Join Masthead for a unique opportunity across three Eastern Cape cities, where independent financial advisors (IFAs) can gain invaluable insights to enhance their compliance standards and build future-fit businesses.
From understanding the evolving investment landscape to discussing the high-risk areas identified by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) during their recent financial service provider (FSP) audits, the Eastern Cape Masthead MasterClass sessions offer IFAs a rare opportunity to hear directly from a diverse group of industry experts.
Titled Being Future Fit in an Ever-Changing Legislative and Economic Landscape, these MasterClasses are planned in three cities: George (29 August), Gqeberha (30 August) and East London (31 August). They have been meticulously tailored to address the most pressing challenges faced by IFAs in the region, says Ferdi Coetzee, Masthead Regional Manager for the Eastern Cape.
Challenges confronting IFAs:
Ferdi – who has been with the Masthead Group since its inception in 2004, fulfilling several roles in the company until he assumed the position of Eastern Cape Regional Manager in January of this year – notes that many advisors in the region are grappling with the repercussions of the current economic climate.
“As clients scale back or cancel policies due to affordability concerns, IFAs find themselves in a challenging situation,” he explains. “FSPs with stable recurring income streams navigate these setbacks more effectively, whereas those relying on upfront income are experiencing financial strain.”
Succession planning is another concern, he adds. “Many IFAs in the region struggle to attract and retain young advisors who often migrate to larger urban centres to join corporate firms.”
Compounded with these challenges is compliance with the ever-changing regulatory obligations placed on FSPs. Ferdi explains: “Working with our clients, we’ve found that many struggle to stay abreast of evolving legislation, notably the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA). What’s more, the administrative burden associated with compliance processes leaves little time for Key Individuals to focus on the strategic business aspects of the practice, which is vital for the future longevity of the practice.”
Ferdi emphasises that legislation has grown more comprehensive and intricate, making it imperative for FSPs to thoroughly grasp and adopt the required compliance policies and procedures. “Mere surface-level compliance won’t meet regulatory standards during audits. FSPs – and their employees, from Representatives to admin staff – must be able to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of all policies. And the FSP must be able to show that these procedures have been customised and applied to the business.”
As a response to this, the Eastern Cape Masthead team has been aiding IFAs in the region to enhance their existing compliance levels to align with the new and advanced requirements established by the Regulator. Additionally, the team is assisting clients in proactively preparing for impending legislative changes.
Helping IFAs become future fit:
The Eastern Cape MasterClass sessions have been thoughtfully curated to provide IFAs with deeper insights into the challenges mentioned above. Moreover, attendees will receive guidance on effectively navigating these obstacles to construct sustainable, profitable businesses capable of weathering economic downturns and adapting to regulatory shifts.
The events will commence with a welcoming address by Joleen John, Masthead Group Managing Director, who will discuss the present economic situation and how clients are concerned about its effects on their futures.
Ferdi’s presentation, Your Practice, Your Retirement, will offer practical strategies for IFAs to deliberately design, shape and invest in their financial planning practices to establish a future-ready, profitable and enduring business. This is vital for succession planning, whether the IFA owner intends to sell the business or scale down their involvement when reaching retirement age.
For a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of investing and saving within a fluid economic landscape, Christine Ellis, PPS Group Area Manager for the Eastern Cape, will delve into recent shifts in the investment arena and their impact on the industry.
Addressing compliance and legislation, Anri Dippenaar, Masthead’s Head of Compliance, will explain how the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) Outcomes have shaped the regulatory landscape. Furthermore, her presentation, FAIS/FICA Audits: Navigating Risks, will outline how Masthead aids IFAs in risk management and preparation for FAIS/FICA audits. She will also discuss how the regulatory landscape will change in the coming years.
The East London MasterClass will feature Marc Alves, Team Resolutions Manager for the FAIS Ombud, and Candice Jane, the Assistant FAIS Ombud. Their presentation, Lessons from the FAIS Ombud, will delve into recent Ombud cases to analyse trends and identify pitfalls in the advisory domain that lead to client complaints and regulatory actions.
In Gqeberha and George, Charene Nortier, Manager of Financial Advisors and Intermediaries at FSCA, will take to the stage. Her discussion, Insights from the FAIS Office, will provide attendees with a deeper understanding of the Authority’s audit process. She will share the primary risk areas identified during FSP audits over the past year, shed light on FSCA’s FSP selection criteria for audits and discuss present and forthcoming financial soundness reporting obligations. Charene will also look at how proactive compliance with legislative requirements helps build future-ready advisory firms.
Attendees also stand to gain from the opportunity to engage with the presenters, event sponsors and their fellow financial advisors. Ferdi adds: “The sense of community you get at these events is amazing. It reassures IFAs that they’re not alone in this ever-changing industry, and that there are companies like Masthead that dedicates its efforts and resources to ensuring the sustained independence and business success of IFAs.”