Hannes van den Berg, Momentum Consult CEO opened the Momentum Consult conference, an event attended by a variety of Momentum Consult advisers, with a reference to “mind shift”. Momentum Consult have grown from 15 franchises with 15 professional advisers in 2014 to 108 franchises and 131 advisers in 2016. The main focus at Momentum Consult is “financial wellness” and the aim to deliver this by creating an environment conducive to attracting professional advisers that want to retain their independence within is a supportive business structure.
Hannes took us through history and especially South Africa’s radical transformation over the past few decades, showing how a mind shift is needed to cope with ever changing environments. He said courage is needed to introspect and to learn how to be resourceful and creative. The same applies in the financial planning environment.
He concluded by saying that our future depends on the mind shift we are prepared to make.
Next up was Justice Malala, well-known political commentator, giving us his take on the political climate in South Africa. Referring to the recent voting, he stated that power shift is happening and mind shift is needed to cope with a fast changing landscape.
How to worry properly – Justice advises us to only worry about that which directly affects us. Politically, only that which creates institutional uncertainty should be of concern. The rest is political smoke and mirrors. A civil service transition is also taking place, where position and political affiliation needs to be disconnected, except where it is a key political position. This will bring a mind shift for civil servants. Currently 73% of the holders of key public office positions depends on Zuma for their position.
As for the Hawks and Gordhan, these developments have a direct effect on South Africa in the same way as Brexit drove the British Pound to a 30 year low. Malala says he believes Gordhan is being harassed because he is on the wrong side of the ANC power struggle, and this will continue until the internal power struggle is resolved.
Roelof Botha, the ever-optimistic economist, struck a positive note and showed that the SA Rand is out of sinc with the performance of other emerging market currencies against the USD. This shows that there are clearly political factors at work in the performance of the Rand. RB8 more for imports paid by SA due to the Gordhan firing. That is something that demonstrates the lack of understanding of economics that our government has. If we can sort this political interference out, things will look very bright.
He also said the gold price tells him that our economy will not go into a recession. One of his problems however is that we should be lowering interest rates to kickstart the economy, stressing that raised interest rates are damaging consumer financial health.
His reasons why SA sovereign debt remains investment grade is that we have a diversified economy and our public debt/GDP ratio compares very well with our main trading partners while we have good balance of payments stability.
Roelof lists progress with meeting basic needs:
- 3m RDP house
- 2000 new health clinics
- Access to clean water for 10 million people
- New sanitation facilities for 7 m people
- 4.5m new electricity connections
- Free education
- Redistribution of 3m hectares of land
- 5m kids in primary school food programme
- 16 m new social grant beneficiaries
In macro economic terms SA is significantly better off than 20 years ago and SA households have a debt/income ratio much better than many countries:
Leanne Jackson, FSB Head of Treating Customers Fairly, closed the day with a discussion on why the customer should be moved to the centre of the financial advisory process, saying that the main aim of RDR is exactly that.
Leanne highlighted the sources of conflict in advisory remuneration as follows:
She went on to say that the FSB paid attention to the challenges with the initial advisor categorisation in RDR and explained the revised categorisation:
(I would love to hear your comments on this categorisation)
Leanne ended off her discussion with a list of other issues that are still under consideration:
That ended day one with everyone looking forward to a second day of insightful discussions and useful presentations.
Momentum Consult – Mind Shift Day Two
Brian Foster, Beyond RDR Co-founder – started the morning on the topic “Six essential steps for success post RDR.
First revelation for the day is that up to now Financial Planners have been selling other firms products and given away for free their own value add, namely “advice”. That business model is broken and needs to change.
The answer he suggested was to separate advice and intermediation with the product becoming life planning and coaching. Income should be coming from a retainer fee to ensure everyone pays the same for the same service. This however requires a 180 degree mind shift., re-training & acceptance of a different way of operating.
The first step in getting there is a client segmentation exercise. People should receive service according to what they pay. Secondly, is the promise or written proposition of what the client can expect, clear and concise. To do this the adviser needs to fully understand what the client really wants in value.
Pricing is the third step, which means you need to know what it costs to deliver the value that you promise. A survey revealed that 80% of advisers do not know what it cost them to deliver the advice the give away for free. The price is what it cost and the value is the difference it makes. Get these two to be in sinc.
According to Brian we then get to the pitch where he explains to clients that he provides a consulting and coaching service. Clients will have in their mind the question: “What difference is this guy going to make and what will it cost me?”
The main reason why there should be a strong client/adviser partnership and ongoing relationship is because the Plan and the reality are never going to be the same because “life happens”.
Hannes van den Berg thanked Brian and confirmed that behind financial wellness lies a plan and this plan is what clients will be willing to pay for. It is advice in physical form.
Brand Pretorius, retired CEO of McCarty Limited closed the Mind Shift Conference with a few guidelines to sustainable business success. He started out by saying that he has done some things right and made some mistakes but had the privilege of learning from top achievers in business.
Taking over a McCarthy that was in very bad shape taught me about myself, my faith, business and much more. Brand shared what he learned during this time. He shared his guidelines on a backdrop of uncertainty and challenging political and economic times, saying yesterday’s success is no guarantee for tomorrow’s profits. A mind shift is required and a look from a new perspective.
Brand listed the following attributes for sustainable success:
- A bias for action
- High level of moral intelligence ensures you moral compass stays on track, a requirement for sustainable success
- A high level of emotional intelligence will help you cope with pressure and volatile environments.
- Relational intelligence, especially, assists you to connect with staff and customers
- Self-discipline is the attribute that ensures you do what you need to do when you have to do it whether you feel like it or not
- A desire for continuous improvement.
- Resilience/ perseverance is the ultimate challenge for any businessman
- Top achievers exist for their customers. Everything you do in your business should be aimed at what will delight your customers. Really successful people are givers, not takers. Be willing to serve and care for your customers and all those around you.
He also discussed a few essential skills:
- Self-management and especially investing your time appropriately. Don’t be busy, get things done. Be productive and not just active. Focus properly and invest time in the important issues. The digital era has made this even more complicated, bombarding us with attention seeking communications.
- Communication effectiveness. Clear and relevant communication. Fancy words do not translate into good communication. Clear, meaningful and well-considered communication coupled with listening with empathy will make communication effective. However, all this will mean very little if you have no credibility.
- The ability to execute will determine your success.
“Remember that attitude is more important than skills and knowledge!”
What else do you need to do?
- Be the best in marketing your own personal brand in a deliberate and entrepreneurial manner. When people talk about you, a specific picture needs to emerge.
- Set yourself apart by differentiating your offering.
Brand concluded by saying top achievers have the right mindset, they are positive and enjoy the challenges while at the same time they continuously grow their knowledge. He urged everyone to build trust, based on three pillars, integrity, knowledge/skills/competence and thirdly empathy/care. The place to start is to have a personal code of conduct and a clear and positive vision as to what you want and where you want to go.
A wonderful presentation to end two days of inspirational discussions with people who have a passion for the financial planning profession and a vision to take advantage of the changes happening in the industry.