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Financial Sector Charter – Opportunity lost?

Yesterday saw the launch of the Financial Sector Code in Johannesburg. An event attended by Ministers Gordhan and Davies (Trade and Industry), Mr Momoniat from Treasury and a host of other dignitaries. Certainly an auspicious occasion. (Visit our Facebook page for photos of the event and read the official release below.)

For our upcoming August issue of COVER, I had to speak to some people regarding the state of the independent intermediary environment and came to the conclusion that, as a sector for employment, it has not only died, but is shedding jobs, for various reasons. I sincerely hope the FSC Council took this into account during their deliberations but I am a bit worried.

Firstly, let me state that I am all for the FSC and what it represents and is aiming to achieve. This strategy is long overdue. My concerns come from a different place.

The FSC Council membership sees Barry Scott (SAIA) representing the Insurance Industry and Bridgette Mokoena-Halala (Assupol) representing ASISA and Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) representing whom their name indicates. With 140 000 or so registered intermediaries out there I would have thought that we would have specific representation for them. However, I do understand that, due to the long time it took for the FSC process, ten years as I understand it, intermediaries were not unified in their representation for most of the process. In discussion with Justus Van Pletzen, FIA CEO, he confirmed that the FIA fully supports the FSC and will represent the interests of intermediaries during the implementation.

As a source of job creation, a source of entrepreneurship, of independent business creation, the intermediary environment should be high on the priority list of industries to nurture. How do we transform the intermediary environment if we cannot grow it, if we make the barriers of entry so high that not even professionals see value in trying to enter.

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