by Staff reporter

On top of the game

Technical competence is key

Francois le Roux.jpg

Old Mutual Private Wealth Management's Francois le Roux has been one of the top three finalists in the FPI Financial Planner of the Year Award for two years running. A member of the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa, and a professional CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER®, he has been in the business for 16 years. His qualifications include a BA (Law), LLB, MBA, a Certificate in Taxation, and an Advanced Post-Graduate Diploma in financial planning. He is an admitted attorney of the High Court (non-practicing).

“Financial planning is a very rewarding profession, as it affords you the opportunity to make a real difference to someone’s life by recommending, implementing, and managing a long term financial planning strategy, which I find very satisfying,” he says. “Each time I present the findings of a comprehensive financial needs analysis to a new client, and it reaches the point where you sense that you have clarified their financial position for them, makes for a special and mutually rewarding experience. One should never underestimate the value of formulating and giving sound advice.”

He explains that Old Mutual Wealth has a range of investment strategy portfolios built around inflation plus targets. The higher the returns that are targeted above inflation, the higher the investment risk, hence the longer the minimum recommended investment period. “We have a dedicated investment team that do ongoing research, asset allocation, as well as appointment of appropriate asset managers to manage our portfolios.

"The portfolios are constructed on the basis of multi-manager fund of funds,” le Roux says.

In his early years, when he had to prospect for new clients, he always disliked calling them to make contact. Fortunately that is a phase that has passed, he says. Currently what he finds challenging is keeping up with new developments and ensuring that one is always on top of the game.

“Technical competence is key to me as it facilitates giving sound advice,” le Roux offers. “Financial planning is multi-disciplinary—you have to keep up with a host of ongoing legal amendments, fluctuating financial markets, and a whole lot in between. Our profession recognises the need for continuous professional development, and therefore requires a minimum of 35 hours of learning per annum to keep abreast of new developments.”

Le Roux explains that one thing that most people don’t know about financial planning is that there is a distinct difference between financial advisors and professional financial planners. The Financial Planning Institute ("FPI")is a South African Qualifications Authority (“SAQA”) recognised professional body, therefore ensuring that people who carry the CFP designation are qualified, experienced and professional.

“The 4 ‘E’s’ relating to our professional status are education, exams, ethics, and experience. A Post-graduate qualification is required, e.g. a BComm Hons in Financial Planning or a Diploma in Financial Planning (NQF Level 8). The Board Exam is similar to the stringent admissions exams in other professions. Financial planners must subscribe to the stringent FPI Code of Ethics and Practice Standards. A minimum of three years of experience is required.” Le Roux explains that the process of determining the top three finalists is done through a judging process that takes place by means of three separate and independent expert rounds. Round one consists of submitting a financial plan of your choice. Round two is a panel site visit where an audit is done on aspects of practice management, as well as regulatory and FPI compliance. Round three entails an interview by the Chairman and selected Directors of the FPI, as well as doing a presentation to them. Scoring is done for each round, and submitted to the Auditors of the FPI to compile an overall final score to determine the winner.

Francois le Roux is a finalist for the FPI Financial Planner of the Year award.


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Issue 72