8 months ago

Blue Chip Issue 86

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Blue Chip Journal 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. Visit Blue Chip Digital:


BLUE CHIP PRACTICE MANAGEMENT | Profile Empathy is critical to success. Our remuneration model is designed to incentivise the correct behaviour. We have no cut-off dates to achieve targets or sell more. We sell advice, not products, and clients who receive good advice tend to be long-term clients. It is much cheaper to look after the clients we have than it is to start working with a new client, so we treasure the clients we have. We believe that by working as a team we are also putting clients first – there is always someone to deal with their query, and the attention they receive is personal as everyone is trained and willing to assist. Our MD sits on the FPI Technical Committee and has been involved in various FPI Committees over the past 20 years. We have also participated in industry events like Leaderex, at the FPI stand, and have written commentaries for Blue Chip in the past. To what extent do you use technology in your practice? We have always invested in technology as we believe it enables our staff and our business to perform optimally and proficiently. We utilise a Dutch system called iManage for all storage, which is encrypted cloud-based storage used mainly by banks and legal firms. Diligent recordkeeping and protection of data is key to our business processes. We also subscribe to value-adding services like Asset Map and Commspace. We have an outsourcing arrangement with an IT firm that provides live service support and checks the health of our network and equipment on a regular basis. Our IT systems enable all staff to work in the same way whether they are in the office or at home or travelling anywhere in the world. There was no disruption to business in 2020 when we were forced into lockdown during the Covid pandemic. What do you think are the keys to being a successful financial planning practice? We treat our clients the way we like to be treated. Empathy is critical to success. Behavioural finance has been the fastestgrowing area of financial planning education and training of late, and Covid taught us the importance of understanding the underlying issues that drive financial behaviour. We try to have the difficult conversations with clients early on and encourage them to commit to their own plans. Our business has a combination of structure and flexibility – structure around our procedures and how we work, and flexibility around the solutions we can offer clients – tailored to their likes and dislikes, so no one-size-fits-all. What are the biggest challenges you currently face as a practice? We are fortunate in that we have a good spread of clients and are not dependent on a few to sustain us, and we have committed and loyal staff. As we are still relatively young (six years old), our biggest challenge is going to be managing our growth and balancing that with finding the right staff to look after our client base. Regulation keeps changing which keeps the industry professional, and offshore investing becomes a larger part of our focus as the world becomes a smaller place and emigration increases. There are no givens in our planning for the future. How has being an FPI Approved Professional Practice benefited you? The experience of going through the FPI audit highlighted areas where our business could improve, which was helpful to us and strengthened us. It has been a difficult period to measure benefits, due to Covid, but when we applied, we were confident that if we wanted to be at the top of our field, we wanted to align with the best, and meet the highest standards, and that drove us to become an approved professional practice. What advice would you give another practice considering applying to be an FPI approved practice? Don’t hesitate on this. The application and approval process are a great eye-opener. The designation has significant meaning in the industry and to our clients. Would you like to add anything? We have spoken about the challenges we face as a business, but not about the challenges to our industry. It is widely recognised that transformation has been slow, and we welcome the internship programmes run by FPI and ASISA, which specifically target our industry. We encourage other financial planning companies to appoint newly-qualified graduates – it is a wonderful way to train young people and enhance the profession. The prestigious Approved Professional Practice accreditation is the result of a stringent audit by FPI to ensure that a business adheres to the highest standards of knowledge, expertise and ethical conduct. Michael Frantzeskou, CFP®, Director and Financial Planner, Integral Wealth Management 68

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