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Statement from CII Group Chair in relation to CII Group Board action

A statement from Helen Phillips, CII Group Chair

Publication date:

05 January 2023

Last updated:

06 January 2023

A statement from Helen Phillips, CII Group Chair

“It is with sadness that we have heard of Caroline Stuart’s decision to resign as President of the PFS Board. Undoubtedly, Ms Stuart’s role has been particularly challenging over the last few weeks and I wish her a swift recovery. 

Sadly, we must reiterate that the PFS Board governance failures – which are recorded on our website – are not, as claimed, baseless or without foundation, and suggestions that the CII Group Board has appointed further Institute Directors for any other reason is deeply misleading. The CII Group has weathered the financial storm created by the pandemic, while investing in its IT systems and buying out the group pension fund by deliberately utilising the Group’s central reserves and leaving the PFS and other company reserves untouched. This is good business practice and was discussed in detail at the organisation’s recent AGM, along with the need to establish a new recharge model that fairly reflects the costs of delivering PFS member services, which is recognised by both Alan Vallance, CII Group Chief Executive, and Don MacIntyre, interim PFS CEO. There has been no change in that position since the AGM. 

The decision to appoint further Institute Directors to the PFS Board was not an outcome the CII Group Board wanted or pursued, particularly during the festive holidays. However, after significant governance failings were repeatedly raised with the PFS, the CII Group Board was sadly left with no choice but to address these failings and take this action after its December Board meeting. Not only was this in the best interests of all PFS and CII members, it is also consistent with the general duties conferred in law on all company directors, as well as in the PFS Articles of Association. 

The new Institute Directors all bring immense professionalism and exceptional experience to the PFS Board, and are mandated to focus entirely on protecting and serving PFS interests, as well as establishing the long-term governance arrangements that will create a sound foundation for the future of the PFS. 

The CII Group Board recognises that PFS members have important questions about the appointment of further Institute Directors, and we will ensure further opportunities are provided for them to be asked and answered over the consultation period.  It is essential that PFS members are now consulted, and CII staff are already supporting this exercise as part of their normal, professional service to the PFS Board and members.

The CII Group Board remains deeply committed to its PFS members and - for the avoidance of doubt - there is no plan whatsoever to deregister the PFS. The CII Group Board sees no merit in such a move and wants to see the PFS flourish as a professional membership body. Nor will there be any change to any of the services received by PFS members. The CII Group will continue to deliver, as normal, all PFS qualifications, exams, certificates, training, events, and the statements of professional standing, as well as all operational functions, including marketing, HR and IT.

The PFS and CII are essential voices for the UK public in these challenging economic times and now more than ever, all our time, energy and resources should be fully invested in building a stronger future, and delivering exceptional services, for our PFS and CII members.”