On October 22 2018, the CFA Society South Africa hosted a CFA Institute Future of Finance workshop led by Paul Smith, president and CEO of CFA Institute. Under his leadership, the CFA Institute has embarked on a multi-year research project and strategic focus under the banner of “Future of Finance”.

Its statement of intent reads:

“Leveraging our global network of members, we are uniquely positioned to help shape a more trustworthy, forward-thinking investment profession that better serves society. The Future of Finance works with a distinguished advisory council and a content council of industry leaders who provide input for projects and share our ideas throughout the investment community.

"Our goal is to motivate and empower the world of finance to become an environment where investor interests come first, markets function at their best, and economies grow. Our Future of Finance work focuses on opportunities for change.”

Fifty senior industry professionals came together to evaluate the state of the finance and investment industry in SA, and discussed what the desired future state, specifically for SA, should look like and what actions could be taken to move from the status quo to the desired state.

A workbook of action plans called Let’s Measure Up in 2019 has been compiled and is an aggregated, summarised outcome of the combined inputs of all workshop attendees. Action items are grouped under four Future of Finance topics. The action plan workbook is available on the CFA Society South Africa website.

The CFA Society South Africa encourages all investment professionals to consider action that they can take personally; action they can get their firm to take; and action they believe should be taken collectively by the industry.

In the spirit of #ThumaMina, the CFA Society South Africa also invites industry professionals to participate in any of the four workgroups that have been proposed and will be constituted during the second half of January 2019 (and are expected to convene in February).

The four workshops are as follows:

  • The investment firm of the future

Work with the CFA Institute to define global ESG reporting standards and metrics of ESG impact, specifically addressing societal needs; and metrics to measure the impact of a rand invested on the SA society at large.

  • The investment professional of the future

Establish a programme to connect the investment profession to broader society to engender trust. Include some form of CE/CPD credit to recognise community-based work. Allow investment professionals to share our knowledge and educate.

  • The future state of the investment product

Engage the government to introduce further incentives that will boost a savings culture, not further indebtedness. For example, introduce an extension or addition to the tax-free savings and investment account that allows a flexible packaged solution offering a combination of an emergency fund/funeral cover/education policy/life insurance/risk benefits/saving and investment for retirement across regulatory licences. Design the equivalent of an employee benefit offering for low-income earners, part-time or contract workers, self-employed individuals, and people in the informal sector.

  • The future state of the asset owner

Design and implement a system to educate and facilitate the exercising of minority shareholder rights (such as voting at listed company annual general meetings), including shareholding in retirement funds, collective investment schemes and so forth to enhance the ownership and accountability experience.

The CFA Society South Africa encourages industry professionals in the downtime over the festive season to take the opportunity to reflect on what they have received from the investment profession and industry; on the factors they have identified that contribute to the shortcomings and the state of the finance and investment industry globally and in SA; and on the opportunities they have to make a difference and take action towards a more desired state of affairs.

Let’s Measure Up in 2019!

This article was paid for by CFA Society South Africa.