institute, kicked off yesterday's Ambassadors in Action conference by reflecting on how the FCA’s Consumer Duty puts the onus on insurance and personal finance professionals to be able to demonstrate customers and clients understand the products they purchase and advice they receive.
Volunteers who lead the Chartered Insurance Institute’s 56 Local Institutes, 26 Personal Finance Society’s regional committees and five membership societies met at the Ambassadors in Action conference in Birmingham to reflect on their shared purpose and good practice in supporting members.
Kicking off the conference, Blanc said both insurance and personal finance professionals should “be singing from the same hymn sheet” and highlighting the value of advice if they want to meet the regulator’s Consumer Duty requirements. He said “The only way for consumers to be confident that they have purchased products suitable for their needs, and that will truly respond when the chips are down, is for a professional adviser to help them through the transaction.
The importance of advice and professionalism and consumer trust is common across general insurance and financial planning, and this should be the common thread which joins the Chartered Insurance Institute and Personal Finance Society.”
At the conference, volunteers heard how the CII’s wider membership used the Shaping the future together consultation to call for a common strategy, clear purpose and objectives for Local Institutes, Regional Committees and Societies.
Blanc reflected on how the consultation showed, 125 years since Local Institutes came together to form the Federation that went on to become the CII, members still want support in acquiring skills and knowledge.
He said “Encouraging collaboration between insurance and personal finance volunteers for the benefit of the entire membership has got to be a good thing and it is particularly topical this year as, would you believe it’s the 125th anniversary of the forming of the Federation of Insurance Institutes that would later be granted a Royal Charter and eventually become the CII.
It would quite literally be impossible to deliver the aims and objectives of the CII without the selfless support of our volunteer community up and down the country.”
Sarah Lord, President of the Personal Finance Society, considered how both the insurance and personal finance profession recognise the importance of attracting and retaining talent to ensure there are more qualified individuals able to raise public trust in protection and the power of financial planning.
She reflected on the value of volunteering via Local Institutes, Regional Committees and membership societies to develop professional’s knowledge, give back to the community through initiatives such as My Personal Finance Skills and help others acquire the skills needed to achieve rewarding careers.
Ms Lord said “We learn so much by coming together, sharing good practice and reflecting on how our synergies across the two distinct professions can benefit society.
Our hundreds of volunteers, who contribute their time and expertise, are vital to keeping the Personal Finance Society and CII modern, relevant and diverse.
“Volunteers are vital to ensuring the PTS and CII is practitioner-led and I applaud their efforts.”
Also at the conference Jonathan Clark, interim ceo of the CII, thanked volunteers for pulling on their reserves last year rather than taking additional grant payments.
This action helped the professional body achieve a consolidated operating surplus of £3.3m in 2021, compared with a £4m operating deficit in 2020.
Clark said “The volunteers who run our Local Institutes, Regional Committees and Societies are the beating heart of the CII.
“Our volunteers are on the ground, living the values, sharing the knowledge and skills that are required to improve the public’s financial resilience and grow the number of professionals able to offer advice to the public.
It was great to meet with so many of our volunteers today and thank them for the role they play in raising public trust in the insurance and personal finance profession.”
Local Institutes, Regional Committees and membership societies are run by insurance and financial planning professional volunteers, with support from CII Group staff.
Members are provided with a programme of services, typically including:
-Technical, market and regulatory CPD events.
-Soft skills and business-related training.
-Social and networking activities.
-Student career guidance and mentoring.
-Local news and market information.
-Charitable or volunteer opportunities to support the local community.

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