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INSETA turns to proactive recruiting

24 October 2013 Jonathan Faurie
Jonathan Faurie, FAnews Journalist

Jonathan Faurie, FAnews Journalist

Introducing fresh skills into the financial services industry has been identified as a major challenge. This has been compounded by the fact that not only is this affecting the South African market, but international markets as well. Skills which are available to the local market are easily persuaded to seek greener international pastures as the Rand continues to perform poorly.

There are very few ways in which to resolve this problem, the country's economic situation looks like it will be a bit of a longer recovery for a short term solution. Therefore, a massive qualification drive is the only viable option offered to the industry.

There are a number of initiatives in the industry which hopes to achieve this. One such initiative is the Employment Opportunities Portal which is run by the Insurance Sector Training Authority (INSETA), the government led authority responsible for providing insurance focused education.

Connecting learners to the market

The INSETA National Skills Development Broker Network (INSETA Network) launched their Employment Opportunities Portal aimed at interns who have not been permanently placed with employers as well as other unemployed workers in the insurance industry.

"We would like to assist both the employers looking for suitable candidates, and people searching for jobs in the industry,” says INSETA CEO Sandra Dunn.

"Through the portal, we hope to assist small brokers with their recruitment process and contribute to a lot more unemployed workers in the industry finding employment faster. We have dozens of interns on our records who have not been able to find employment once they have completed their internships and learnerships.”

She adds that there are also hundreds of more experienced workers in the industry such as Financial Advisory and Intermediary Service (FAIS) accredited professionals and support staff, who are currently unemployed. "At the same time, there are many small brokers who find it difficult to obtain information about potential employees that are available to fill vacancies. Our portal will no doubt help to connect people looking for jobs in the industry and small businesses wanting to recruit suitable staff.”

Through the portal, INSETA hopes to reduce the cost for small independent brokers to obtain information about suitable candidates in the industry looking for work. The INSETA Network does not charge its members for any candidates listed on the portal that are successfully placed and neither does it charge a membership fee.

The portal is only available for unemployed candidates seeking employment in the insurance industry and only the members of the INSETA Network can view the candidates' profiles that are uploaded onto the portal.

"The portal will not accept profiles from candidates that are already employed in the industry, and wanting to change their jobs,” stresses Dunn. Candidates do not need to be members of the INSETA Network and there is no cost for them to upload their profiles.

The portal's web address is www.insetanetwork.co.za and can be accessed via the home page.

FIA endorsement

While education and introducing new skills into the industry is seen as a major industry challenge, how many companies or industry bodies can confidently say that they are working towards meaningfully resolving this issue?

This initiative on its own is a major step in the right direction towards achieving this, but an official endorsement by a major industry body will give more weight to its objectives. And President of the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa, Justus van Pletzen points out that this initiative has the potential to become a major success.

"Human capital development has been identified as a major threat to the sustainability of the short term insurance industry,” says Van Pletzen. "We welcome the INSETA Network initiative for its dual focus on reducing unemployment and furthering skills development at this difficult juncture.” He adds that the network will make it easier for small and emerging brokerages to find suitable candidates for work placement.

"The INSETA Network is one of many initiatives currently underway in the insurance space,” concludes Van Pletzen. "The Short Term Insurance Human Capital Development project – a joint initiative between the FIA, the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), the Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) and the South African Underwriting Managers' Association (SAUMA) with support from INSETA and the Financial Services Board (FSB) – is making steady progress in addressing issues such as education, training, skills development and transformation with the ultimate goal of creating more employment opportunities in this sector.”

Editor's Thoughts:
The INSETA Network is just over a year old and currently has about 2 000 members. Its purpose is to support small and micro independent brokers by making access to INSETA's skills development programmes easier. The key determining factor would be the Network's ability to market itself effectively to help find employment for its member base. A good success rate will mean bigger growth. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts jonathan@fanews.co.za.

Comments

Added by Grant Turnbull, 25 Oct 2013
This is an area I am passionate about. What a wonderfull industry independant broking/financial planning is - it allows me to work until I am tired of working. It allows freedom of working hours and we can never be retrenched. After 24 years in this business I prefer to look on the bright side. The authorities are trying to create a "nanny" state and protect the public - and they have reason for doing this. They should professionalise the industry but they will soon realise that they are going overboard and that they are losing valuable manpower and also killing job creation. It is a fine line.
I still come across poor advice based on commission every day. We are still plagued by salesmen who are not advisors. If the regulations get rid of these - we will have a wonderfull industry. Maybe there is a middle road and we do still have to include the principal of "caveat emptor" in our legislation.
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Added by Guy Tanzer, 24 Oct 2013
Yes, the industry does need to train young people and bring them into the industry. I am 49 and one of the youngest financial advisors around. However, the real problem is that our income base is being eroded by legislation and then general public notion that financial advice should be given for free. Medical Aid commission was slashed by 60% , RA Annuity commission also slashed by almost 50%, investment business - maximum fee you may charge is 2.5% of the lump sum invested. This is a very hard industry and nothing comes easily. When commissions for life and disability business are slashed then it will be the end of the financial advisors. Everyone says, the client must then pay a professional fee. No one will or very few will. The reasons are: 180 years of public belief that financial advice comes for free and no one but the upper middle class can afford to pay R1000 per hour for advice or even pay a monthly retainer. So my advice to the young who wish to enter this industry is - DONT JOIN THE INDUSTRY. Rather study to be a lawyer, doctor, dentist, engineer etc. Those professions are perceived to add value. Good Luck and Good Night to the future of financial planners in South Africa. Those of us who have already built a client base over the last 20 years may possibly survive but the new bees won't. This is a cynical view but may very well be true. Oh by the way, our commission tariffs have never been increased in the 20 years that I have been in practice
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