PIA set for recognition this week: Board expanded to 21 in attempt to make industry representation acceptable to members

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THE SECURITIES and Investments Board is this week expected to announce its intention to recognise the Personal Investment Authority as the new regulator for the private savings market.

On Tuesday the PIA approved the final version of its prospectus, which is expected to be published next Monday. This will clear the way for life insurance, unit trust and financial advice firms to seek membership of the new regulator.

But the PIA yesterday gave up efforts to contain the size of its board and expanded it to 21 members.

Just over a year ago the SIB, to which the PIA reports, sought to limit the structure to more manageable levels. It advised the PIA to restrict itself to 15 directors instead of the 30 then proposed.

The PIA continued to maintain an even balance between public interest and industry members, despite criticism from some life assurance firms worried that practitioners had too little influence.

Until this week the PIA was planning a 19-strong board, with nine industry members, nine public interest representatives and Colette Bowe, the chief executive.

However, it proved hard to juggle the industry representation on the board in a way acceptable to members, leading to the decision to add one new industry and one new public interest member.

As part of the reshaping of the board, independent financial advisers lose one seat and are now down to three, although they are still the largest single group. The unit trust industry also loses a seat.

Four practitioner representatives have resigned - Paul Bateman, John McKirdy, Ann Nevitt and Chris Sharp.

But six new members, four of them practitioners and two public interest directors, were appointed, with one further public interest director to be appointed.

The public interest directors are David Llewellyn, professor of money and banking at Loughborough University, and Jeremy Mitchell, an independent consumer policy adviser and former director of the National Consumer Council.

The new industry members are Lawrence Churchill, chief executive of NatWest Life, Peter Gray, chairman of Tunbridge Wells Equitable Friendly Society, Geoffrey Lister, chief executive of Bradford & Bingley Building Society, and Michael Pickard, chairman of Royal London Insurance.

(Photograph omitted)