Research slams trade bodies

Industry trade bodies have been accused of a lack of effectiveness with research stating that a quarter of them are no more than old boys&#39 clubs.

The research from public relations consultancy Citigate Dewe Rogerson says 90% of members think associations could be more proactive, with almost a quarter of those polled identifying bringing about change as a fundamental role of trade bodies.

However, the survey says financial trade associations have an excellent reputation for being effective in their ability to lobby government. When asked why firms become members, one third of financial services companies prioritised trade associations&#39 ability to lobby on behalf of the industry. Others joined to gain access to networking opportunities and industry news.

Suzy Frith, managing director of Citigate Dewe Rogerson, says: “Today&#39s economic and political climate brings specific challenges to trade associations.

“Many are now acting as a mediator with a regulator. Balancing members&#39 interests in the short and long-terms is hard and means that reputation management has become critical.”

Ben Stafford, policy officer at the Association of Mortgage Intermediaries, says: “AMI is certainly not an old boys&#39 club. There is a common interest among AMI&#39s members in wanting to make sure their businesses remain compliant. Our main purpose at AMI is to ensure that is precisely what happens. Mortgage brokers are looking for someone to go into battle for them.”

And Sue Anderson, spokeswoman for the Council of Mortgage Lenders, says: “The big thing for a trade body such as ours, with such a high proportion of the industry as its membership, is to represent a collective view in a way that individual organisations are not able to.”