The South African Association of Treasury Advisors (SAATA) was launched in October 2019 to enable and facilitate constructive discussion and representation between members and stakeholders, including government departments, committees and regulators. It provides insight and on the ground experiences by which regulators can amend and influence legislation.
Both FSCA and SARB support this new voluntary association. It represents both big and small treasury advisors, with members in each province and across the spectrum from small businesses to large corporates. All South African treasury advisors are invited to join, contribute, and benefit from the support offered for SMME growth, which in turn will boost our economy.
Founding members include Jill Wilmans MD of Secure FX, Richard Beddow, MD of ForexPeople, Carlos Martins, Director of Change Financial Solutions and Ras Theron, MD of Currency Assist. Their local expertise in the sector includes knowledge of how payments have evolved in South Africa, and how to navigate the complexities of exchange control, as well as the impact it has for both private individuals and corporate companies. They also have a wealth of international experience in global compliance best practice and AML procedures; a commitment to support and drive small business development and entrepreneurialism; and an understanding of the international advancements in the fintech space. This is key as they can predict and plan for how these global developments could impact our international payments processing in the future.
“Many of the businesses in our sector are SMMEs and owner managed – becoming members of SAATA brings us closer and enables us to share our concerns and experiences that may impact the sector,” comments Beddow.
SAATA also provides a platform to bring the FX Global Code to South Africa. This set of principles of good practice for foreign exchange market participants aims to promote the integrity and effective functioning of the wholesale foreign exchange market.
Wilmans comments, “SAATA creates an opportunity to set industry benchmarks, enable collective transformation and focus on skills development in the industry. It will also give clients comfort on the integrity of the sector.” This is increasingly relevant as digital currencies challenge the traditional systems, and treasury advisors are best placed to support clients to adapt.
It’s the first of its kind in South Africa, however there are similar industry bodies internationally, so SAATA can look to global best practice for members to adopt as transformation in the industry becomes more inclusive.
Martins explains that “With the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) coming in to effect, lots of change taking place in the industry, opportunistic business and global compliance standards increasing, now is the perfect time for SAATA to come in to effect.”
Looking ahead, SAATA also has the potential to influence the FSCA to establish an accredited training program specific to the industry, which will ensure members and their staff will be better skilled to service the clients in South Africa.
In closing, Theron says, “We encourage all treasury advisors to join, and all South Africans to support SAATA members. This will help prevent international unregulated entities operating in South Africa, charging exorbitant fees and trading for clients in ways that are not compliant with SARB exchange control. Let’s get behind this industry body created to drive growth and transformation in our industry and be part of the solution to boost the South African economy.”