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Notes from our regions

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While there’s a lot that goes on centrally at the FIA, it’s in the regions where the rubber really hits the road. We invited a couple of our regional heads to share their thoughts on the function and importance of our branch network.

Northern Region

We are at the beginning of a year that will once again be filled with change. Up here in the Northern region of the FIA, everyone serving on the various management teams of the six branches is positive that by the end of 2018 progress will have been made with one of our main goals, which is membership growth.

AGMs of branches will be finalised by the end of March. New management and re-elected members will then be able to run with the programmes each branch has set out for themselves in earnest for 2018.

The ability to be flexible and creative allows branch management to establish their own individual cultures. The ability to do things in their own unique way, while still working towards a shared outcome, is what makes the serving management members special.

Our members can look forward to a year full of support from the branches to help them carry out the work they do in their respective fields in a truly professional manner.

by Henry Schnetler, Northern regional director

Coastal Region

By the time this goes to print, I would have attended at least one of all the Exco meetings of the various disciplines and sub- committees representing specific focus areas of the FIA within the intermediated market. Since joining the FIA in November 2017 the learning curve has been extreme – and at times a bit overwhelming! But the people have been extraordinary. What struck me the most during my first round of Exco and the committee meetings was when I looked around the table and realised that at least 75% of the individuals attending each meeting were volunteers.

You hear these people’s names being mentioned, you see them at meetings, and maybe you have even worked with them at some stage. But the knowledge and expertise they bring to the table is staggering. Volunteers make up the core of the FIA. Having said that, I would like to remind members that these volunteers are voted into these position. This means it’s up to you to ensure you have the correct people in place to best represent your interests.

What I did find surprising is that the secretariat of the FIA is only around 20 individuals. Although it’s a small team, their passion for the intermediated market is huge. These individuals are all heart –passionate to the point of exhaustion. But that’s what is needed.

The Coastal region comprises six branches, namely Peninsula, Tygerberg, Boland, Algoa, Border and Suid-Kaap, listed in descending order of membership size.

My job description provides the details of my daily duties, but at my core I feel that the regional manager must be an individual who will take the time to understand the personality make-up of these committees. I also aim to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each branch
to ensure their committees are supported and provided with the necessary assistance to enhance each branch member’s experience.

It is my intention to ensure that our members understand the value we add, and that non- members realise the benefits of adding their voices to the intermediated market. We want our loud and proud voices to be heard and drive messages that contribute to the growth of the financial sector and the economy.

As with everything, change is inevitable and I would like to encourage everyone to embrace the changes being made within the FIA. Whether it be related to staff, procedures or communication, every change is done with the intention of moving forward and bringing about improvement. Change, while sometimes uncomfortable, creates opportunity for innovation and valuable learning. Let’s embrace it!

I welcome input from members and encourage open dialogue. I’m always open for a conversation – ask anyone who’s met me!

by Sandra Snowball, Coastal regional manager