Every Financial Advisor & Intermediary needs 4 different cornerstones:

  • Ethics
  • Professional Advice
  • Compliance and
  • Practice Management

Financial advisors and intermediaries require four essential cornerstones to ensure success and ethical practices: ethics, professional advice, compliance, and practice management. Upholding high ethical standards, providing tailored professional advice, and adhering to regulatory compliance is critical for any financial advisor. Additionally, effective practice management, which includes managing client relationships, marketing, technology, and financial management, is essential for efficient and effective service delivery. By focusing on these four cornerstones, financial advisors can build a strong foundation, deliver quality services, and maintain high ethical standards in their operations.

Dear Trusted Advisors,


As a financial advisor in South Africa, you know that building and maintaining strong relationships with your clients are keys to your success. Effective client relationship management is essential for achieving this goal. Here are five ways to improve your client relationship management and build stronger relationships with your clients:


1. Regular communication

Regular communication is essential for building and maintaining trust with your clients. By communicating with your clients regularly, you can keep them informed about their investments, address any concerns they may have, and provide them with ongoing support. This can help you establish strong and lasting relationships with your clients.


2. Personalization

Each client is unique, with their own goals, risk profile, and preferences. By personalizing your approach to each client, you can show them that you understand their specific needs and are committed to helping them achieve their goals. This can help you build a deeper and more meaningful relationship with your clients.


3. Active listening

Active listening is an essential part of effective client relationship management. By listening carefully to your client’s needs and concerns, you can gain a deeper understanding of what they are looking for and provide them with more personalized and effective advice. This can help you build trust and foster a stronger relationship with your clients.


4. Client feedback

Client feedback is a valuable tool for improving your client relationship management strategy. By soliciting feedback from your clients on a regular basis, you can gain insight into what they like about your service and what areas need improvement. This can help you identify potential issues early on and make changes to improve the client experience.


5. Client appreciation

Finally, showing appreciation for your clients is an important part of building strong relationships. By recognizing and acknowledging their loyalty and trust, you can strengthen the bond between you and your clients. This can take many forms, from sending personalized notes to offering special incentives and rewards.


In conclusion, effective client relationship management is essential for financial advisors in South Africa who want to establish strong and lasting relationships with their clients. By communicating regularly, personalizing your approach, actively listening, soliciting client feedback, and showing appreciation, you can create a client experience that sets you apart from the competition. If you are a financial advisor looking to improve your client relationship management strategy, consider implementing these five tips to help you achieve your goals.


Yours in Trust, 

Anton Swanepoel

Hello Trusted Advisors,


As trusted advisors in the South African financial industry, it is important for us to stay informed and up-to-date on the changes that will be taking place in the regulatory landscape in the near future. Today, we will be highlighting the transition from FAIS to COFI in the financial advisory market.


The transition to COFI represents a shift in regulatory focus from the re-licensing and registration of financial services providers to ensuring that financial institutions conduct their business with due care, skill, and diligence, in the interests of customers and the integrity of the financial system. COFI marks the full integration of all six treating customers fairly outcomes into the new legislation


To help you understand this transition, I will outline five key points:


1. COFI aims to further improve customer protection
COFI has been designed to improve customer protection by enhancing market conduct standards, introducing conduct accountability for senior management, and strengthening the enforcement regime. The ultimate goal is to ensure that all financial institutions put the interests of customers first, and conduct business with integrity and treat their customers fairly.


2. COFI is primarily principles-based
COFI represents a more principles-based approach, unlike FAIS, which is more of a rules-based regulatory system. This means that instead of focusing on specific rules, COFI focuses primarily on fair outcomes for customers. This approach is designed to be more flexible and adaptive to changing conditions, while still maintaining a high level of customer protection.


3. COFI introduces conduct accountability for senior management
Under COFI, senior management at financial institutions will be held accountable for the conduct of the institution and its employees. This means that the people in charge will be responsible for ensuring that their institution behaves ethically and responsibly and that customers are treated fairly. This is designed to create a culture of responsibility and accountability at all financial institutions.


4. COFI strengthens the enforcement regime
COFI introduces a range of new enforcement tools and powers to ensure that financial institutions comply with the new conduct standards. These tools include fines, penalties, and the power to suspend or revoke licenses. This is designed to ensure that financial institutions take the new conduct standards seriously and do not engage in unethical or irresponsible behaviour.


5. COFI will change how financial institutions do business
The transition from FAIS to COFI will require financial institutions to rethink their business. Putting the interests of customers first and ensuring that their products and services are designed with the customer in mind has never been more important. This may require changes to business models, processes, and procedures, as well as new training and education programs for management and employees.


In conclusion, as trusted advisors in the financial industry, it is important for us to be aware of the regulatory changes that will occur in the near future. The transition from FAIS to COFI will bring significant changes that aim to improve customer protection, ensure fair treatment of customers, and demand a culture of responsibility and accountability at all financial institutions. I encourage you to stay informed and seek further information as needed so that we can continue to serve and support you as you prepare for the transition.


Yours in Trust,
Anton Swanepoel

At Trusted Advisors we are obsessed with a few key subjects, such as trust, ethics, sound advice, compliance, and professional practice management, to name a few. After identifying the key subjects that are fundamental for advisory practices to be successful, the next step is to make sure that we start with the fundamentals (the key principles) that apply to each of these subjects. Every subject has essential, fundamental principles, good-to-know information and nice-to-know snippets. We firmly believe that every subject or activity must start with the basic principles because they are the key building blocks that lay the foundation for quality education. It is for this reason that our first series of modules and courses focus on the basic fundamentals.

The importance of the fundamentals

I am just going to use two quick examples from sports to illustrate the importance of the fundamentals. Firstly, at the time when Tiger Woods burst onto the golfing scene and became World # 1, someone asked Jack Nicklaus, the winner of 18 Major tournaments in an interview why he thought Tiger Woods was so good, and he said: “He has the best fundamentals of anyone that I have ever seen. You just don’t see fundamentals that are that good.”

Secondly, American professional basketball player, Kobe Bryant was recorded on YouTube saying, “What I had to do was to work on the basics, the fundamentals, while they relied on their athleticism and their natural ability. Because I stick to the fundamentals it caught up to them.”

The same principles around the importance of the fundamentals apply to financial advisory and intermediary services businesses. You build a business from the ground up and if you want a successful advisory practice, it must be founded on a strong foundation. The strongest possible foundation you can possibly set in place for your business is to build, grow and sustain it based on quality education that ensures that the basic fundamentals are taught first. It is for this reason that the first series of courses on the Trusted Advisor platform is about the fundamentals of four cornerstone subject matters, namely Ethics, Suitability of advice, Compliance and Professional practice management, all of which support the main theme of our business, namely Trust.

It is important to recognise that even seasoned advisors and intermediaries sometimes need to be reminded about the fundamentals and therefore we will always start our modules or courses with the fundamentals.

The name of our business belongs to our primary customers, namely those advisors who genuinely aspire to be trusted by their clients. We exist to equip, support, inspire and encourage financial advisor professionals through world-class education, engagement and experiences that will drive you forward in the pursuit of being a Trusted Advisor.

When we think about our name, we are reminded of whom we are called to serve, and we understand that, to serve trusted advisors, we ourselves must meet the highest standard of professionalism and knowledge to earn the trust of our advisor customers. We will work diligently to meet that standard.

Where there is distrust, there will be very little economic activity or perhaps even none. However, where there is trust between industry stakeholders, there is success, profitability, and growth. To help advisers and intermediaries to be trustworthy, successful, profitable, and sustainable over the long term in a very competitive and onerous industry is what drives us.

Establishing and maintaining trusted relationships with clients must be the most important objective of any adviser and intermediary, simply because it is an economic necessity. Every relationship, every service, and every transaction is based on trust and therefore, this must be the single most important competency to master. That is why we are obsessed with the fundamentals that help to build, establish, and retain trust between stakeholders in the financial services industry.

In all our communication with our stakeholders, you will recognise one primary theme, namely TRUST. If our messages are not about trust itself, it will be about one of the underlying components of trust or a subject that will enhance trust between advisors and their stakeholders. It may also contain cautionaries about things that can cause a breakdown in trust. Everything we do in Trusted Advisors is aimed at helping advisors and intermediaries be more successful through trusted relationships with their primary stakeholders, their clients, and the other industry stakeholders.

Ultimately, all the industry stakeholders in financial services have one common primary customer, namely the consumer. We aim to play our part in establishing trusted relationships between industry stakeholders by laying a sound foundation for advisors and intermediaries to build, establish and maintain high-trust relationships with their clients. To do that, our CPD modules and courses are built on four cornerstones, namely ethics, suitable advice, compliance, and practice management. We trust (pun intended) that you are going to enjoy our journey together.