• Myra Knoesen - FAnews Journalist

New CEO to head up FPI

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.

High-level expertise

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.