Hardi Swart was the biggest winner at the financial planning industry’s flagship event, while Gerhardt Meyer, Gail Gibson, Barbara Jakob and Amanda John also took home coveted prizes.
Nearly 250 financial luminaries gathered last night for a dose of glitz and glamour at the FPI’s gala dinner which was sponsored by Alexander Forbes and hosted by Ursula Chikane. Amid much suspense, the FPI’s 2019 award winners were announced. The biggest prize went to Hardi Swart, who was crowned Financial Planner of the Year at his 3rd attempt, but he was by no means the only winner.
- The Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognises an individual’s tireless efforts to foster diversity in the financial planning profession, had a worthy winner in Amanda John. John – the Business Transformation Coach at Old Mutual and author of Financial Fitness to Financial Freedom – certainly walks the talk.
- The Harry Brews Award, which honours a remarkable individual for a lifetime of service to both the FPI and the financial planning profession in general, was awarded to Gerhardt Meyer. In his roles in the private sector – most recently at Old Mutual and PSG – and his service to both the FPI and the FPSB, Gerhardt has worked tirelessly to promote the profession.
- The It Starts with Me Award – which recognises a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® who works tirelessly to promote the CFP® certification – went to Gail Gibson. Gibson, who has dedicated her career to training others at institutions including the Moonstone Business School, the FPI and Naked Mindz, stood out from the competition for the way in which she entrenches the CFP® mark in her work life and invests in her personal brand by letting others know that she is a CFP® professional.
- The Top Candidate Award, which goes to the top-performing candidate in the FPI’s CFP® Professional Competency Examination across the August 2018 and February 2019 sittings, was won by Barbara Jakob. We wish her well as she embarks on a promising career as a CFP®.
The evening culminated with the announcement that Hardi Swart is the 2019 Financial Planner of the Year. The award is the highest accolade bestowed on financial planners in South Africa, and it represents the very pinnacle of the profession. The rigorous selection process requires candidates to submit a detailed case study; to undergo a laborious practice visit; and to show off their skills and expertise on topics as varied as legislation, industry trends and technical information in the crucible of a panel interview.
Swart, who has worked at Autus Private Clients and Family Office since 2012, set himself apart from the competition through the depth of his knowledge, the immense detail of his financial plans and his exceptional personal commitment to his clients. “This award is a recognition that financial planning is about more than excellent advice – that is the given,” said Swart, before adding that he sees himself as “A lifeline and coach to friends, not clients.”
Lelané Bezuidenhout, the CEO of the FPI described handing out the awards as a humbling experience: “I am in awe of the years of dedication and hard work it has taken for each winner to get where they are,” she said, before adding that “there is no such thing as luck – only hard work, dedication and professionalism.”