So, how is your 2020 so far?

… and what does the national lockdown mean to you?

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When I started writing this article, we were all living in a different world. It was before President Ramaphosa made his first address to the nation, when he announced a ban on gatherings of over 100 people and urged us all to practise the principles of social distancing, to wash our hands frequently and to try not to touch our faces. As I was putting the finishing touches on this article, the second announcement came out in which the president announced a 21-day nationwide lockdown. By the time you read this, things will probably have changed again.

So, what does the national lockdown mean to you?
It will change the way we live as families, and it will upend the way we meet with clients and run our financial planning practices. It will also have an indelible impact on professional training and development.
As I was pondering this last point, the FSCA announced that it would be extending the regulatory CPD cycle until 31 August 2020. This means that the 2021 regulatory CPD cycle will run over only nine months. As the news broke, members started asking if FPI would also be extending its CPD cycle.

In light of the lockdown, FPI will be extending our membership renewal period until 31 May 2020. This will allow members to complete all renewal requirements during the lockdown period. This includes completing your 35 “professional body” CPD hours. FPI will therefore not extend its CPD cycle until the end of August as 12 months (1 June 2019 – 31 May 2020) is ample time to complete your CPD hours.

We have gone from an era of constant change to an era of constant disruption.

FPI members have access to over 50 free webinars as part of their membership benefits. We therefore encourage members to make use of this time to digitally upskill themselves and thus ensure that they meet their CPD requirements. If you’ve already completed 35 hours, please don’t think that the learning stops here. The lockdown period is a perfect opportunity for you to broaden your professional horizons using our webinars. I will most definitely be completing a few…

The pandemic has also got me thinking about how the world of work may change once normal life resumes. I have no doubt that all businesses already realise some shortcomings in their contingency plans. But many of us are also seeing some good come out of the lockdown, not least the fact that modern technology makes it so very easy to liaise with clients via digital platforms. Every dark cloud has a silver lining. You just need to adjust your mindset to focus on the positives during these times and make an effort to help those you can help.

Lelané Bezuidenhout, CFP®, CEO, FPI

Company cultures will also be tested during this time. Delivering excellent customer service will be more of a challenge than ever but – thanks to modern technology and old-fashioned team spirit – many companies will get it right. Having a strong captain and crew to steer the ship through these troubled waters is vital as leadership skills will surely be put to the test by the crisis. It will take extreme focus to be able to see through the thick murkiness and remember the direction you need to take – your strategic goals.

We have gone from an era of constant change to an era of constant disruption. This means that every time you feel ready to implement a change something happens to disrupt that change… which means that you need to change again. Being constantly on edge is exhausting. This inevitably leads to a cultural paradigm shift: suddenly an idea which seemed foreign last year – checking into the office from anywhere in the world, for example – sounds 100% logical today.

Our evolution has been abruptly accelerated at a pace unknown to the current human race.

After all that’s already happened in 2020 – from the disastrous Australian bushfires to the very real possibility of the US and Iran going to war and the COVID-19 pandemic – we have no option but to look into the future at a much faster rate. Businesses are being forced to understand the real impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. One thing that’s now crystal clear for many of us is that technology is our friend, not our foe. There’s now no doubt in my mind that the financial planning profession should continue to embrace financial planning technology.

The lockdown period is a perfect opportunity for you to broaden your professional horizons using our webinars.

With all that’s going on, we need to critically focus our attention on what we can learn from this. We all have to think about how we can prepare the world for future generations who must still live on this planet, making sure that we leave a legacy not a disaster.

We have to seriously focus on changing our behaviour to become responsible citizens who think not only about ourselves but also about everyone else – especially those with much less than us. This highlights the need for financial planners to really make use of the FPI’s MYMONEY123 programme and to provide pro bono services to the public at large. Call me an optimist, but I’m convinced that some good can come of this crisis.

I wish you and your family well during the lockdown. We will not be the same after this, so here’s hoping it can lead to a brighter future.
I can’t help but wonder what the Freakonomics after the lockdown will be…
Before I go, there are two very important changes to take note of:

  • FPI’s membership renewal period has been extended until 31 May 2020.
  • FPI Professional Convention has been moved to 27 & 28 October 2020.

Please take advantage of the lockdown to renew your membership and register for FPI 2020 Professional Convention via www.fpi.co.za.

Stay safe,
Lelané