Institute "deeply disappointed" over breakdown

The Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) has blamed “financial discrepancies” in the accounts of its Australian sister body for ruining merger plans.

The institute said it was “deeply disappointed” the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF), which had agreed to a merger in May last year, revealed a week before Christmas it would make a loss for the second year in a row.

Insurance Times understands although the CII knew of ANZIIF’s loss the year before, it thought the organisation would make a profit on this year’s accounts through growth in exams and membership fees across Asia.

However, ANZIIF failed to hit its targets in Asia as companies scaled back on training and investment in the wake of the financial crisis.

The idea for the merged group – which would have been called the Chartered Institute for Insurance and Financial Services (CIIFS) was hatched two years ago between Lord Hunt, the former CII president, and Joan Fitzpatrick, the ANZIIF chief executive.

The merged organisation would have had 105,000 members across 170 countries, including a strong presence in Asia.

Trevor Matthews, the CII president, said he did not know why the merger failed. “I think the world’s changing pretty rapidly and – I’m not an expert here – I think some of the reactions to the downturn meant that some training they were hoping to do in 2008 didn’t happen and has been pushed into the future. I don’t know all the details.”

The merger plans proved unpopular with many CII members – so much so, the unified body was forced to drop its planned new name of the Chartered Institute of Financial Services to the CIIFS so that “Insurance” was included.

The CII could have faced problems persuading members to vote for change in the planned February vote.

Stuart Randall, director at Brokerbility and CII member, said: “I do not know what market research they had done because the members I spoke to, said they could not understand it and they did not like the idea of a merger with the Australia and New Zealand organisation. It seemed obtuse.”