Sandra Dunn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Insurance Sector Education and Training Authority (INSETA) is pleased to announce, that since 2008, INSETA has assisted more than 100 000 Financial Services Providers (FSPs) to obtain Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (FAIS) credits and thereafter to pass the Regulatory Examinations (RE).
INSETA partnered with the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) to create the National Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) examinations for FSPs to obtain 30 and 60 credits through Imfundo (INSETA?s logistics partner). The first and second phase FAIS exams were subsidised by INSETA between 2007 and 2009 allowing thousands of FSP?s to become compliant and remain in the industry.
When the FSB announced the amended fit and proper requirements in 2008, they introduced the RE exams. INSETA commissioned learning material which was endorsed by the FSB, for all the RE exams. This was done to reduce the cost of compliance to the FSP?s in support of the industry. This learning material was made available to the public free of charge and is available on the INSETA website. It has been used and adapted by most training providers who offer FAIS training; employers; and FSPs throughout the financial sector. Over 43?000 people have downloaded INSETA?s FAIS RE learning materials thus far. In 2010, 7 819 people downloaded the information. This almost doubled in 2011, when 15?082 people downloaded copies. In 2012 and 2013, 10 793 and????? 7 785 people respectively, downloaded the information. The learning material continues to be relevant and so far this year, 1 777 people have already downloaded the learning material.?In addition, INSETA has printed thousands of hard copies of the learning material for small brokers who had no access to online learning material.
The said examinations ensure compliance with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act, 2002 (the FAIS Act) which came into effect on 30 September 2004. The purpose of the FAIS Act is two-fold: to safeguard the consumers of financial products and services, and to professionalise the financial services industry. The Act calls for all financial advisors and intermediaries (brokers) to have specific technical competencies.
When the amended fit and proper requirements were first introduced in 2008, it was met with some apprehension as brokers in the insurance industry were compelled to pass the FAIS RE. Some FSP?s commented that the deadlines imposed were too short and that questions asked in the examinations were too complex and convoluted. In addition, many small, medium and micro brokers often found the compliance conditions challenging to meet.
Ms Sandra Dunn, explained the importance of the FAIS RE, “The entry level standards for the industry were very low, and regulatory examinations were necessary for advisors to know exactly what the FAIS Act required of them.”
To alleviate these growing pains, INSETA initiated national programmes to assist thousands of brokers in the insurance industry to pass the FAIS RE. One INSETA programme included seminars such as ?How to Read and Interpret Legislation?, ?Examination Preparation Techniques? and so forth. Learning material and copies of relevant legislation were disseminated amongst seminar attendees. “The seminars have proven a useful opportunity for INSETA to make the legislation and training material available to stakeholders who have not been able to access it from the websites, as well as proving useful in spreading awareness of the material. INSETA is doing everything it can to assist stakeholders to pass the exam,” Ms Dunn said. Recently, INSETA has also helped brokers who had previously failed the FAIS RE, to rewrite the exam.
Ms Brenda Green of Peter Dirksen Insurance Brokers, attended a Durban INSETA programme and said, “It was a fantastic workshop; I found the INSETA books so much easier to understand and to follow than all the others that are available on the market.?