The Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) has announced a mutual decision to integrate FAB (the Forum for Assistance Business) into the FIA structure. FAB is a not-for-profit organisation representing stakeholders in the funeral insurance sector.
From 10 July 2015 FAB will continue as a sub-committee of the FIA's Financial Planning executive committee and be referred to as the FIA Assistance Business and Micro Insurance committee. The FIA's Employee Benefits, Healthcare, Short Term Insurance and Membership executive committees will not be affected by the change.
"Assistance businesses make a huge contribution to the South African economy and are an important component of the overarching financial services landscape," says Justus van Pletzen, CEO of the FIA.
He observes that FAB's decision to join the FIA creates a perfect opportunity for the FIA to assist this segment of the market in ongoing interactions with the regulator and other industry stakeholders. Going forward the challenge will be to educate consumers about the value of assistance business as well as to ensure the quality of advice and products in that market.
Colin Daries, CEO of FAB, welcomed the move. "It is of vital importance that assistance business is properly and formally represented at all levels to ensure appropriate legislation for this industry," he said. "Being part of the FIA structure will benefit our members on various levels and ensure better representation of the assistance business model."
He also encouraged the association's members to embrace and support the positive change.
Jay Ramsunder, president of the FIA, says that the FIA will represent the assistance business industry at all levels and will ensure positive outcomes to consumers by assisting intermediaries who provide advice and products in these markets.
"It is important that a single industry body represent all of the disciplines that financial intermediaries are involved in," says Ramsunder. "The consolidation of role players in the financial advice space could not come at a better time as the rising costs associated with the provision of financial advice renders the duplication of support structures impractical."