Northwood Financial Services CC first opened its doors in 1990, with a complement of only two staff members. Everything was simpler back then, and processes were relatively easy to manage.
Twenty-eight years later, things are far more complicated. My regular radio broadcasts generate a significant number of queries. Daily emails and phone calls now number in the hundreds, and as a result, the Northwood staff has grown to six.
Offshore staff, stationed in New Zealand, manage Northwood’s online presence. This year the official Northwood website will also be revamped.
As skilled financial advisers, we provide advice to hundreds of clients. To make this possible, we continually upskill. Two staff members are currently training and working under supervision. This means they are studying toward becoming independent financial planners, with the ultimate goal of obtaining the title of CFP. This will take nearly five years to achieve.
This year we are also launching two new financial planning categories:
- Financial planning for SMME
- Financial Planning for Women.
Having noticed an increasing demand for this type of specialist financial planning, we have decided to expand our service offering.
The financial services industry will also see significant changes in 2018. The new Financial Sector Regulation (FSR) act was passed by parliament in 2017, and will be implemented once the Minister of Finance determines a commencement date. This means from a regulatory perspective, the new legislation places the entire financial sector, including banks, under one umbrella. The act aims to strengthen South Africa’s approach to consumer protection. It also seeks to create a more stable financial system.
As a result, many Financial Planners will choose to leave their profession. Most likely, the ones who leave will be near retirement, and will see no benefit in adapting the way they do business. At Northwood, we have been preparing for the change for several years, and we’re eagerly awaiting its implementation.