Fiduciary update with Louis van Vuren, CEO of FISA

Louis van Vuren, CEO of FISA
Louis van Vuren, CEO of FISA

The Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) is well known to professionals in various fields, including fiduciary practitioners, financial planners, accountants and lawyers.

We caught up with FISA CEO Louis van Vuren to find out about the benefits of candidate membership for those wishing to enter the fiduciary field but who do not yet have the relevant work experience.

Q:        Please explain what candidate membership of FISA entails.

A:        We introduced candidate membership three years ago as a way of attracting young talent into FISA which is the only professional body focused solely on fiduciary practitioners. In particular we find that law and accounting graduates are increasingly interested in exploring careers in the fiduciary field. In addition, there are also post-graduates who have completed diplomas in estate planning or trust law, or who have earned the designation of CFP® and wish to broaden their work into the fiduciary field.

Q:        What is the attraction of FISA to those looking to enter the field?

A:         The younger generation is concerned about our future society and they like to feel they are making a positive impact, all the more so now in a potential post-COVID future. The fiduciary industry is ultimately about caring for others, assuming a position of trust and care and acting as a fiduciary for another. Our members uphold the highest ethical and professional standards and are subject to the FISA Code of Ethics.

The fiduciary industry is perennial – people will always need the services offered by practitioners.

Q:        What exactly do fiduciary practitioners do?

A:         They are involved in all aspects of estate planning, from “cradle to grave.” The first step is to have a robust estate plan, from which other actions follow, such as having your will drafted by a professional, a possible trust set up and advice on tax. Then practitioners are involved in winding up estates and acting as executor, coming alongside the family once they have lost a loved one.

FISA has good working relationships with the Master’s Office and SARS, which often smooths the process in dealing with these bodies.

Q:        What more can you tell us about candidate membership?

Candidate membership requires no experience, but must be converted to full membership once the candidate member has three years of applicable experience. Candidate members can join FISA and enjoy all the benefits that membership brings with the exception of being allowed to vote at meetings.

The ultimate aim is to apply to FISA for the fiduciary designation, Fiduciary Practitioner of South Africa® (FPSA®). As the FPSA® designation is proprietary to FISA, it is only awarded to FISA members.

FISA members must have:

  • at least three years of practical experience in the fiduciary field; and
  • comply with ethical requirements; and
  • first enter and successfully complete the Advanced Diploma in Estate and Trust Administration offered by The School of Financial Planning Law (SFPL) at the University of Free State; following which they may apply to FISA for the FPSA® designation to be awarded to them.

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