Our final MasterClass event of the year, hosted in Durban and titled The Value of Independence – Treating Customers Fairly (TCF), will give independent financial advisors (IFAs) valuable insights into how they can build profitable, future-fit businesses.
Taking place on 25 October, this MasterClass aims to equip IFAs with the essential tools and knowledge needed to preserve their independence, despite the economic and regulatory challenges they face.
The importance of independence
IFAs play a vital role in the financial services industry, says Ignatius Jacobs, Regional Manager of Masthead in KwaZulu-Natal. He states: “The contribution IFAs make to our industry and to their clients is of vital importance. Because of the value they bring to the table, the industry simply cannot afford to lose them.”
However, IFAs currently face several uphill battles, acknowledges Ignatius, who was a financial advisor before he began his career at Masthead in 2008 as a Practice Management Consultant, later becoming a qualified Compliance Officer, and subsequently assuming the roles of KwaZulu-Natal Area Manager in 2021 and Regional Manager in 2023.
He explains: “The growing pressure placed on IFAs by the ever-evolving regulatory landscape makes it increasingly difficult for them to run profitable, sustainable businesses. In addition to legislatives changes, economic factors and issues surrounding succession have compounded these challenges. And there is a trend where larger corporates are approaching IFAs, urging them to give up their independence and merge with them.”
Helping IFAs stay independent
The speakers and topics for the Durban MasterClass have been meticulously chosen to directly address the challenges confronting IFAs and provide them with the skills and strategies they need to confront these challenges head-on.
A big focus at the event will be on how IFAs can use legislation to their benefit. “We’ve noticed that firms that wholeheartedly embraced compliance, especially TCF Outcomes, manage to thrive despite the sluggish economy,” Ignatius says. “Rather than seeking creative ways to sidestep regulations, IFAs can find creative ways to make legislation work for them and their businesses.”
Meet the speakers
The event will open with a welcoming address by one of the regional office’s Compliance Officers, Kimera Singh, who will be followed by Joleen John, Group Managing Director at Masthead. In her presentation, Looking Beyond the Noise, Joleen will provide IFAs with valuable advice on how they can filter out the unnecessary “noise” around the shifting legislative landscape, and how they can use upcoming regulations to their advantage.
Johann Els, Old Mutual Group Economist, is up next. His presentation, International Markets and the Global Economy, will discuss the potential for growth in the South African economic landscape and provide a comparison between our economy and that of China and the United States.
Charene Nortier, Manager of Financial Advisors and Intermediaries at the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA), will shed light on the current risk areas that have emerged from FSCA’s onsite audits of FSPs over the past year, giving attendees insight into common compliance issues experienced in the industry. Additionally, Charene’s talk will address how proactive compliance with legislation can cultivate resilient, future-ready businesses.
In his first-ever address at a Masthead MasterClass, Advocate John Simpson, the FAIS Ombud, will present a talk titled Lessons from the Ombud – Treating Customers Fairly, which will elaborate on the common pitfalls in the advisory environment that often lead to client complaints. Furthermore, he will emphasise how advisors can significantly reduce their risk of client complaints by adhering to TCF principles.
Next on the agenda is Anri Dippenaar, Masthead’s Head of Compliance. Her presentation – FAIS/FICA Audits: Risks You Need to be Aware Of – will explore how Masthead can assist IFAs in navigating these risks. Anri will also provide insights into what advisors can anticipate in terms of regulatory updates related to FAIS, NCR, POPI, CMS and COFI.
To conclude the event, Ignatius will delve into the value of independent advice with his presentation, Your Future-Fit Business – The Value of Being Independent. He will share practical tips on how IFAs can leverage TCF and compliance to their advantage to foster sustainable businesses that continue to serve their owners well into retirement.
This event is a unique opportunity for IFAs to engage with their peers, regulatory authorities, industry experts, product providers and Masthead’s dedicated staff. “Our company is committed to assisting IFAs in achieving compliance, sustaining their businesses and, most importantly, ensuring their profitability.” says Ignatius. “Our purpose is to empower our clients to enhance the value of their businesses, and this MasterClass is an extension of that commitment.”