Product providers vie for industry insurance and investment awards

21 May 2013 Justus van Pletzen, FIA
Justus van Pletzen, CEO of the FIA.

Justus van Pletzen, CEO of the FIA.

Stakeholders in the South African financial services industry are set to gather for the much anticipated 2013 Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards Gala Dinner to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 3

The annual FIA Awards is acknowledged as the leading measure of product provider excellence based on an independent survey of practicing finance and risk advisors – all members of the FIA. An award is issued in each of nine industry categories to include the four ‘core’ disciplines in the financial advice space, namely employee benefits, financial planning (which includes risk and investment advice), healthcare and short term insurance.

According to Justus van Pletzen, CEO of the FIA, the awards afford product providers valuable feedback with regards to how their distribution and administration services are received by the financial and risk advisor community at large. “We are keenly anticipating this year’s result to learn more about how our members react to the on-going changes in the financial services landscape.”

Over the past year finance and risk advisors have had to adapt to tougher regulatory requirements – through the introduction of regulatory examinations for key individuals and representatives – and an explosion of new direct players in the insurance market.

“It will be interesting to see how our finance and risk advisors react to increased competition and the higher compliance burden in terms of acknowledging those product providers that give them the best overall support,” says Van Pletzen.

The main objective of the FIA benchmark survey is to determine and recognise South Africa’s top performing product providers, independently rated on intermediary satisfaction, says Pieter Aucamp, CEO of Bluestream Research. “What distinguishes the FIA Awards is the consistent methodology that has been applied, improved upon and perfected over the eight consecutive years that Bluestream has been involved in the survey.”

He adds that the 15th FIA Awards is one of the most comprehensive total industry broker satisfaction benchmarks produced in South Africa. “An unprecedented 7565 contracts were evaluated over a 10-week period. The survey team placed 23500 telephone calls to complete the required interviews, which each took approximately 13 minutes to complete.”

In order to determine the best product provider in the country, survey participants are asked to rate providers based on product quality, service quality, relationship quality and overall satisfaction. Product providers are then assessed and ranked under each of these categories before a final score is computed.

This is a special time for the FIA, says Van Pletzen. “We are celebrating five years as a member representative body as well as recognising the product providers that go the extra mile to enable our members to do what they do best - deliver exceptional financial and risk advice to the consuming public.”

“As we prepare for the 15th consecutive awards ceremony we can proudly claim the event as an institution in the domestic financial services landscape,” concludes van Pletzen.

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