The moment of truth draws near with just three days to the #2017FIAAWARDS

05 June 2017 Gareth Stokes, FIA
Gareth Stokes, Head: Brand & Communications at the FIA.

Gareth Stokes, Head: Brand & Communications at the FIA.

South Africa’s world class financial services industry will not have to wait much longer to find out which insurance and investment brands are recognised by intermediaries as the ‘best of the best’! The finishing line for the 2017 FIA Awards is in sight and any of the shortlisted finalists are within a nose of scooping the coveted prize: “May the best brand win!”

“To say that the tension is mounting is an understatement,” says Gareth Stokes, Head: Brand & Communications at the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA). “We have added to the intrigue this year by keeping the results under lock and key; I will get the results ‘live’ alongside our guests at the Awards function on 8 June”. Stokes says that he expects the announcements to commence from 18h30. If previous Awards’ results are anything to go by, it will be anyone’s guess as to which brand emerges victorious.

The 2017 FIA Awards finalists are determined following an extensive survey of the FIA’s membership, conducted by South Africa’s largest independent research firm, Ask Afrika. “Our challenge to Ask Afrika was to reconceptualise and reinvigorate the Awards survey process without straying too far from a selection process that has been fine-tuned over 19 years,” says Lizelle van der Merwe, CEO of the FIA.

In a radical departure from the ‘tried and tested’ Awards legacy the FIA decided to host an upmarket cocktail function (business attire) rather than a formal sit down dinner. The first guests will arrive from 15h30 with proceedings wrapped up by 21h00, allowing the victors to host celebrations of their own. “We went with a horse racing theme to give our events partners the opportunity to create some ‘buzz’; to ensure that our guests enjoy a seamless platform for networking; and to shift the spotlight to the Awards winners,” says Stokes.

The FIA has plans to publicise this year’s event and expects extensive coverage from mainstream print media partners Business Day and Rapport as well as industry publications such as Cover, FA News, FIA Insight, Insurance Gateway, Money Marketing and RiskAfrica. “We want to create a social media storm (#2017FIAAWARDS) by trumpeting the ‘value of advice’ message to as many consumers as possible,” says Stokes. “From an FIA perspective we want to inform consumers that our members, the individuals and firms that advise them on a wide range of financial products, really care about positive advice-backed financial outcomes.

The Awards are an opportunity for the FIA to fulfil a corporate social responsibility function with this year’s beneficiary being the Pink Drive ‘breast cancer awareness’ charity. A ‘pretend’ betting booth will be available on the evening allowing Awards’ attendees to ‘take a flyer’ on the category winners; with all ‘bets’ going to the charity. Details will be available on the night should firms wish to make large donations; for the rest “bring cash & go large!” Alternatively email with ‘Pink Drive’ in the subject line for more information.

Special care was taken to match the ‘old’ and ‘new’ Awards methodologies to ensure that the results accurately reflect FIA member brokers’ experience of product suppliers in so far product quality, service quality, relationship quality and overall satisfaction. “Data collection took place between 14 March and 4 May 2017 with more than 8000 contracts rated by FIA members in the process,” says Sarina de Beer, Managing Director at Ask Afrika.

The 2017 survey process was enhanced with the introduction of a more robust ‘follow-up’ diagnostic questionnaire to gain additional insights into key issues facing FIA members and the wider intermediated distribution environment. The FIA will share some of these insights in the weeks immediately following the Awards.

The Awards are fiercely contested and the finalists are recognised as companies that go ‘the extra mile’ for the intermediary, who in turn recommends appropriate financial product to consumers. “Although product suppliers walk away with the accolades on the night the Awards are also a celebration of the value that financial advisers, insurance brokers and other financial advice professionals bring to the industry,” concludes Van der Merwe.

“We are extremely proud of what our association does to promote the value of good financial advice and support the industry’s overarching goals of consumer protection, financial inclusion and transformation – I would therefore like to express my heartfelt appreciation to each of our members for making the Awards, now in their 19th year, such a resounding success”.

“On behalf of the FIA I also extend our congratulations to the financial services brands that have made it to the final stages of the 2017 FIA Awards. Thank you for your continued support of the FIA, our members and the intermediated distribution model”.

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