The PFS, part of the Chartered Insurance Institute, runs the Chartered Financial Planner qualification as well as events and other qualifications. It recently reported membership had risen since the Retail Distribution Review by 15,000 to nearly 40,000 - a record total.
Ms Hughes worked for the Financial Times group for 16 years, having joined Financial Adviser as a reporter in 2003. She is well known to many across the personal finance profession.
In recent years she has hosted events, webinars, podcasts and edited the website FTAdviser.com website and trade weekly Financial Adviser.
As communications director of the PFS she will support engagement with many groups including the public.
She will be responsible for internal as well as external communications, press relations, social media and member magazines.
Ms Hughes said: “I am excited to join the largest professional body for personal finance and look forward to engaging with the membership and key stakeholders to support the organisation’s commitment to be modern, relevant and inclusive. We intend to better meet the needs of the public and members alike.”
Keith Richards, chief executive of the PFS, said: “We are delighted to welcome Emma to the senior team at such a key time in the ongoing evolution of the profession and look forward to her support and influence in building our engagement strategy with members, policymakers and the public.
“Her extensive experience, insights and achievements in professional journalism will play a key role in our own evolving engagement strategy.”