Are you ready for the challenge?

02 May 2019 Jonathan Faurie

As we move towards the second half of the year, the investment and financial planning industry looks forward to the FPI Convention as well as the FPI Awards where the announcement of the Financial Planner of the Year will be made.

By hosting the awards ceremony, the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) seeks to recognise excellence in the financial planning profession. “This prestigious event acknowledges outstanding certified financial planners from across South Africa,” says FPI chairman Ntai Phoofolo. “We look forward to celebrating with all the winners, including the 2019 Financial Planner of Year – Janet Hugo CFP – who will become the new FPI Ambassador.” 

Key insight

Hugo, who is a Director at Sterling Private Clients, spoke exclusively to FAnews about her experiences as the Financial Planner of the Year and to provide some insights on what happens to CFPs and their practice once they are selected as the top three finalists. 

You must have learnt quite a few things during the competition. What stands out? 

I was judged as the Financial Planner of the Year the second time I applied, so I had the double satisfaction of applying my learnings and reaping the rewards. 

When I applied the first time, I was already confident in my advice to clients, but I was not totally comfortable telling my story to the various panels of judges.  

When I was interviewed during my second attempt, I was able to allow them to dig deeper into my analysis, systems and processes. I helped them to ask me more meaningful questions for greater insight into my thought process and business. 

I also learned that knowing that you put your clients first and do great work for them and showing the judges that this is the case are two very different things. Never assume the judges know how you run your business or what your client process is. Further, do not be afraid to cover the basics. 

After being crowned the winner what changed in your practice?

Nothing. Our processes have not changed at all because the systems we would implement were what led to me winning the competition. 

Since winning, I spend a considerable amount of time dealing with the media, so I am grateful for the operational systems we have developed at Sterling Wealth. In fact, I rely on them now more than ever. We do review these processes and systems regularly. 

What should you not be scared of when entering this competition?

You should never be scared of losing. Entering the competition is a personal and business growth opportunity and losing means learning. 

That said, I took it quite hard when I did not win the first time. I was extremely worried about what I was doing wrong when it came to dealing with my clients. Once the shock of losing wore off, I sat down, figured out where I had gone wrong and tried again. 

Another thing no one should be scared of is the onsite practice review. Rather see it for what it is: a free professional review of your systems and compliance as well as an opportunity to improve things if necessary. 

If you are toying with the idea of entering the competition, you are probably ready to take on the challenge. If you have managed to get your Certified Financial Planner (CFP) accreditation and are running a successful holistic practice, then you are up for the challenge. Like anything else in life, the application process is all about putting in the time and effort. 


Competition categories

In a release to the media, Phoofolo pointed out that eligible financial planners can enter in various categories, outlined below: 

  • Financial Planner of the Year Award. Launched in 2000, the Financial Planner of the Year Award is the most prestigious award in the industry and seeks to recognise the top CFP during the year under review. This individual needs to demonstrate innovation, professionalism and commitment to their clients. The closing date for nominations is 3 May 2019;
  • Harry Brews Award. The Harry Brews Award, previously the Chairman’s Award, was introduced in 2010 to honour a remarkable individual who has served the FPI over a lifetime, promoting the Institute and its impact. The award can also recognise an individual who has made significant contributions to the financial planning profession in general in the areas of service to society, academia, training, government, media or other professional activities. The closing date for nominations is 3 May 2019;
  • It Starts with Me Award. The award recognises a CFP who works tirelessly to promote the CFP certification. Such a person entrenches the CFP mark in their work life, invests in their personal brand by letting others know that they are a CFP professional, and volunteers where required. The closing date for nominations is 3 May 2019;
  • Top Candidate Award. This award recognised the top-performing candidate in the FPI’s CFP Professional Competency Examination, selected from the August 2018 and February 2019 examinations. The winning candidate must have obtained his or her underlying Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning or B Com Honours in Financial Planning at one of the FPI’s recognised educational providers;
  • Diversity and Inclusion Award. The Diversity and Inclusion Award is open to any person who is passionate about fostering diversity in the financial planning profession. This includes but is not limited to raising awareness about the profession in diverse communities; serving such communities with financial planning and increasing professional opportunities for people from these communities. 

For detailed descriptions of each category, eligibility requirements, and to download entry forms, visit 

For more information, contact 011 470 6000 or email 

Editor’s Thoughts:
Rewarding excellence means that professionals within the industry have an additional goal to work towards; which is never a bad thing. Sticking to the basics and being dedicated to your clients have proved to be key ingredients to success in the past. Are you ready for the challenge? Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts

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