2 years ago

Blue Chip Issue 81

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Blue Chip is a quarterly journal for the financial planning industry and is the official publication of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa NPC (FPI), effective from the January 2020 edition. Blue Chip publishes contributions from FPI and other leading industry figures, covering all aspects of the financial planning industry. Blue Chip takes this opportunity to wish the FPI a happy 40th anniversary. Congratulations!


FPI EXCLUSIVE Making a difference in the lives of others After a journey of over 20 years, Lelané Bezuidenhout is now the CEO of the FPI where she makes a difference in people’s lives by serving the FPI’s vision of professional financial planning and advice for all. Blue Chip was honoured to interview this esteemed leader. 20

FPI EXCLUSIVE Lelané, you were appointed as CEO of the FPI in June 2019. Please describe the trajectory that led you to this point. I started my career in the financial services industry 22 years ago. I have always had a passion for finding solutions to problems and strengthening processes that complement business needs. From a young age, I was a natural leader. My strengths are positivity, and being a mentor, coach and relator. Reflecting on my journey, I realise that each teaching moment was necessary to prepare me for role of FPI CEO. There is nothing glorious about being a CEO, it is a position that comes with great responsibility and accountability. Discipline and agility are two of the most critical components of financial success. What are the defining highlights of your career? While I am thankful for all that I learned there, leaving the corporate world was one of the defining moments as it moved me into uncharted waters. The world outside the security of a big corporate is different and offers divergent opportunities. Joining the FPI was another defining moment. It is quite a humbling and enriching experience, at the same time, to work for an NPC, as it is most definitely my calling to serve others. What do you deem to be the most critical component to financial success? Having a personalised financial plan with clearly defined goals and adhering to it. Discipline and agility are two of the most critical components of financial success. The discipline to stick to the plan, and awareness of the ever-changing financial and regulatory environments. We need to understand that while a financial plan is formed around one’s unique goals and needs, it is not cast in stone and must change at various life stages. Please outline areas of growth for the FPI in the past two years. The FPI has been through the forming, storming, norming and now performing stages. The area where a lot of progress was made in the past two years was formulating a robust governance structure based on King IV principles. Our governance body, the board, has come a long way in the past two years and is instrumental in moving the FPI forward, from a strategic point of view. The FPI strengthened its stakeholder relationships by ensuring that we have a multi-layer engagement strategy across the FPI and not just in the office of the executive. There is a succession and contingency plan should a key staff member leave. We became more risk aware and refocused on a robust enterprise risk management strategy. We enhanced our digital capability and increased our footprint, which resulted in a larger audience across all our social media platforms. This links into the FPI’s strategic objectives in creating a greater awareness about the value of financial planning and working with the FPI’s professional members. The past two years have been challenging for all considering the Covid environment – but despite these challenges, the FPI managed to retain 97% of our professional members. Our consumer education team had massive successes in moving our FPIMyMoney123 programme online (see FPI YouTube channel) to ensure that we are there for consumers that need help with basic financial matters. Another area where we experienced growth was in our online CPD offerings. We improved the quality of our speakers as well as the content that speaks to professional financial advice and planning. We delivered two very successful conventions in 2019 (faceto-face) and 2020 (completely virtual due to the pandemic). We managed to turn the FPI ship around while we, as a team, refocused our outputs on moving the profession forward and focusing on our vision and mission statements as well as our strategic goals. What are the FPI’s core values? Our core values are none other than the core values that we expect our members to adhere to, being: • Client first. Acting in the best interests of our clients • Competence. We believe in upskilling our staff • Confidentiality. Information that we hold on behalf of members is protected • Diligence. We take pride in what we deliver • Fairness. We treat others how we would like to be treated • Integrity. Always be honest, consistent and transparent • Objectivity. We avoid all possible conflicts of interest • Professionalism. We are excellent at everything that we set out to do. What are the FPI’s near-term objectives? Leadership • The FPI leads the financial planning profession and professional advice space through articulation and implementation of a robust and well-defined strategy. • Secure organisational sustainability (GCR, financial, operational excellence and the FPI’s B-BBEE level). • Lead diversity and inclusion in the financial planning and advice profession. • Grow the number of professional memberships. Awareness • Empower consumers by creating awareness of the benefit of professional financial planning and advice through financial education and a pro-bono programme fully supported by members. • The value of professional planning is showcased to consumers through a brand ambassador programme and media engagement. Recognition • Achieve regulatory/legislative recognition and protection of financial planning as a profession and the FPI as the standardssetting body for the profession. 21

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