1 year ago

Blue Chip Issue 81

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  • Financialplanning
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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 How has Covid changed the FPI? It has accelerated our IT strategy in that we moved faster into a fully digitalised world. It opened the rest of the world to our members who can now participate in FPSB webinars and online events. Covid led to the FPI changing its world-of-work completely – we work in a hybrid fashion now where staff work a minimum of 15 hours a week in a hot-desk environment and the rest of the week from their homes. Covid has changed the way the FPI measures outputs and engagement with our members. Engagement with members has increased by more than 50% via our digital tools and platforms. Lockdown for the FPI did not mean shutdown; it led to an increase in staff productivity and member engagement. Our members now have more time to spend time with their clients via online platforms. Technology platforms also enhanced a lot of their capabilities that resulted in members doing less admin as some of the functions were automated. Our FPI members indicated, via a recent study conducted by the FPSB, that 60-80% of their client meetings will remain virtual after lockdown is over. Why has the FPI vision and mission changed to include professional financial advice? The FPI stepped into the advice space a few years ago as we realised there were no real standards or competency frameworks in the space. We have since developed a competency framework and curriculum and registered theFinancial Services Advisor (FSA) designation with SAQA. We have two career pathways for FPI professionals – one that is advice-led and one for financial planning. Updating the vision statement also aligns with our advocacy stance around financial advice and planning. Advice focuses on professional financial advice that could include product advice as well, whereas planning focuses on holistic financial planning linked to life goals, objectives and long-term planning. The end of your first year as CEO collided with the pandemic. What did it teach you as a leader during this time? It taught me that as a leader, you need your team and cannot afford to be a lone ranger. When I stepped in, one of my mottos was and still is, “Where there is unity a blessing is commanded”. I have seen this manifesting throughout the pandemic as the team worked and stood together. It taught me to reach out to other leaders to learn from and lean on each other. I realised how important it is to take good care of oneself for the sake of the team. A tired CEO does not help the team at all! Why was 2020 a significant milestone for FPI advocacy? During 2020, we reconfirmed our position in our response to the draft COFI bill that the term financial planner needs legislative protection. This is to ensure that a financial planner must have the necessary abilities, skills and knowledge in place. Completing a holistic financial plan takes a high level of technical knowledge that stretches across all the financial planning components as articulated in the global financial planning curriculum standards. We need to get this right for the sake of the public at large. Why is the protection of terms important for consumer protection? The reason why this is so important from a consumer protection point of view is that there are a lot of people that profess to do financial planning and they do not. Selling a product to address a single need (like a funeral policy) is not financial planning. Financial planning focuses on the holistic picture that takes into consideration financial and asset management and investment, risk, tax, retirement and estate planning. It focuses on professional financial advice and not product-led advice but may include product advice as well. It takes a highly skilled individual to ensure that the relevant qualitative and quantitative information is collected and analysed using complex financial needs analysis methodologies to ensure that a custom-fit financial plan is designed and implemented for each client. One cannot merely copy and paste one client’s financial plan for another as we all have different goals, needs and financial objectives in life. LELANÉ AT LEISURE Aspirations as a child? Primary school – to become a singer. High school – to become a geologist or graphic designer. None of that came to fruition, but I am still singing in the shower and studying rocks that I pick up from all over the world and arranging them in an artistic way in my garden. And now? To be needed where I am. To be present and relevant and to participate in matters that make a difference in the lives of others. I am a servant leader and will continue to be one. Best advice ever received? Don’t take comments seriously from someone that does not know you personally. What does the word family mean to you? Everything. When no-one else is there, your family is there for you. What do you enjoy doing when not at work? Nature walks, studying something/learning something new and riding off-road bike with my husband (he is a pro, I am not). CAREER HISTORY After 11 years of working for a large insurer, Bezuidenhout joined the Office of the Ombudsman for Financial Services. In this role, it became clear that there is a lot more that the industry can do to ensure competent financial advisors and planners serve the public. This is where her journey at the FPI began, as the certification manager, then the head of certification and standards. She believes that we have a great profession that is yet to achieve its fullest potential! 24

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