Ryan, congratulations! After a gruelling competition, you have been awarded the FPI Financial Planner of Year 2021. What does winning the award mean to you?
Thank you. I feel incredibly honoured to be awarded the FPI Financial Planner of the Year award 2021. In fairness, receiving this award has a lot to do with my incredible team at Hewett Wealth – we can be proud of what we have achieved as a team.
This is my second year of taking part in the FPI Financial Planner of the Year competition; last year I made it through to the second round. I thoroughly enjoyed the journey, the process and competing against like-minded individuals within the financial planning community.
What was your motivation for entering the Financial Planner of the Year award?
I entered the competition for a number of reasons. By nature, I am generally a competitive individual and by entering the FPI Financial Planner of the Year award it gave me the opportunity to see where I rank against the best in the industry and enhance my service offering to our clients.
I formed an integral part in developing Hewett Wealth’s strategy, systems, procedures and policies and growing the business to where it is today.
By entering this competition, I was able to see how Hewett Wealth ranks relative to its peers. It afforded us the opportunity to enhance our value proposition as we learn and in turn thus enhance our service offering to our clients. I also feel that the industry will benefit from our “tried and tested” processes and procedures, in turn enhancing the IFA reputation and industry in general.
You hold a BCom Honours degree in Financial Analysis from Stellenbosch University. You have worked as an investment portfolio analyst, equity analyst, a portfolio manager with listed and independent asset managers and are currently a director and executive head of Hewett Wealth, Western Cape branch. Besides winning the FPI award, what has been the highlight of your career?
I have thoroughly enjoyed my financial service journey up to this point. Each aspect in its own part has played a vital role in shaping the financial planner I am today. If I had to single out a highlight it would be taking the leap to become a financial planner and establishing the Hewett Wealth Western Cape branch.
We set out to establish a truly independent, professional financial planning and advisory business focused on ensuring exceptional outcomes for clients over the long term. Five years in we can be proud of what we have achieved as a team. We have established a truly independent advisory business, with a national footprint, without compromising the integrity of the advice process and client experience.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
Building a professional financial planning and advisory business should always start with the client in mind – a clear focus on ensuring exceptional outcomes for clients over the long term and delivering an all-inclusive client experience.
I would like to see a greater emphasis placed on professionalism (Certified Financial Planner®) when dealing with client’s financial affairs. Secondly, I would like to see the industry move towards a more sustainable and mutually beneficial business model, including the move away from the upfront revenue model.
As this year’s FPI ambassador, how will you use this platform to motivate change?
The year 2021 has been a challenging and unusual one for us all, and for many of us it has placed significant stress on our practices. It is important to focus on what you can control and not focus on those items that are out of our hands which often distracts us from the important aspects.
I would like to contribute towards our industry by highlighting what we feel are the pertinent components of a well-structured and sound financial plan. Financial planners need to collectively create awareness of the importance of financial planning and the value a professional financial planner can add to clients’ financial affairs.
At Hewett Wealth, we openly discuss our “tried and tested” processes and procedures, hoping that in turn it will enhance the IFA reputation and financial planning industry in general. I will do my best to add value in professionalising the industry further so that it becomes a sustainable industry that we can all be proud to be part of.
What do you consider as the most important trait of an accomplished financial advisor?
Over and above obtaining a professional qualification such as a Certified Financial Planner®, I would say that an important trait for a financial planner would be to truly be yourself. Some aspect of your life story will resonate with your client and/or colleagues. This common ground is so powerful when establishing a lasting relationship with your clients. You want to create an environment where your client becomes part of “your” family from generation to generation, incorporating their personal, business and trust affairs where applicable.
Over and above obtaining a professional qualification such as a Certified Financial Planner®, I would say that an important trait for a financial planner would be to truly be yourself. Some aspect of your life story will resonate with your client and/or colleagues.
In your opinion, what do you deem to be the most critical component of financial success?
As with anything in life, effective and comprehensive planning is the only way to ensure the achievement of your long-term financial goals. A rigorous financial planning process, subscribed to by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa, incorporates six clearly established steps designed to ensure effective, professional, long-term and bespoke intergenerational financial planning.
The implementation of the longer-term strategy, underpinned by a rigorous ongoing management and review process, ensures that the expected outcomes are continually adjusted for changes in personal circumstances and market conditions.
How were you able to rise above the difficulties of 2021 and still manage to maintain the level of excellence required to win the coveted title?
The past two years have been challenging for us all and tested us in more ways than one. I was in a fortunate position to be part of an incredible team at Hewett Wealth and I had full confidence in our processes. Towards the end of 2020, we scaled up our business through technology, which allowed us to focus on the true components of financial advice and freed us up to connect with our clients. This afforded me the opportunity to enter the competition, giving it my best shot and I’ve been able to see where our practice ranks relative to peers.
Please share a message of motivation for those that have considered competing for the FPI Financial Planner of the Year award in the future.
Take up the challenge – it was an amazing journey that benefited our financial planning practice and me, personally, in more ways than I could ever have imagined.
I would encourage you to approach the process with an open mind as the competition will force you to consider all aspects of your financial planning practice, in turn enhancing your overall offering to your clients.
The competition also affords you the opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals within our financial planning community. Should you be interested, I would be more than happy to grab a coffee and chat through my experience in more detail.