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Thames Valley

Chair: Colin Simmons (
Chartered Champion: Preeta Arora (
Education Outreach Ambassador: John-Paul Hamilton (
Membership Officer: Stephen Sexton (
New Professionals Officer: Marie Lawrence (
Professional Qualifications Officer: Myles Bigland (
SMP Advocate: Vacant


  • 2023 Regional Conferences and Events

    After a very successful year of conferences in 2023, we are rounding up the year with our Autumn conference. Partners include JUST, Quilter, Portfolio Metrix, Zurich and Fidelity.

    Click on the link below to register your place and find out more about what’s in store.

    More events organised by your regional committee will be advertised in due course. If you have any suggestions for local events you would like to see, please contact your committee.


  • CII pilots new form of financial planning assessment

    The ‘Shaping the future together’ consultation gave members and other key stakeholders the opportunity to feedback on the Chartered Insurance Institute’s (CII) proposed plans, as well as the services it delivers and how the professional body can best meet their needs and expectations in the future. The CII is conducting this pilot as the majority of financial planners who took part in the ‘Shaping the future together’ consultation told us they want us to bring in more flexibility and realistic assessed tasks to some of our assessments.

    In place of the scheduled written exams, the CII will be piloting coursework assessments for the R06 Financial Planning Practice unit of the Chartered Insurance Institute Level 4 Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning. The format of the coursework assessments for R06 will be assignments based on client case studies.

    Gill White, Chief Customer Officer of the Chartered Insurance Institute, said: “Our R06 unit currently uses on-screen written exams available four times per year. We are piloting a flexible, client-focused coursework assignment assessment, designed to fit in with contemporary working practice. This means learners with commitments that prevent attendance of exams on the fixed dates will not face a barrier to completion of the Diploma in Regulated Financial Planning.

    “The assessment is designed to meet the same syllabus learning outcomes and assessment criteria as the current R06 exam and meets the Level 4 qualification descriptors set out by education regulators.

    The assessment criteria include a requirement for analysis and justified recommendations, which are appropriate to assess in longer responses such as case-study-based assignments.

    “We worked with practitioners within the profession, advisory groups and the PFS Board to discuss how these skills are demonstrated in a professional context to design the coursework assessment approach and tasks.”

    A review will be undertaken later this year once the pilot is completed and feedback from candidates has been received. The Chartered Insurance Institute will then decide during 2023 whether assessment for the R06 Financial Planning Practice unit will switch from written examinations to coursework and the timetable for any changes.


  • PFS appoints Interim CEO

    Don MacIntyre appointed to full-time executive role.

    In August the PFS appointed Don MacIntyre as PFS Interim CEO.  Not only will he represent and advocate PFS members’ interests, he will also work closely with the Board to preserve PFS assets. Furthermore, he will enhance our governance and enable new operational processes that serve the needs of all members while maintaining public confidence in your services. 

    Look out for Don at a regional conference near you soon!


  • Welcome from Thames Valley

    Hi, I’m Colin Simmons, the Chair of the Personal Finance Society Thames Valley region.  We hold our PFS meetings, usually once a quarter, at The Reading FC football stadium where we welcome all members of the Personal Finance Society to attend.  Although we have started to grow our committee and have six members already, we are always looking for like-minded people to join the committee, so if you are interested please do get in touch.

    Our objectives are to support our regional members, as well as promoting the profession to the local community. We also wish to encourage, support and help develop new entrants into financial services and therefore assist you with your succession planning needs. We aim to do this by organising local CPD and networking events for our members and delivering financial education in schools. The aim of this page is to better communicate regional messages and news to you and help you to connect with us and your local peers. We welcome any feedback, comments and suggestions.  You can also find us on the Thames Valley PFS LinkedIn page.



  • Myth Busting webinars

    These 60 minute ‘Myth Busting’ CPD sessions are a series of virtual webinars with a difference!

    Our hosts Colin Simmons Business Development Manager and Les Cameron head of Technical at Prudential present these sessions in their own unique style, covering a number of complex technical subjects in an interactive style with very few slides. The interaction between the two presenters keeps the audience engaged and even with large groups they still encourage audience participation by using the online chat facility on the call.

    Want to know what Linda Bellingham, Steven King, Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption have to do with pension death benefits?

    These are just some of the answers we will provide along with that all important conundrum to university planning… How many Pot Noodles and Jaegermisters could my 18yr old grandchild buy with my generous intergenerational planning, and is there a better way that’s tax efficient and I keep control?

    Demystifying pension death benefits – Tuesday 2nd August, 9.30am

    There is often lots of confusion surrounding the flexibilities and legislation surrounding pension death benefits. Prudential Business Development Manager Colin Simmons & Head of technical Les Cameron are running a session looking at the various aspects of providing pension death benefits but importantly demystifying many of the myths that surround pensions and death.

    During this 60 minute CPD session Colin and Les will look at intergenerational wealth transfer and identifying areas for Advisers to discuss with clients in their usual entertaining format:-

    1. Pensions are IHT free
    2. Only DB transfers have IHT issues
    3. You can only put £3,600 in your child’s pensions
    4. Bypass Trusts are dead
    5. Your family can inherit your pension
    6. Pension death benefits are tax free


    Seven sensational Tax Myths’ CPD accredited session – Tuesday 16th August, 9.30am

    There’s often a lot of confusion surrounding the tax reliefs and subsequent tax benefits available when putting a bespoke financial plan in place for a client. To help clear up this confusion, Prudential Business Development Manager, Colin Simmons and Head of Technical, Les Cameron are running a session looking at a range of tax planning options and helping you better understand and look beyond the myths.

    During this 60 minute CPD session Colin and Les will look at intergenerational wealth transfer and identifying areas for Advisers to discuss with clients in their usual entertaining format:-

    This 60 minute CPD session will cover:

    1. Pensions are IHT free
    2. Only DB transfers have IHT issues
    3. You can only put £3,600 in your child’s pensions.
    4. Bypass Trusts are dead. 
    5. Your family can inherit your pension.
    6. Pension death benefits are tax free.
    7. You get £12,570 personal allowance tax free