PIA morale crisis sees more top staff quit

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The Independent Online
THE PERSONAL Investment Authority, the new financial services watchdog, faces a morale crisis among its staff because of the problems in merging its two constituent regulators, Fimbra and Lautro.

The haemorrhage of top staff continued with the departure this week of Jim Gaskin, head of the investigations unit and a former deputy chief executive of Fimbra, the watchdog for independent financial advisers, which has merged with Lautro, the life insurance regulator, to form the PIA.

He is to become managing director of Countrywide, a 500- strong network of independent advisers. Mr Gaskin follows Colin Pinnell, former head of Fimbra legal services, who left in June.

Earlier this month, Robert Guest, another senior Fimbra legal officer, joined Johnson Fry Securities. Lautro staff are also understood to be angry that their pay has been frozen because they are perceived as overpaid.

Garry Heath, chief executive of NFIFA, a trade organisation for financial advisers, said: 'People were offered senior jobs by the PIA board at one level only to find that they were effectively being demoted or even told the appointments would not take place.'

David Peffer, the PIA's secretary, said: 'When we have a situation where staff from two organisations are brought together there are bound to be difficulties.

'Some members are used to a wider role within smaller organisations and are now doing more specialised roles within wider organisations.'

Mr Peffer admitted that some staff faced the possibility of a pay freeze. 'Proper remuneration structures have been adopted and that may mean that people do not receive a pay rise,' he said.

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