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Thoughts from our CEO – Let’s celebrate the wins as we wrap up 2023

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This year is particularly special as we celebrate our 15-year anniversary, which centres on a crystal theme. Crystal is a powerful symbol that represents clarity, focus, and precision. Just as a crystal reflects light in myriad facets, the FIA aims to illuminate its strategy and goals with transparency and precision.

The inherent structure and purity of a crystal also symbolises integrity, emphasising the importance of ethical practices and honesty in the business world. Crystals are also associated with energy and positive vibrations, fostering an environment conducive for innovation and productivity.

In this context, the FIA underscores the value of transparency, integrity, and a clear vision, all essential elements for success – and we trust this reaffirms our commitment to members and the industry at large.

Hitting refresh

A refreshed strategy was communicated to members during our national roadshow in March and April 2023. The time for this new strategy to materialise is a delicate and dynamic phase that requires foresight and adaptability. Initiating a shift in the strategy in 2023 marks the beginning of a transformative journey, where the FIA endeavours to align its objectives with member demands, market changes and internal capabilities. Success is not instantaneous; it demands patience and continuous evaluation, and a willingness to adjust course if necessary.

Membership growth is a key element of the strategy for several reasons. A growing membership base enhances the FIA’s influence and global impact within the financial services sector. Membership growth also translates to greater financial resources to represent intermediaries and increase value to members. Moreover, a robust and diverse membership base strengthens the FIA’s ability to advocate and to reinforce the important role of what intermediaries do on behalf of clients.

The net effect of member FSPs has remained relatively stable over the past 12 months, and the number of key individuals and representatives has increased. The membership transformation project (powered by Santam and supported by Old Mutual Insure, Integrisure, Momentum and Liberty) has also progressed very well. We have onboarded more than 140 black FSPs since 2021. Whilst we anticipated there would be significant shifts in new and cancelled members given the nature of the project, we are very pleased with the impact. As part of our various transformation initiatives, engagements with leading insurers are underway to address access to market challenges facing black brokers.

Navigating regulation

Given the list of noteworthy regulatory updates shared with members at the FIA AGM on 15 November, effective lobbying and advocacy also form an integral part of the strategy. We allocate a substantial amount of membership income to recruit the best resources in the industry to represent intermediaries, which has led to successful outcomes for member businesses. We also work with member experts who engage collaboratively with one another across multiple disciplines and backgrounds to find solutions that are conducive for business.

Building stronger connections

We launched the FIA Member App earlier this year. The primary objective was to connect the FIA community and provide members with easy access to information. We encourage all members to download the app.

The success of the new strategy is also intricately tied to the robustness of the Zoho CRM system. Zoho forms the backbone, providing the necessary structure and support to execute on our strategic initiatives. From member data management to improving our communication channels, each component of the system plays a critical role.  Ongoing investment in the enhancement of the system is paramount as data security measures increase and members seek a more personalised experience.

Our two national events, the FIA Advice Summit and the Awards stand out as flagship occasions for the industry due to their profound impact and significance. The FIA Advice Summit is renowned for bringing stakeholders together, fostering collaboration and opportunities. This platform has also become a symbol of networking and knowledge sharing. The Awards is distinguished for its capacity to set industry trends and service standards for the benefit of intermediaries and the clients we serve.

In closing, thank you to each one of the members who participated in the FIA Brand Satisfaction Survey. While the overall satisfaction remained very stable compared to 2022 (at an average of 8.5/10), we will never become complacent in our endeavours to improve our service to members.

I want to thank every member of the FIA team for their contribution to our overall performance – we work as a collective towards a common goal. Thank you to every member who serves as a volunteer – your incredible knowledge, insights and support are what make the FIA so great. Lastly, thank you to our incredible partners; we are grateful for the platform to collaborate and promote the industry.