GIFS: Mobilising education to drive meaningful change in Africa

05 June 2019 Myra Knoesen
Kershen Pillay, CEO of GIFS

Kershen Pillay, CEO of GIFS

Driven to spearhead meaningful change in Africa, the Graduate Institute of Financial Sciences (GIFS), previously known as Masifunde Training Centre (MTC), endeavours to continue to harness the power of education to innovate within the financial services sector.

FAnews spoke to Kershen Pillay, CEO of GIFS, about the decision to rebrand from MTC to GIFS and the new offerings GIFS will offer. 

GIFS officially launched on 5 April, at the Zulu Nyala Country Manor in Johannesburg. “The launch coincided with our Annual Awards for Excellence and we were excited to have distinctive representation from across the financial services sector at the event,” said Pillay. 

Speaking of excellence, Pillay has been announced as a finalist for the prestigious 2019 Oliver Top Empowerment Awards. He is in the running in the Top Empowered Young Achiever of the Year category. It is the latest in a string of accolades for Pillay who was named the TYI Top 100 Young African Innovator of 2018. 

A reputation of distinctive excellence

“It has been 14 years since we ventured into the financial services education sector as Masifunde Training Centre (MTC), and we have established a sound reputation of distinctive excellence in terms of education within the financial services sector,” said Pillay.

“As we continue to spread our wings globally and refine our specialist offerings, the brand refresh to GIFS reflects a greater alignment to our mission to be the best provider of quality, affordable private education within the industry,” he continued. 

“The birth of GIFS allows us to present ourselves as a leading educational institute and mirrors our passion of harnessing the power of education to bring about positive change in Africa – for the benefit of future generations. This is embodied in the GIFS mission ‘to build a better Africa for others to inherit’,” he added. 

Pillay mentioned that the new GIFS logo retains some aspects of the MTC logo. “The rich shade of green, for example, carries through as it references us as The Green Team, an identity we have worked hard to build over the past 14 years based on credibility, goodwill and good standing within the industry. The GIFS logo – the tree of knowledge, symbolic of education – is an extension of this and represents change, growth, opportunity and a brighter tomorrow for all of us who call Africa home,” he said.


Equipping individuals with skills

“GIFS is more than a boutique financial services training provider. We are passionate about using education to generate significant, positive change by equipping individuals with skills and qualifications needed to excel in the financial services industry,” emphasised Pillay. 

GIFS strives to be the leading graduate institute within the financial services sector, acting as a portal for clients to access improved opportunities through customised, high-calibre education, training and services. GIFS is committed to continuous professional development and knowledge exchange through online, blended and traditional learning platforms. 

These qualifications are part of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) and are approved by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Legislation requires that companies and people giving financial advice or intermediary services must meet the Fit and Proper criteria. To this end, GIFS offers accredited qualifications that are part of the Financial Service Conduct Authority (FSCA) list of acceptable Fit and Proper qualifications. All FAIS-related programmes are aligned to the competency requirements of Board Notice 194 of 2017. 

New innovative offerings

“GIFS is committed to evolving our training experience through a combination of innovation and insight. This includes new offerings within our accredited and non-accredited programmes, an international exchange programme between South Africa and The Netherlands, and creative engagements on multiple-layered interfaces to generate awareness of the financial services sector and attract passionate role-players,” highlighted Pillay. 

“GIFS also plans to tap into the unrivalled skills and expertise of its exclusive database of MTC Alumni that comprises some of the most progressive minds in South African banking and insurance,” he added. 

Having expanded its national footprint to include corporate offices in Umhlanga, Sandton and Durbanville, Pillay said, “We are whole-heartedly devoted to using education as a tool to tackle unemployment and poverty on the continent. We believe in turning knowledge, passion, expertise and discipline into positive transformation to create a better Africa for others to inherit.” 

Editor’s thoughts:
The vehicles of change… training providers are critical to the growth and sustainability of the financial services sector, because continuous professional development, acquiring skills and qualifications are necessary to excel in the industry. Do you agree? Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts


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