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980 Guests and a few ‘red’ devils celebrate the FIA Awards

28 May 2008 Gareth Stokes

The financial services industry came alive last night as 980 representatives from financial brokerages, product providers, industry bodies and invited guests let their hair down at the ninth Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA) Gala Awards Dinner. The awards took place on 27 May 2008 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg – and the winners celebrated into the early hours of Wednesday morning. A ‘hell’ of a time was had by all!

The FIA Awards acknowledge the contributions made by South Africa’s top financial services product providers to the industry – with a particular focus on the needs and requirements of financial services intermediaries. The awards reflect the perceptions, views, expectations, awareness levels and opinions of FIA members. To make sure the right companies are chosen as recipients an extensive survey was conducted by Bluestream Consulting. Pieter Aucamp, chief executive of Bluestream, gave FAnews Online the low down on the selection process... He said the competition is decided based on comprehensive telephonic interviews conducted among 1 250 FIA members. Initial results are subject to a peer review process conducted by a team of independent research and statistics doctorates before the FIA research committee casts a final eye over the results.

And the winners are...

After brief welcoming addresses from FIA President Arnold van der Linde and FIA chief executive Justus van Pletzen the prize giving ceremony got underway. The short-term insurance category was hotly contested with Hollard, Zurich and Santam making the short list for each of the three awards on offer. Santam picked up two of the awards, winning the best personal lines and best commercial product provider of the year. The best corporate insurance product provider of the year went to Zurich.

In the life & risk category the best life insurance and investment product providers are awarded. This section saw a repeat of the previous year with Discovery Life walking away with the life insurance award and Momentum scooping the investment product category. The medical aid provider of the year award went to Discovery Health. This was the first time a medical aid award was presented.

Apart from the obvious benefit to financial intermediaries of a more focussed product provider force, Van der Linde noted that the real winner was the consumer: “By working together and pushing the boundaries of service excellence and professionalism we will ensure that insurance consumers emerge the ultimate winners of this event!”

Some ‘hot news’ from the floor

Late last year the boards of the South African Financial Services Intermediaries Association (SAFSIA) and the Insurance Brokers Council (IBC) investigated the possibility of a merger of their respective organisations. The rest, as they say, is history. After obtaining member approval the merger took place remarkably quickly. The combined entity (the FIA) was ready to serve from 1 January 2008. This consolidation created a single representative body with a ‘critical mass’ of some 16 000 intermediary brokers.

And last night the FIA executive hinted at more industry consolidation to come. They revealed that the FIA and the Association of Professional Financial Planners (LUASA) have been in exploratory talks on the possibility of another intermediary representative body merger. Talks are in the initial stages and each board still has to obtain member approval.

But if it goes ahead individuals plying their trade at the coal face in South Africa’s financial services industry will certainly benefit from a stronger ‘voice’ in various regulatory and industry negotiations.

Editor’s thoughts:
FAnews Online would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the 2008 FIA Award winners and thank the FIA for putting on a truly professional show. We also welcome the news that LUASA and the FIA have been in talks to create an even larger representative body by merging their respective entities. Would you welcome the decision should the FIA and LUASA merge? Add your comments below, or send them to gareth@fanews.co.za

Comments

Added by AL, 04 Jun 2008
It would be wonderful if you could once and for all get one body to represent the brokers. I would welcome it if Luasa also joins now but just hope we will not have a repeat of what happened a couple of years ago when FPI and Luasa tried to merge. They were about 90% through the process and then everything fell apart. Hopefully everyone has learnt from this and we are looking forward to one body representing all of us.
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Added by Johan Beukman, 02 Jun 2008
Hello Gareth The sooner we have one representative body with every single financial advisor in the industry belonging to that body, the better. That will give us some real muscle to take on the Financial services industry and the government who have always just dictated and decided what is best for us without consulting with us in a fair and respectful manner. Kind regards.
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Added by Mike, 28 May 2008
I think it would be great to have one large body to represent us all. Speak with one stong voice and be heard!
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Added by Magdalena De Lange, 28 May 2008
Thanks for the article this morning about the Award evening last night in Sandton. It was with sadness in my heart however as Barry Mills passed away on Saturday so shortly before the Convention which he would have attended. I had done my CFP Training with him and had known him for 18 years. Fisrt with Sanlam and then later years with his private Training programs. It is a great loss to our industry. He was an excellant trainer and had a great knowledge which he shaired with many a student over the years. We will miss him. Regards Magdalena de Lange
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Added by Denham, 28 May 2008
This is fantastic news. One body to represent all the FSP's. Can't wait for all the others to also join especialy our black brothers.
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Added by Andre Kruger, 28 May 2008
If the new body are prepared to take on the LOA and the FSB with their rediculous rules & regulations and concentrate on finding people who are still prepared to do the work, THAT WILL BE GREAT. I am more and more under the impression we are all working for the Goverment and they (the Goverment)are not working for us. We have to be kept liable for our mistakes but they simply ignore their own rules & regulations and get away with it to such an extend that I believe they are unconstitutional in their actions. Nobody however has ever challenged them, about time to get real muscle.
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Added by Ticked Off, 28 May 2008
All smoke & mirrors. LUASA's incorporation will save LUASA's bacon & provide employment for the last 2 employees. They have ignored their constituents, the Financial Adviser, by not providing them with benefits required for the profession. This covers Practice Management, Continuing Education, Selling/ Advice Techniques, Motivation & Compliance to name a few. The IBC & LUASA contingents total 3700 advisers, many of which have joint membership. FIA now intends confusing the authorities & the consumer that they represent 50,000 in the industry. Question is how many are Intermediaries providing valuable advice to their clients, the consumer. Add to this, where is the FPI !!!
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Added by Herman, 28 May 2008
I wellcome this. For the first time ever the brokers/ marketers/ agents will be able to speak with one voice. What is heartwarming is that South Africans seems to talk to each other again nd most of all, THEY SEEMS TO AGREE ABOUIT SOMETHING. Thanks for your, always welcome , feedback Regards Herman Visser (27 years in this wonderfull industry - and still passionate)
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