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Virtual Summit Unpacks Imminent Challenges Facing F&I Industry in South Africa

The highly anticipated Finance and Insurance (F&I) Summit, which took place virtually on Tuesday 18 May, brought together the best and brightest executives in auto finance and insurance.

The inaugural event provided industry stakeholders with information pertaining to the pressing issues facing the industry, innovative sales techniques, best practises to increase dealer profitability, and unparalleled networking opportunities to help navigate the year ahead.

The Summit included insight from some of the key sponsors

Absa re-iterates importance of building and maintaining customer relationships

Speaking on behalf of Absa Vehicle and Asset Finance, Fulufhelo Mandane, Head of Dealer Relationships for Gauteng and Limpopo, highlighted the importance of this type of industry summit as a driving force for critical thinking, reflection and an opportunity to unpack the imminent challenges facing in the industry.

He emphasised the importance of building and maintaining customer relationships in order to service the entire business. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses have had to revamp their strategies to cater for the new normal, which requires more online services to help customers with all their needs. The pandemic has also caused a major economic slump, which has put pressure on sales teams. To improve sales efficiencies, Absa has invested in system enhancements to significantly reduce sales turnaround times. Its upskilled and dynamic team has become proficient in catering to the consumer market in 2021.

“Critically, we face a series of interlocking factors that will determine the conditions in which we emerge at the tail end of this pandemic. Importantly – we need to be more discerning and able to infuse flexibility into our strategies, as the market dictates, but partnerships remain the Holy Grail,” Mandane said.

“As a bank, we acknowledge the continued importance of the dealer network particularly in our value chain and we strive to prioritise dealership’s needs and plans. It is a give-and- take partnership with financiers also carrying a responsibility to lighten the load for F&Is. We consistently seek ways to best service the F&I industry with an understanding that ultimately the customer is key in this equation”.

Mandane also elaborated on the compliance efforts Absa has made to help both F&I’s and their customers so as to be beneficial to both parties.

“Advancements in our client onboarding systems make it far easier to do business with Absa. Our innovative credit scoring platforms allow for dynamic customer scoring capabilities and our dynamic pricing system enable an optimum level of control for rates and commissions for our frontline sales team. We have integrated our insurance offering, providing dealerships with a single point of sale platform including products such as Scratch and Dent, Tyre and Rim Cover, as a one-stop-shop to cater to customer needs.”

Industry authority, Lightstone Auto, offers insight into cultivating success within the automotive F&I space

Lightstone Auto, one of the other key sponsors for the event, is one of the industry’s most prominent authorities, recognised for providing cutting edge electronic finance processes, automotive market intelligence, trends and forecasting and data-driven insight, providing vital data pertaining to new vehicle sales to the South African motor industry.

Pieter Wessels, Managing Director of Lightstone Auto, offered insight about cultivating success within the F&I industry going forward.

He emphasised the need for proficient compliance services and customer satisfaction, key components in ensuring success as an F&I. Signio, an exclusive Lightstone Auto platform, offers an innovative workflow solution that efficiently and securely automates the vehicle finance and insurance process. It offers a paperless, electronic, managed solution that is easy to use, meets all compliance requirements, and provides feedback on key performance areas. Making it one of the first choices for data analytics in the motor industry.

“At Lightstone, our mission is to simplify complex processes – specifically the F&I process. It is important to accurately interpret and create value from difficult and complex data sets and through advanced analytics, we deliver solutions that aim to do exactly that. Lightstone is known for our platform, Signio, and as market leaders, we are well regarded as the most user-friendly and cost-effective solution in the market. We continue to invest in infrastructure, data security and user experience, especially as digital adoption increases which has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Wessels says.

We further provide compliance services to around 800 F&Is. In association with Naamsa we provide New Vehicles Sales Reporting, we have a verification and evaluation product that assists the industry in determining the true value of a vehicle and we support dealers in measuring customer satisfaction to ensure that retention is top of mind. As data experts, we get involved in many data-driven projects for key stakeholders in the motor industry, including motor manufacturers, banks, insurance companies and dealer groups,” he says.

Lightstone Auto’s success is also credited to its inhouse risk management team that provides a Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS) compliance service to the motor dealer market, giving motor dealers total control of all finance transactions while removing any risks associated with FAIS requirements.

“As an organisation we are passionate about the motor industry because the industry ensures mobility, and mobility is a key driver in economic activity, economic inclusion and economic growth and we will continue to play our role in ensuring that the motor industry remains healthy and sustainable,”Wessels says.

Over 634 delegates benefited not only from this dynamic and highly interactive programme including local and international experts, industry stakeholders, motivational speakers, and highly regarded sales experts, but also earned themselves CPD points.

This event brought together the best and brightest executives in auto finance and insurance to provide industry stakeholders with up-to-date information, innovative sales techniques, and unparalleled networking opportunities to help navigate the year ahead. Other sponsors of the F&I Summit included NADA, Motorvaps and Mix Telematics.







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