AIFA's sister trade body, the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says while it is sad to see Smee go, the move will not affect its day-to- day running.
AMI director Chris Cummings says: “I'm very sad to see Paul go – he's the person with the best contacts book in the regulated world.
“He has provided a guiding hand rather than becoming actively involved in AMI.
“He realised it was always essential for AMI to develop its own personality and has allowed us to progress our own agenda.”
Cummings says the interview panel to find Smee's replacement has not yet been finalised but AMI will be represented.
Smee has held his post at AIFA since September 1999. During that time he has navigated the organisation and its membership through numerous regulatory reviews, including the consultations on depolarisation, and has steered the industry through changes in legislation, regulators and rules.
John Gummer MP, chairman of both AIFA and AMI says: “The IFA industry is in Paul Smee's debt. He has fought the IFA corner tirelessly and has earned AIFA the reputation of a representative body which punches well above its weight.
“I know that I speak on behalf of all the AIFA Council members and staff when I say that we are sorry to see Paul leave. He is a leading industry figure and a key contributor to debates on all issues affecting IFAs at home and in Europe. He will be a huge loss to the industry. We wish him well in his new post as chief executive of APACS.”