Merger creates the largest global professional body in financial services

The CII and the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF) have announced that the two bodies will merge, creating the world's largest professional body dedicated to financial services.

The merged body, known as the Chartered Institute of Financial Services (CIFS),will have over 105,000 members across 170 countries. The CIFS will seek to secure and justify the confidence of the public in the professionalism of its members, worldwide.

This global platform is expected to bring a host of benefits, including:

- An international membership body promoting a clear set of standards to raise the profile of industry qualifications, behavioural standards and ethical practice, with consumers, regulators and government policymakers;

- A means to drive through a globally portable package of professionalism to enhance capabilities and competence within the insurance and financial services communities, designed to rebuild consumer trust and confidence;

- Create a global ethical framework to offer a professional response to the recent seismic events in global capital markets.

CII Group chief executive Sandy Scott, who will be chief executive of CIFS, said: “The recent turbulence in the world economy demonstrates the global nature of the capital and financial services markets, emphasising the urgency for professionalism to be addressed on a worldwide basis. More and more regulation will not tackle the fundamental need for real professionalism. This need will be met by the creation of CIFS.”

Joan Fitzpatrick, CEO, ANZIIF said that the merger reflected both organisations shared vision.

“Both ANZIIF and the CII strive to represent the professionalism of our members and the high standing of the insurance and financial services industries in the community," she said.

"As a merged organisation, rather than duplicating effort, the single entity will be able to focus on the key challenges of the industry and the needs of the membership. We will continue to hold values based on life long learning to ensure the highest standards of service and business success.

“Through the professionalism of our members the Chartered Institute of Financial Services will be the preeminent membership body for our industry, championing global standards and recognition for insurance and financial services professionals around the world,” she said.

The merger is subject to a vote of the members of both bodies, which will take place in February 2009. In the coming weeks, CII and ANZIIF will write to all members with full details of the proposed merger, including the timeline for the vote required to implement this change.

Lord Hunt of Wirral, who will be standing for election as the first chairman of the CIFS global board, said: “I believe the CIFS will rapidly become recognised throughout the global financial services market. The management teams will work effectively together to bring new and innovative services to market, and promote an ethical code around the world.”