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What does it take to run a top financial services practice?

24 October 2008 Gareth Stokes

This Tuesday, 21 October 2008, a selection of participants in the financial services industry gathered for the Celestis 2008 SA Best Practice of the Year Award. The event took place at the beautiful Summer Place – a business centre converted from the luxu

Congratulations to the finalists

Although the evening could only produce one winner, all the finalists deserve praise for the efforts they’ve made in achieving best practice status. If every player in the financial services industry approached their roles with as much dedication we’re sure the regulators and industry Ombudsman would have very little to keep them busy. We’ll provide a quick summary of the ten companies that were picked as finalists in this year’s competition, before sharing details of the winner.

· Adroit Financial Planning Partners (pictured right): Adroit offers a range of accounting, financial and legal services. Services include financial planning, group benefits, risk investment management, retirement & estate planning, short-term insurance and property investments.

· Afken Financial Services: Visit the Afken website and you’ll see the words “forward thinking financial planning…” The company is a small independent brokerage and has built a reputation over 20-years in the industry “as a consistent performer in the insurance field and a top achiever in terms of service.”

· Bill Roberts Financial Planning: Headed by a certified financial planner, Bill Roberts, a carefully selected team runs one of the largest independent brokerages in KwaZulu-Natal, offering “a fully comprehensive financial planning practice.”

· Chartered Wealth Solutions: Chartered Group consists of three divisions that address different areas of the financial services industry. These include wealth solutions, employee benefits and risk solutions.

· Clive Johnstone Financial Services

· Execuserv: Winner of the 2007 competition, Execuserv proved that its excellent business practices were in tact by making the short-list for a second year.

· Fanus Kruger Consulting: This financial service company shares a trait with all the 2008 finalists – they put the client first. Their “primary goal is to provide objective and independent recommendations and advice, in the best interest of the client.”

· FS Konsultante & Makelaarsdienste: With more than 25 years in the life insurance industry, Francois Straus offers independent financial services, including: estate planning, retirement planning, investments, risk management and medical aid among others.

· Salvo Capital: Salvo bills itself as a niche wealth management company that caters for the needs of high net worth individuals. Its inclusion demonstrates that best management practices apply to both large and small financial services companies.

· VDM Brokers and Financial Advisors

And the winner is...

Adroit Financial Planning Partners emerged as the clear winner of this year’s competition. The practice consists of 14 employees, including five qualified advisors. Celestis notes that “Adroit’s financial planning division is divided into two focus areas namely corporate and private clients. Structuring its business plans around these two business units, Adroit assigns very specific goals to people working in each area so that there is clarity around what’s expected of them.” And Davies says the company displayed “the highest level of business acumen and most consistent use of best practice principles in their business.” The practice stands out for a number of reasons. Adroit has a “well-structured business plan, which was fully implemented in the business.” The company’s employees were “well informed of their roles and responsibilities,” thus able to contribute to the company goals.

FAnews would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the Celestis SA Best Practice of the Year finalists. And we encourage all financial practices to get their act together and enter the competition next year.

Editor’s thoughts:
Often the best way for an industry to regulate itself is from within. Competitions like the Celestis SA Best Practice of the Year award make it possible for financial services practices to do just that. Businesses compete with each other to attain the ultimate level of financial services excellence. Will you be entering your practice next year? Add your comments below, or send them to

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