The Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) recently announced the appointment of Lelané Bezuidenhout as the new Chief Executive Officer of the FPI.
Having assumed the role on 1 June, taking over from Stephanie Pillay, who stepped in as acting CEO following Godfrey Nti’s resignation, FAnews spoke to Bezuidenhout about her new position and what the future holds.
Bezuidenhout started her career in the financial sector in 1999 when she joined one of the major insurers. She became a customer relations specialist dealing with Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) related matters, in collaboration with the legal and compliance departments.
She joined the Ombud for Financial Services Providers (FAIS Ombud) in 2010, where she gained high-level expertise in FAIS legislation and related subordinate regulation.
Having joined the FPI in 2014, she served in a number of roles, the latest of which was as the Head of the Certification and Standards Department.
As part of her career development, Bezuidenhout obtained a Post-Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning and became a Certified Financial Planner® professional, which equipped her well with a deep understanding of the FPI’s role and purpose.
Goals and vision for the future
Stepping into the role of the CEO of the FPI, we asked Bezuidenhout what her goals and vision are for the future.
Bezuidenhout said she would like to create an awareness of the value of financial advice to such an extent that financial planning subjects form part of the high school curriculum. “This will assist in making financial planning a well-recognised profession and prominent career choice.”
“My overriding priority is to gain an in-depth understanding of our members’ requirements and expectations, from the Institute, and to realign all our activities with our well researched 2025 strategy,” continued Bezuidenhout.
More specifically, Bezuidenhout said she aims to:
Foster a healthy company culture which includes a strong focus on risk management;
Define specific internal and external stakeholder strategies. (The internal stakeholders include staff, board, committees and pro-bona service providers. The external stakeholders include FPI individual and corporate members, as well as organisations such as National Treasury, SAQA, FSCA, Prudential Authority and INSETA); and
Grow the membership base.
Collaboration and team leadership
“I have worked in the financial services industry for 17 years and am very familiar with the industry’s challenges. Being a CFP® myself, gives me a good insight into the working lives and needs of our members,” added Bezuidenhout.
“I believe in collaboration and team leadership, which is what the FPI needs now, to unite all stakeholders and strengthen the organisation. I believe that I am well suited to the position as I am a natural leader and thoroughly enjoy the process of coaching and mentoring others,” she continued.
“I have learned how critically important it is to appoint excellent and capable managers who can lead and deliver according to plan. I have also learned how easily and quickly a business can fail in its objectives when the management team loses focus,” she said.
“I believe that my leadership will be challenged, and I thus plan to work very closely with my management team, the Chairman and the Board. I regard success as a united management team that delivers timeously on strategic goals,” added Bezuidenhout.
Exciting future developments
When asked if there were any exciting future developments to share, Bezuidenhout said, “We are no longer phasing out the RFP™ designation, but in order to protect the terms ‘financial planner’ and ‘financial planning’, we have updated the title of our RFP™ designation from Registered Financial Planner to Registered Financial Practitioner. This is to ensure that the term ‘financial planner’ refers to CFP® professionals only, who have obtained an underlying relevant NQF 8 SAQA registered qualification.”
“We have also created a new affiliate category for individuals who are not professional members of the FPI, but who wish to complete their CPD hours using our Centre for Professional Development. The membership fee is the cost of the CPD activities. Members require an ethics declaration and need to acquire 20 CDP points annually,” she added.
“The benefit of this affiliate membership category is that FSP’s can apply for this membership category for each of their Key Individuals and Representatives and rely on our CPD policy, procedures and Code of Ethics and Practice Standards. FSP’s who do not have training departments or the ability to arrange CPD training for their Key Individuals and/or Representatives can rely on this solution to assist them in complying with the FSCA’s fit and proper requirements. This category also assists affiliates who are on the learning pathway in obtaining one of our professional designations to stay up to date with the latest industry developments and knowledge needed to become a professional member of the FPI,” continued Bezuidenhout.
“Our CPD cycle has also been updated to run from 1 June to 31 May each year to assist members who are also licenced under FAIS to comply with their CPD requirements at both the FPI and FSCA at the same time,” concluded Bezuidenhout.
FAnews wishes Bezuidenhout all the best in her new role as CEO of the FPI. Please comment below, interact with us on Twitter at @fanews_online or email me your thoughts email@example.com.
Article published courtesy of FANews