Every year the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) recognises one of its members as the financial planner of the year. It is an award that is not given lightly, and puts entrants under some extreme scrutiny.
“We see it as a celebration of excellence in its purest form,” says the FPI’s CEO, Godfrey Nti. “The winner must be someone who upholds best practice standards of the profession as well as imparts smart insights that will create long-term value for clients.”
Only those who carry the Certified Financial Planner® Professional (CFP®) designation are eligible to enter, and Lelane Bezuidenhout, head of certification at the FPI, says that the aim of the competition is to reward the best of the best for their commitment towards the FPI’s vision – professional financial planning for all.
This year’s award was presented at the FPI’s annual gala dinner in Cape Town last week. It went to Mark MacSymon, a wealth manager at Private Client Holdings based in Claremont, Cape Town.
MacSymon says that the greatest benefit from the competition is that it makes entrants strive to deliver a better service for their clients.
“You have to ensure that you are applying best practice and that your standards are the best in the industry,” he says.
Critical to this is ensuring that the client’s interests are always put first.
Last year’s winner, Bruce Fleming CFP®, says that the judging process, which takes place over three rounds, is extremely tough. This however serves to bring out the best.
“It’s a very, very stringent process, and what it does is it takes you to levels you didn’t think you could go to,” Fleming says. “Until you enter the competition you don’t realise how tough it is, but it’s fantastic in the way it tests you and takes your practice to new levels.”
The judges study every aspect of a planner’s practice, from how they establish relationships with clients to whether they adhere to health and safety regulations. There is no element that goes unchecked.
The result is that the award identifies someone who is out of the ordinary.
Bezuidenhout added that all FPI members adhere to very high competency and ethical standards. They are trusted professionals who understand the client’s financial needs because they understand them as a person. They will work with the client, taking all aspect of their finances into account.
They will design an appropriate financial plan and coach them through all the necessary steps to achieving financial freedom. CFP® professionals are planners of the highest calibre who work under a strict code of ethics which ensure that the client’s interests always come first.
Brought to you by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI).