3 years ago

Blue Chip Journal - January 2020 edition

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FOREWORD To 2020 and beyond! An exciting year lies ahead for the financial planning profession Lelané Bezuidenhout, CFP®, CEO, FPI Welcome back from a well-deserved rest into a new month, new year and a new decade. I am personally very excited about new opportunities for the financial planning profession and the importance that consumer education is receiving via professional bodies like FPI, National Treasury and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). Before we move into 2020, let’s recap some important recent events. What happened in December 2019? Besides the festive season, FSCA blessed us with the following discussion documents for comment: 1. Proposal TT Discussion Document with feedback template – feedback is due 28 February 2020. 2. Advisor Categorisation Discussion Document with feedback template – feedback is due 31 March 2020. 3. 2nd Investments Related Matters Discussion Document with two annexures – feedback is due 31 March 2020. 4. Equivalence of Reward Position Paper – not for comment. 5. Intermediary Segmentation and Related Matters paper – not for comment. 6. General RDR Status update document – not for comment. Of particular importance is the Advisor Categorisation Discussion Document. I only refer to a few proposals as space does not permit a full discussion. In a nutshell: FSCA basically moved away from the initial three types of advisors as per Proposal K in the 2014 RDR document (Independent financial advisor (“IFA”); Multi-tied financial advisor or Tied financial advisor) to an apparent less complex two-tier advisor categorisation model. The mentioned tiers are “product supplier agent” (PSA) and “registered financial advisor” (RFA). These terms/tiers have been around since the 2015 Phase 1 RDR update. Then, the regulator already recognised that these terms may not necessarily be appropriate as customer-facing titles and that further work is needed to establish descriptions of these type of advisors (PSA and RFA) that will promote an understanding of the tiered categories. After the regulator did some independent consumer research during 2018, some “designations” to describe the two tiers are: Designations to describe PSA tier Product supplier agent (take note of a footnote in the paper) Product supplier advisor Tied financial advisor Restricted financial advisor Aligned financial advisor Financial consultant Designations to describe RFA tier Registered financial advisor Licensed financial advisor Non-tied financial advisor Non-restricted financial advisor Non-aligned financial advisor Financial broker I note with concern that reference is made to “designations”. We must bear in mind that designations have a particular meaning in law, specifically the National Qualifications Framework Act: “professional designation” means a title or status conferred by a professional body in recognition of a person’s expertise and right to practice in an occupational field. To prevent even further consumer confusion, one should perhaps rather refer to “regulatory category” than designation. Additionally, the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO) describes these categories differently. OFO has descriptions from Insurance Agent, to Investment Broker to Insurance Representative / Salesman / Advisor. (OFO codes are updated by Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs) and in our instance, INSETA.) Financial Services Providers (FSPs) must also take note of the Group structures proposed in this document – it proposes quite significant changes to PSA (“Tied”) and RFA (“Broker”) channels. Against this background, it is imperative that the industry and profession comment on these discussion papers. The terms “financial planner” and “financial planning” What really excites me is that RDR proposals T, U and S are coming into play in Section 5 of the Advisor Categorisation Discussion Document. FSCA confirms the intent to acknowledge the professional status of qualified financial planners by reserving the use of the designation “financial planner” for those holding a 4

formal professional designation in this discipline. FSCA proposes that persons designated as CFP® professionals by FPI will be the only ones who may call themselves financial planners. FSCA furthermore suggests that not only the designation “financial planner” but also the terms “financial plan” and “financial planning” or other derivatives be reserved for the use by qualified CFP® professionals only. Section 5 also states that distribution channels describing themselves as “financial planning divisions” will not be permitted to do so unless all advisors operating at that channel are duly qualified. Here, one should also look at the individuals on the pathway to CFP® certification (i.e. someone still studying towards a Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning / BCom Hon in Financial Planning or someone who obtained the qualification but still needs to complete the FPI mentorship programme or obtain relevant financial planning experience or write the CFP Professional Competency Examination (PCE)). This is a great victory for the financial planning profession and testimony to years of hard work. 2020 and beyond at FPI As shared with our members at the 2019 Annual Refresher – FPI’s long-term strategic goals can be summarised as LARS (leadership; awareness, recognition and standards). Leadership (25%) FPI is the pre-eminent financial planning and advisory standards authority for competent and ethical financial planners and advisors. CFP® certification and all of FPI’s designations represent the standard of excellence for financial planners and their respective disciplines in South Africa. Awareness (15%) The public is widely aware of the value of the financial planning process and of CFP® certification and financial advice related designations. Recognition (30%) Financial Planning is recognised as a profession. FPI is recognised by regulation/legislation as the standards setting body for professional financial planning and advice. Standards (30%) FPI has established standards of excellence for financial planning and advice and members are in full compliance with our certification programme standards. FPI’s top priorities for the next three years are: • Revenue mix: FPI requires a revenue mix that is not just from member dues to remain sustainable. FPI is looking at additional income lines like sponsorship, CPD events, CPD activity approvals, and growing FPI’s other membership categories. More focus will be given to ensuring a growing professional membership base which will include retaining existing members and growing the pipeline (students and candidates, converting affiliate members and exploring the younger generations (Millennials, Gen Z and Alphas)). (L) • Organisational sustainability: Strong governance structures and robust risk management. Full implementation of King IV (keeping the principle of proportionality in mind). • Legislative protection of the terms “financial planning” and “financial planner” and ensuring that FPI is recognised as the standard-setting authority for financial planning and advice. (R) • Greater consumer/public awareness of the benefits of dealing with a professional member, specifically a CFP® professional of FPI. (A) • FPtech: Incorporate FPtech abilities, skills and knowledge into existing financial planning and advice competency profiles, curriculums and practice standards in collaboration with FPSB global network and be seen and recognised as the standardsetter for FPtech. (S) • Develop marketing and communication strategy to raise the profile of the profession, professional certification and FPI. (A&R) Here are some of the strategies that FPI is employing to assist with the above: • Diversity and inclusion strategy (L) • Relevance strategy (AR) • FPtech strategy (AR) • Young professional and youth strategy (YFPO) (AR) • Certification and standards strategy (S) • Membership hub strategy (members, retention, technical support and CPD) (L) • Marketing and Communications strategy (L) • Business development strategy (L&AR) • Information technology and governance (ITG) strategy (L) • Governance, compliance and risk (GCR) strategy (L) • Human capital management (HCM) strategy (L) • Financial risk management strategy (L) In closing As one can see, 2020 is already a jam-packed year. This is a time to be excited about the financial planning profession! FPI looks forward to working side by side with all members, committees and stakeholders in delivering on our vision and mission statements, achieving strategic objectives and moving the profession forward. Wishing you a blessed 2020 and beyond, Lelané 5

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