June, Youth Month, served to remind us of our responsibility to support and nurture South Africa’s youth. In 2021, the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa officially launched the Young Financial Planners Organisation (YFPO), a network of younger members who not only learn from each other, but also promote financial planning in their communities and provide support and mentorship to young people entering the financial planning profession.
Our special thanks to outgoing chair of the YFPO, Luke Martins, and congratulations to incoming chairperson, Gugu Sidaki, who is becoming widely known publicly as a writer and broadcaster on personal finance matters. For more information on the YFPO’s activities go to https://fpi.co.za/membership/yfpo.
Gugu’s appointment brings us in a roundabout way to August, Women’s Month. Here’s wishing all women in financial planning a wonderful Women’s Month – let’s continue to support, uplift and empower each other in our personal and professional journeys through wonderful initiatives such as the Women in Finance Network and the LeanIn Circle.
From an FPI point of view, one must remember that retirement savings are there for a reason.
Special congratulations, therefore, to three women who have taken up non-executive directorships on the FPI National Board: Olwethu Masanabo (re-elected), Jean Cooper (newly elected) and Vuledzani Gloria Dangale (appointed by the board).
We also congratulate Ronald Matande, who has been confirmed as executive director focusing on operations. Ronald has admirably filled the position held by David Kop, who left the FPI at the end of last year, and the board had no hesitation in making his position permanent.
To Sherwin Govender, the FPI’s retiring non-executive director, we thank you for your dedication and commitment to the FPI over the past four years.
Congratulations also goes to Johan Cloete and his team at the Integrity Academy in Pretoria, which has been approved as a recognised education provider. The Academy offers the National Certificate: Wealth Management (NQF level 5) and the Occupational Certificate: Financial Advisor (NQF level 6). Candidates successfully completing these online courses are exempted from having to write the Professional Competency Examinations for the Registered Financial Practitioner (RFP) and Financial Services Advisor (FSA) designations respectively. This brings our list of approved education institutions meeting the FPI’s standards to 10.
The new Continuing Professional Development (CPD) cycle began in June, with the following changes to our CPD policy:
CFP members’ requirements remain at 35 CPD hours per cycle, but FSA members’ requirements have been reduced to 25 hours and RFP members to 20 hours. The requirement for members whose retirement status has been approved by the FPI has been reduced to 15 hours. Of these, 10 hours can be claimed for mentoring upcoming professionals.
In July, the FPI focused on producing a coordinated response to National Treasury’s proposed two-pot retirement fund draft regulations, which involved the Competency Committee and its Advocacy Committee. In May, Treasury and the South African Revenue Service released the revised 2023 Draft Revenue Laws Amendment Bill and 2023 Draft Revenue Administration and Pension Laws Amendment Bill for public comment. These bills aim to implement the first phase of the two-pot retirement system – to be officially known as the “component retirement system”. The deadline for comment on the draft bills was 15 July.
The response involved a strategic Memorandum of Understanding and partnership with the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa (IRFA), whose member funds will be hard-pressed to begin implementing the new system, especially if there is no reprieve from Treasury on the implementation date of 1 March 2024. It’s important for the IRFA principal officers and fund trustees to know that the members of their funds can make use of the FPI network when it comes to advice on the choices offered by the new two-pot system – for many members, benefits counselling will not be enough.
From an FPI point of view, one must remember that retirement savings are there for a reason. Fund members must be aware that when part of their savings becomes available to them under the new system, it doesn’t mean they have to take it. We believe that consumers must obtain professional financial advice because the decision they make will impact their long-term investment strategy. Thank you for taking the time to read this foreword. Until next time.
Lelané Bezuidenhout, CFP®, CEO,
Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa