New professional body will have 105,000 members across 170 countries.

The Chartered Institute of Insurance (CII) has declared its intention to restore integrity and confidence in the world’s battered financial system by merging with its Australian sister body.

The CII is set to become the Chartered Institute of Financial Services (CIFS) when it amalgamates with the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIF).

Lord Hunt, the former CII president, said the plan was “bold and ambitious”, adding that he wants the merger – expected to go ahead in the new year – to “lead the way” in standards.

“I am very excited that we are launching this proposal to create the highest possible professional standards across the world.”

Sandy Scott, the organisation’s chief executive, says: “We are going to see a veritable tsunami of regulation, not just in the UK, but across the world if we are not careful.

“It seems to me the real problem is the need to restore confidence in customers by showing them that the industry can be professional.”

The CII has already contacted 80,000 members in preparation for a vote on the proposal next February.

If the merger is approved, the CIFS will have 105,000 members – 30,000 with chartered status – across 170 countries, making it the largest professional membership body for financial services in the world. Its single code of ethics and standards should smooth business and trust between its members, says the CII. Income will rise to £36m, £8m more than the CII alone, but membership fees are expected to stay the same.

Sandy Scott will become the new group’s chief executive and Lord Hunt will be its president.

Joan Fitzpatrick, the ANZIF chief executive, will head the body’s Australia and New Zealand arm.

Fitzpatrick said: “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 lifelong learning to ensure the highest standards of service and business success.”

Fay Goddard, chief executive of the Personal Finance Society (PFS) which comes under the umbrella of the CII, said: “This merger allows PFS to benefit from being part of a larger, international organisation.

“The new name is more relevant to PFS members and champions the quality of the qualifications held by its members.”