This year marks a significant achievement for Masthead – in October, the company will celebrate its 20th anniversary.
From its initial objective of assisting independent financial advisors (IFAs) with their compliance obligations to helping them build profitable, sustainable businesses, Masthead has come a long way since its inception in 2004.
Reflecting on the company’s 20-year journey, Group Managing Director Joleen John sees it as a symbol of stability: “It shows that the market values what we’re offering. The regulatory environment is everchanging – as is the business landscape in general – and the key to our success lies in our ability to adapt to these changes to meet the evolving needs of our clients.”
Navigating two decades of change and evolution
While risk management and compliance services remain cornerstones of Masthead’s offerings, the company has evolved to address the dynamic needs of financial advisors and other businesses.
Joleen explains: “Initially dedicated to FAIS [Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act] compliance, our services have expanded significantly over the last two decades. Our journey has seen us not only address various legislative changes, for example FICA [Financial Intelligence Centre Act], POPIA [Protection of Personal Information Act], and NCA [National Credit Act], but also expand our horizons to offer practice management and business development services for our clients, helping them thrive in an increasingly complex environment. Today, our clientele extends beyond the financial services industry to include legal practitioners, estate agents and others.”
Moreover, in 2016, Masthead launched its world-class Learning Centre, which hosts diverse programmes and courses that not only fulfil training and continued professional development (CPD) requirements but also empower clients with the expertise to run lucrative businesses.
In addition, Masthead has established enduring partnerships with regulators throughout the years. Joleen notes: “This has enabled us to interact with the regulators and give input on regulatory matters. And through the Masthead Financial Advisor Association, our members can raise issues and developments that affect IFAs. We can then take these concerns to the regulators and speak to them in a collective voice on behalf of our members.”
A recent success story in this collaboration was Masthead’s input on the Draft Joint Standard on Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience and the Draft Joint Standard on IT Governance Risk Management. Masthead’s comments led to revisions accommodating smaller FSPs, permitting them, for example, to conduct internal cybersecurity reviews, instead of hiring an external party to do so.
Preparing for the changes ahead
Looking ahead, Joleen envisions more bespoke solutions for businesses, recognising that each business is unique. “We want to make sure that our offering is tailored to what your business needs.”
And as it has done throughout its history, Masthead remains committed to staying ahead of regulatory changes, especially with the impending Conduct of Financial Institutions (COFI) transition. “We’ve already started implementing new systems and training staff to help our clients seamlessly navigate this regulatory shift,” Joleen adds.
Masthead aspires to be a true partner and enabler for FSPs and other clients. “Our expertise in business development and broader compliance needs in the financial sector is growing. We’re future fitting our staff to be the most technically proficient team in the industry, ensuring we can help our clients thrive despite the many challenges posed by a world in constant flux.”
Towards the future
“We will continue to evolve with the everchanging landscape, as demonstrated by our 20-year history of adapting to changes – that is our promise,” Joleen declares.
Expressing gratitude to all contributors, she acknowledges past staff, board members, shareholders and Association members. “We’ve built a good business together, and we’re never going to compromise on the quality of our services.
“Here’s to two decades of success and a future that promises continued growth and innovation.”