Don McIntyre highlights the key work of the PFS in his first months as interim CEO
Farrier this year, I was delighted to be appointed interim CEO of the PFS and, in my fi rst three months, I have relished the opportunity to work for the benefit of our membership, alongside a dedicated, passionate group of professionals within the PFS board, as well as members who are so generous with their time to support an ‘incomer’ like me. From the outset,I have been squarely focused on driving forward our mission of a professional society that strives to meet its members’ needs effectively, efficiently and consistently. I look forward to maintaining this rocksteady commitment in the months ahead.
But I would not be authentic if I did not share that after more than 60 days in the job, there is some interesting terrain to travel through.
I have also been working closely with our counterparts at the Chartered Insurance Institute, as welook to realign and enhance our strategic relationship and build a productive, forward-looking future for the PFS, while preserving and protecting the unique identities of both our organisations.I remain convinced of the important role the financial planning profession has to play in our society, especially in this challenging economy. I am pleased to be able to work with all members and the board to contribute to this.
In November, I was one of more than 2,400 people lucky enough to attend the Festival of Financia Planning. I was truly inspired by the passion and vibrancy that so evidently filled Birmingham’s NEC and it was excellent to finally be able to meet so many PFS members in person. After three years of forced isolation for some, dealing with the pandemic as businesses while supporting clients and families during really tough times, the excitement to meet, laugh, debate and socialise in person was intoxicating.
I met with a wide range of professionals who were all open and honest about the opportunities and challenges they face in their work. Their astute focus on their role in our society and how many sought to champion the profession left me enthused about enabling their interests.
I was also encouraged by the diversity of practices within the profession. It was plain to see from the attendees that no individual practitioner or fi rm is the same as another. They all offer unique skillsets and services with different levels of tailoring to their clients.
Such a varied and dynamic body of specialists is truly something in which PFS members should take pride.
I am proud to represent such a unique, driven and compassionate membership within the PFS
At the opening of the festival, I was pleased to welcome our new president, the second woman but the first paraplanner to hold the position, Caroline Stuart. Her passion and laser-like vision for encouraging new talent from diverse backgrounds into the financial planning profession is as exciting as it is infectious.
As part of her opening speech, she presented a video featuring some of the people of Birmingham, which reflected their thoughts on planning their finances as costs continue to rise and their wish to keep an eye on building their future prosperity and choices. Although many interviewed were a number of years away from engaging in professional financial advice, it was revealing in that it demonstrated how in such straitened times, people tend to think about their finances in terms of tomorrow, the day after, or the week after that.
This might seem at odds with the professional planning sector, in which advice is about today, but fundamentally it is about how people should think today to enable a stronger, sustainable future. I was struck by the confidence Caroline exuded in the face of this. She made clear to people looking towards a big goal like leaving a job, starting a new business, or supporting a family, that there is a highly qualified, expert group of professionals who can help them achieve every milestone.
Alongside the festival, the PFS also published the results of a poll on how people have been affected by rising bills. Th is showed in stark detail the real human impact of increasing costs as people across the country navigate the challenges of the current cost-of-living crisis.In these trying times, I was conscious of how generous our members have been towards people in the most vulnerable of positions.
This is not just true for people in the UK. Th e PFS chose Refugee Support Europe as the charity for the festival and this effort supporting Ukrainian refugees has seen many members volunteering their time and resources to a noble cause. It was inspiring for me, as interim CEO of a group known for money and financial success, that the passion and irrepressible drive of these professionals is rooted in such generosity and kindness.
I am proud to represent such a unique, driven and compassionate membership within the PFS and I look forward to continuing to drive their interests forward as your interim CEO.
Don McIntyre is interim CEO of the PFS