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Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Fast progress

In November 2007, a total of 550 brokers and financial advisors completed assessments for their licenses in compliance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS) Fit and Proper requirement. This is according to the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) which, in conjunction with its appointed provider, Imfundo, conducted a national assessment on 17th November 2007 to assist brokers and financial advisors in all categories to attain the credits they needed to qualify for licences.

According to Mike Abel, CEO of INSETA, the assessments were designed to provide a fast and user-friendly way for financial practitioners to comply with what is often perceived to be intimidating legal requirements, without compromising on quality standards.
In terms of the FAIS Act, existing brokers/financial advisors (or new entrants into the sector after 2004) in South Africa were required to achieve their outstanding or remaining credits by 31st December 2008. Prior to the November assessment, there were approximately 20 000 brokers and financial advisors (estimated by the Financial Services Board) who needed to complete either 30 or 60 credits. Those who entered the Insurance industry in 2004 have until the 31st December 2008 to qualify and those who entered the industry after that date have until the 31st December 2009.
To help smooth the path for these individuals, INSETA has developed an assessment that consists of a multiple choice answer sheet based on case studies relating to situations that brokers encounter in the daily exaction of their tasks. Curricula and answer sheets were made available to candidates to assist with preparation. INSETA also set up a dedicated FAIS project office and support was available through the help desk at INSETA’s Call Centre to make the process as trouble-free as possible.
Of the 550 that wrote INSETA assessments, the average pass marks were:
Category A: Long Term - 32 people wrote, 74% overall average
Category B1: Personal Lines - 172 people wrote, 66% overall average
Category B2: Commercial lines - 226 people wrote, 77% overall average
Category C: Long Term - 120 people wrote, 60% overall average

Arnold van der Linde, President of the Board of Directors of the Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) says that INSETA’s initiative allows thousands of brokers and advisors to prove their level of knowledge easily and effectively. “This is a brilliant way of speeding up the process and ensures that only those that have the knowledge can without hassle prove their credits and carry on with providing service to consumers,” he says.
Jose Antao of Luso Africa Insurance Brokers – one of the brokers who took part in the November assessments – agrees. “It is undoubtedly a fantastic way for those of us with a good number of years of experience, and those that have reached a certain age, to obtain the credits that they are worthy of, without having to spend hours, days and weeks completing projects, and only to obtain the same amount of credits or less,” he says.
John Arnesen, CEO of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa (FPI) says the initiative is good for the financial sector and that it also opens the door to those intermediaries who want to belong to the professional bodies such as the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa.
As Mr Abel observes, “The Insurance industry is a dynamic and growing sector. It makes a significant contribution to the GDP of the nation. A project like this not only professionally equips the advisory workforce in the industry but also promotes stability and talent retention in the sector.”
Further assessments are to be run by INSETA in June and November annually until 2009. For more information please contact 0861 130013 or go to: www.inseta.org.za.
To arrange an interview with INSETA, please contact Michael Morgan on 021 465 9568 or email info@rothko.co.za.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:21.3 1st April, 2008
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