19th – 20th October 2022

I decided to take some time to “sharpen the saw” as Stephen Covey recommends and booked myself off for 2 days to attend the FPI conference. It had been some time since I had attended in person due to Covid and the pressure of work. After looking at the programme speakers which included two I really wanted to see and a number of subjects relevant to RSC and the future of training of financial planners, I signed up for the live program at the Indaba Hotel and set on 19th for two days away from the office to listen to interesting speakers who would provide new insights and ideas.

Well, I was not disappointed as we had two days of interesting speakers on subjects that interested me and provided useful insights for the new world of financial planning and advice.

My first observation was that the FPI has become more diverse and does a better job of reflecting the SA environment. The members attending were also younger. The speakers were also more diverse and reflective of SA than I remember in the past. There is still a long way to go in this regard but I was proud of the progress made by the FPI in the past few years.

The first day’s content was a little less technical than I remember from past conferences and focused on soft skills which I think is an excellent idea which can help the profession grow and thrive rather than be replaced by AI on online systems running using algorithms. Technical skills can easily be replaced by Technology and AI but interpersonal skills, empathy and understanding of client’s needs are more difficult to replace.

My highlights from the first day were:

The panel discussion led by Francoise Du Toit on the psychology of money opened up important soft skills that effective financial planners need to develop to understand their client’s needs, motivations and situations.

Susan Bradley’s talk on helping clients through their various transitions continued this message of truly understanding clients’ needs and the importance of understanding the impact of the various transitions clients experience during their lives. I shall be doing a short video to go with this review later today.

I particularly enjoyed the talk by Katie Branden on client engagement using online video and she provided sensible and useful input on the use of this technology in your practice.

Captain Lonley Ngcobo provided a very different and inspiring African story of becoming the first black, female dredger captain in this male-dominated world. My father and stepfather both lived in this world and the stories she told resonated with the stories about life at sea I heard from my family. This was a very satisfying end, to day one.

Day two started with one of the highlights and reasons I attended this conference with Dr David Molap an incredible motivational speaker I had last seen in Durn=ban back in the 1990’s, where his presentation was life-changing. His presentation at the conference was even better than I remembered.

The program was a little more technical with an excellent talk on digital will and assets by James Fisher.

Anne Cabot-Alietzhauser from GIBS gave a wonderfully technical, insightful and interesting talk on investing for impact. It is very exciting when the FPI provides speakers of this standard who can deal with the very complex and difficult subject matter.

The new world of work and how this impacts financial planners were well handled by Rob McDonald during this interesting and important talk. Financial Planners ignore the new world of work and the use of technology at their peril.

Farzana Badat the DC from the FSCA provided an interesting talk which included a number of breaking news items about regulations and I was very interested to hear that Crypto will now be a regulated financial product.

The conference ended with an excellent motivational presentation by Kingsly Holgate on the wonders of Africa, his expeditions, trying to make a difference in our continent and how blessed we are to be living in Mama Africa. He left me challenged t to do more to make a change in my country and Africa and to help create educated financial advisers and planners in my way to make this a better world for them, their families and their clients.