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FAIS Exams are hard, but perseverance pays off

10 June 2015 Sandra Dunn, INSETA
Sandra Dunn, INSETA’s CEO.

Sandra Dunn, INSETA’s CEO.

A group of learners who recently participated in one of the FAIS Regulatory Exam workshops sponsored by INSETA.

A group of learners who recently participated in one of the FAIS Regulatory Exam workshops sponsored by INSETA.

“If you don’t pass the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS) Exams first time around, perseverance, discipline and the right training seem be to be the key to passing the exams rewrites,” says INSETA’s CEO, Sandra Dunn.

Lucas Jele, who attempted the FAIS Exams, not once, or twice, or thrice or even four or five times, but six times couldn’t agree more.

“I sat for the FAIS exams twice in 2013, twice in 2014 and twice in 2015,” explains Jele.

“I now see what the problem was. The previous teachers I had did not give me the right information. I never understood FAIS properly. I thought I must just memorise a whole lot of facts, but I did not understand why the information was important and necessary.

“Octomate made the difference for me. Abbot is a star. The way he explained stuff and he took the time to make sure we all understand the material.

“It also didn’t help that I was full-time employed, because I found it difficult to focus on my job requirements and preparing for the exams,” adds Jele.

The “Abbot” he’s referring to is Abbot Pfuka of Octomate Pty Ltd, who facilitated the workshops, sponsored by INSETA, that helped candidates like Jele master the RE Exams on their first attempt after being assisted by Octomate.

The learners who are required to write FAIS exams are representatives who work in the insurance sector and render advice and/ or intermediary services to clients. The most common careers or work positions for the delegates who are attending the workshops are mainly, Sales Consultants, Client Services Consultants, Claims Advisors, Broker Consultants, Underwriting Managers, Retention Consultants, Branch Managers, Team Leaders, and Key Individuals and Sole Proprietors. The learners are required to rewrite FAIS Regulatory Examinations (RE) Level 1 (RE 5 or/and RE 1), if they have not passed.

In terms of the FAIS Act and the modified regulations that flow from the Act - called Board Notices - including the “Fit and Proper” requirements and the FAIS General Code of Conduct, all parties who are governed or regulated by the FAIS Act are required to write the Regulatory Exams - the most common being the RE 5 for Representatives and RE 1 for Key Individuals exams.

The RE Level 1 exams are a test of a learner’s knowledge of the FAIS Act, Board Notices and the FAIS General Code of Conduct. They are about testing the learner’s knowledge of the procedures related to the conduct of business in terms of the FAIS Act. In order to be successful in the exam, the learners need a deep understanding of the FAIS Act and how to tackle the examination questions.

“Based on our research and feedback from the industry including the learners, we knew there was a serious problem with the type of learning that was taking place,” explains Dunn.

Subsequent to following the required procurement process, INSETA partnered with Octomate to launch a “Rewrite Preparation Project”.

“From the commencement of the project in the months of April 2015 over 300 delegates have gone through the FAIS Rewrite Preparatory Sessions. The workshops are currently taking place in all provinces within South Africa. We have already started getting good testimonials from delegates who have passed the examinations after attending the preparatory sessions,” says Pfuka. Learners who wish to participate in the workshops must register with INSETA prior to attendance.

Pfuka says it is very difficult to balance the work pressure and studying for the RE examination at the same time.

“What makes this more stressful is the obvious reason that the Regulatory Examinations are not just a walk-over. Many delegates who have been failing repeatedly had never gotten a chance to attend our RE Preparatory Workshops, which helps them to prepare thoroughly for the Regulatory Examinations.”

The INSETA FAIS RE Workshops enable learners to attend a free three-day RE Preparatory Workshop.

“Thanks to INSETA, the cost limitation has been removed, and many companies that could not afford to pay for their employees to attend workshops, can now do so, having to pay for the examination fees only,” says Pfuka.

“We have learners expressing their deepest appreciation for the workshops as they all indicate they now have a deep understanding of the FAIS legislation and why it is important for them to have thorough knowledge of the FAIS Act. They value the help they get in having mock questions and attempting them with the help of the facilitator. Thorough preparation is a necessity before sitting for the exam.”

It is clear Octomate has developed, workable three-day preparatory sessions for RE workshops. Their methodology emphasizes the motivation behind the FAIS Act and how to tackle examinations questions. Their methodology helps the learners grasp all the important information. The mock questions help learners understand how they can tackle the trickier questions of the exams. Moreover, experienced facilitators who can explain difficult concepts in the learners’ mother tongue present the workshops.

Tshidi Shabungu who failed the exams on her first attempt, passed the exams on her first attempt after having participated in Octomate’s workshops, wholeheartedly agrees that it’s Octomate’s approach that made the difference.

She says, “With my first attempt, the learning focused on the wrong information and did not adequately prepare me for the exams. With Octomate, it was like all the lights suddenly went on!”

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