The FIA’s primary objective is to promote the collective interests of professional advisory business with a broad range of stakeholders for the benefit of members and clients.
The FIA is funded by intermediaries who understand that the landscape of insurance is changing, and who recognise that economic growth is critical if they want to grow and sustain their businesses. Urgent intervention is required to upskill and reskill ourselves and our members to meet the changing demands from clients as well as the changing risks.
The FIA has dedicated structures through which it supports our members. These include eight executive committees which meet on a quarterly basis and represent each of the disciplines – Discretionary Investment Management, Financial Planning, Healthcare, Non-life, Employee benefits, as well as Transformation, Education & Training and Membership.
These committees consist of industry experts in their specific discipline or subject matter knowledge who engage in collaborative projects and initiatives with other members, driving impactful solutions and innovations. Members make a collective contribution to important discussions and policy advocacy efforts that shape the future of the industry.
While brokers can be very competitive in the market, they are excellent at collaborating on important matters that affect the industry.
Being diverse in our representation (size of business and disciplines) enriches the FIA’s contribution to regulators and government on policy and regulatory developments.
We cannot do what we do without the guidance and support of our members and we are grateful to the members and partners who support the efforts of the FIA.
What problems are we solving for?
- Increased cost of compliance and over complex regulation
- Diluting the voice and influence of intermediaries
- Access to relevant market information and industry experts
- Brand protection
- Advancing innovation / reskilling members
- Retaining talent / industry intellectual capital – international challenge
- Ethical and professional conduct – we advocate for this; we want to be perceived as an ethical industry if we are to attract talent
- Promoting the industry as a professional career of choice
These are issues and challenges facing the whole industry and there is a need for all businesses to step in and participate to find solutions and alleviate the burdens being experienced across the industry.
Ultimately from an FIA perspective, we know that if we want things to happen to protect our businesses, we need to step in and participate.
Current scope of work and the wins over the last 15 years
National Health Insurance (HI) Bill: The FIA have made substantive submissions on NHI and have also had members presenting our position at the provincial public hearings. From our perspective, a key message is that, while we support universal health coverage and believe in a more equitable and improved health system for all, we do not believe that NHI in its current form will achieve this and hence we have submitted alternative proposals which have been favourably received at the various hearings.
Conduct of Financial Institutions (CoFI) Bill: The FIA actively engaged in the CoFI Bill Task Team meetings through Business Unity South Africa. A number of amendments were made to the previous draft version of the Bill, following submissions made. In addition, the FIA will be represented at the FSCA CoFI Bill Transition Working group on the journey towards full implementation.
Omni Conduct of Business Returns (CBRs): The FIA made a comprehensive submission with regard to the proposed returns, and we are pleased to advise that the FSCA is revisiting the returns and a new version will be issued for consultation towards April 2024 with the pilot commencing thereafter. As always, we encourage the industry to participate and engage, not only to inform yourselves of what is coming down the line, but also to provide input which could influence the outcome.
Financial sector transformation: We are currently working on a Transformation Guideline for our members to help them better navigate the transformation landscape and the solutions and possibilities available to them. Furthermore, we are working with partners to address access to market challenges faced by black brokers.
Low Cost Benefit Option (LCBO) Guidelines: The FIA has actively participated in the LCBO working groups and also engaged extensively to ensure that the proposals to reduce commission caps for brokers from 20% to 3% were postponed to March 2024, and we continue to engage actively on this matter.
Employment Equity Amendment Act: The Employment Equity Amendment Act has been signed into law by the president; however, the date of promulgation of the Act has not yet been set by the president and the Department of Employment & Labour (DoEL) has therefore not yet published the regulations. While we await the publication of the Gazette, to determine timelines, it is important to note that the Act as it stands has a better outcome for members due to the lobbying of the FIA. Firstly, in conjunction with the BUSA, the initial proposal that the minister could set targets without consultation was changed so that the minister is required to consult with sectors in setting targets. Furthermore, it now only impacts employers with more than 50 employees. The FIA has actively engaged with the DoEL on the proposed targets, however we maintain our position that members commence with the planning of their respective transformation strategies and not wait for confirmation of the effective date.
Two-pot system: We recognise the potential challenges that this brings to intermediaries in advising their clients and are creating a webinar to aid members in their future engagements with clients on the complex retirement fund landscape. The effective date has been moved to 1 March 2025, following industry lobbying.
In addition to all of the above specific regulatory engagements, we have also embarked on a training and education initiative with INSETA, providing funding for Class of Business Training, Regulatory Exam (RE) training and RE exams to our members.
Recent FIA wins
Reduction in FSCA levies: The FIA engaged extensively with Treasury and the FSCA over a number of years which resulted in the ultimate reduction in levies payable by FSPs in terms of the new twin peaks model.
Annual increase in healthcare commission: On an annual basis we engage with the minister to ensure that the healthcare commissions are increased.
Premium collection: Following FIA engagement, the regulator allowed for the continuation of premium collections by intermediaries.
Non-life FIC project: The FIA, with other industry associations, SAIA, SAUMA and the Crime Bureau engaged with the Financial Intelligence Centre following the proposal to include the non-life sector in the list of accountable institutions. Following an industry survey and risk assessment exercise, the FIC agreed to continue to exclude the non-life sector from the list of accountable institutions, saving the industry millions of rands.
A lot of what the FIA does amounts to risk mitigation, as advisers do with their clients. The risk and threat of regulatory changes are always there, but through the work we do, we are able to mitigate or remove the risk without there being an impact on business – in essence, we prevent the metaphorical wave from crashing into the building.
As the FIA, we are committed to working with all stakeholders in a constructive, solutions, and evidence based manner.