3 years ago

Blue Chip Journal - October 2019 edition

  • Text
  • Edition
  • October
  • Assets
  • Investors
  • Funds
  • Investments
  • Planner
  • Retirement
  • Programme
  • Advisor
  • Advisors
  • Wealth


FPI FINANCIAL PLANNER OF THE YEAR 2019 Professionalism and personal growth Meet the FPI Planner of the Year 2019 Hardi Swart, CFP®, Managing Director of Autus Private Clients and Family Office FPI Financial Planner of the Year Hardi Swart’s financial planning journey started at a very young age. Brought up on a farm near Naboomspruit in Limpopo, he was only 16 when his entrepreneur father passed away as the result of a car accident. “My brother, my mom and I managed the family business for a couple of years. Then when I was in matric my mom got a great work opportunity in Cape Town. After matric I got a bursary at Stellenbosch and moved down here too. We flew to Johannesburg and went to the farm twice a month, and everything went well until our farm foreman passed away and we decided to sell the business lock, stock and barrel,” Swart relates. The family received a good offer for the farm and turned to a broker who was an old family friend for investment advice. “He invested the bulk of our assets into a property syndication, and let’s just say it didn’t turn out well for us,” says Swart. Fortunately, Swart and his brother had a bit of money left, which another broker invested in an endowment on their behalf. During his post-graduate studies, Swart met his future wife, who introduced him to her father, whose impressive track record in finance included a stint as a senior portfolio manager at Sanlam Investments. Inevitably, the conversation turned to finance. “I recall him asking me and my brother to come for an appointment. He had a look at our portfolios and pointed out that our endowments were inappropriate vehicles for our age – we were actually losing out,” recalls Swart. Shortly thereafter, Swart’s father-in-law invited him to join Autus Private Clients, the family wealth and investment advisory firm. Ten years later, he is managing director. He also serves on numerous industry bodies and is a member of the Investec Academy and the Allan Gray National Advisor Forum. On the private client side, Autus has some 700 clients in three categories – family office clients, wealth clients and prestige clients – grouped into 250 touch points. “A family with a father, mother, two children and a trust is actually five clients, but we see it as one engagement point, one person we can meet with and we will do the planning for the family,” says Swart. Every client offering is different. “Our main focus is higher-net-worth South African families, but we also have clients that are young professionals and clients where we take a longer-term approach. Where necessary, we will go out of our way to help – it’s not only about the money,” says Swart. Ten years at Autus have enabled Swart to grow “immensely”. “When I started my professional practice, I worked through every facet of financial planning. I attended a lot of training seminars. "In the beginning, there was never a permanent position where I had to sell a service or a product. I learned how to work with clients. A lot of young people come to the industry and immediately start working for the insurance houses where they become product salesmen from day one – they’re forced into a position where they have targets and have to sell products instead of creating great service,” says Swart. For Swart, becoming Financial Planner of the Year Award is the culmination of years of effort. “I first entered in 2015 and came in the top 10. Then we had our first daughter and another two daughters, twins, after that, so I waited until 2018 to enter a second time, when I came in the top three.” In Swart’s view, the process of participating in the FPI Financial Planner of the Year awards is above all an invaluable learning opportunity. “Every time you enter, the FPI gives you great feedback that you can then use to improve your business even if you don’t win. As my father used to say, ‘You don’t know what you don’t know’ – the awards process helps you find out where 12

FPI FINANCIAL PLANNER OF THE YEAR 2019 the missing pieces of the puzzle are and improve on that,” he explains. As this year’s FPI Ambassador, Swart is hoping to create a lot of awareness to improve the public perception of the financial planning industry. “Unfortunately it hasn’t always had the best reputation because there are a lot of people that sell themselves as financial planners but are actually policy salesmen. It isn’t necessarily their fault, it is just the industry as a whole. I’m hoping to carry the message that financial planning is actually a very professional occupation – that having a really good financial planner can actually add tremendous value to your portfolio as well to your life. The Certified Financial Planner qualification is an important part of that.” When Swart looks to the future, he sees opportunity. “Our industry is dominated by males, so I think there is a big opportunity for females and up-and-coming young professionals. Back in the day, you could be a part-time broker as well as being a preacher, a pastor, a builder or whoever – nowadays we’re getting people with Honours degrees and Master's degrees who are providing a comprehensive service. It’s about really adding value to your clients’ lives.” A passionate advocate of continuous professional development, Swart considers the FSCA’s requirement that financial planners be CPD compliant a step in the right direction. “Continuous professional development is a part of all professional occupations. It’s about constantly improving yourself and staying on top of what is happening in your industry. It does create a bit of red tape, which could be potentially a struggle, but I think in general it’s a positive thing. “It’s something we at Autus have incorporated into our practice for a long time. We’re constantly doing training programmes for the staff. For the industry as a whole, it is extremely positive and it is something that I am going to convey when I talk to people in my capacity as FPI Ambassador.” • Johan Swart, CFP® Johan joined the financial planning industry in 2006 and completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning at the University of the Free State in 2014. He joined as a member of the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) in 2015 and attained the Certified Financial Planner® designation in the same year. Johan has a passion for enabling families to manage their health and wealth to create significant legacies. Johan is a principal and founding partner of PPW and Associates, a proud Old Mutual Personal Financial Advice General Practice, and with more than 60 years combined experience in their practice, where clients can be sure that their advisors have the necessary skill and expertise to help them, with even the most challenging financial planning scenarios. They use financial insights and integrated wealth planning to create bespoke solutions for families and institutions alike. Introducing the runners-up Craig Turton, CFP® Craig believes that the key to financial freedom lies with Chartered Wealth Solutions’ Retirement Planning process. Retirement Planning is about envisaging the life you really want to live and then making sure you merge your money to that life. “Money, after all, should be your servant, not your master,” he says, whether you are planning for, nearing, or in retirement. Craig heads up the Wealth Creation Team and looks after clients who are not yet ready to retire and are still in the process of building their wealth for their Retirement. Craig obtained his Post-Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning and is a Certified Financial Planner® professional. He has been in the financial planning industry since 2010 and is a member of the Financial Planning Institute. Craig is tenacious, sincere and competitive. He is passionate about holistic financial planning, sport and his family. He is married to Lientjie and they have two children, Tristan and Kaylee. Greg Penfold 13

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