Stakeholders in the local financial services industry are looking forward to the 2014 Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) Awards gala dinner, to be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg on 12 June 2014.
Now in its 16th year the FIA Awards are acknowledged as a leading measure of product supplier excellence based on an independent survey of practicing finance and risk advisers, all members of the FIA.
The awards survey process is an opportunity for intermediaries to rate the insurers, underwriters and investment companies that they interact with as they provide advice and ongoing service to their clients. It is also an opportunity for financial services firms that favour the intermediated distribution model to rate their performance against that of their peers.
An award is issued in each of nine industry categories to include the four 'core' disciplines in the financial advice space, namely employee benefits, financial planning (including risk and investment advice), healthcare and short term insurance.
"The FIA Awards survey is an opportunity for FIA member brokers to recognise those product suppliers that give them the best overall support in servicing the end consumer," says Justus van Pletzen, CEO of the FIA. "Our progressive financial regulatory environment has resulted in steep increases in compliance costs with the result finance and risk advisers welcome every bit of assistance that their product partners bring to the table."
Pieter Aucamp, CEO of Bluestream Research, says that the FIA Awards survey is one of the most comprehensive whole-of-industry broker satisfaction benchmarks produced in South Africa. It is unique in that winners are chosen according to a consistent methodology that has been applied, improved upon and perfected over the past nine years.
"The main objective of the annual FIA benchmark survey is to determine and recognise South Africa's top performing product suppliers, independently rated on intermediary satisfaction," he says. What does it take to win recognition as the best product supplier in the country?
Survey participants are asked to rate suppliers based on product quality, service quality, relationship quality and overall satisfaction. Suppliers are then assessed and ranked under each of these 'headings' before a final score is computed.
This year's survey was conducted over a 10-week period during which time 6417 product supplier contracts were evaluated by way of more than 24000 telephone calls. An average of 13 minutes was spent on completing each interview.
"The FIA Awards is about celebrating those product suppliers that go the extra mile to enable our members to do what they do best, namely to deliver exceptional advice and ongoing service to the consuming public," says Van Pletzen. "We look forward to the 12th of June when we announce the winners of the 2014 FIA Awards and congratulate those firms that measure up to the industry 'benchmark of excellence.'"
"To the runners up, we say: Keep your eye on the prize, because every action that you take to improve the advice or service that an intermediary provides underpins the value of good financial advice."