Fiduciary update with Louis van Vuren, CEO of the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa

Louis van Vuren

Please remind us of what the Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa (FISA) does?

FISA is the only professional body focusing solely on fiduciary practitioners in Southern Africa. FISA is a non-profit organisation that represents fiduciary practitioners and sets high minimum standards for the industry.

FISA members come from trust companies and banks, as well as the legal, accounting and financial planning professions.

FISA members do estate planning, draft wills, administer trusts, deceased estates, and beneficiary funds, supply tax advice and compliance services, and administer client assets.

Why is it taking so long for a deceased estate to be wound up?

In recent years the delays experienced in winding up a deceased estate have increased significantly, to a worrying degree. Complaints to FISA about service failures in the Master’s Office have increased exponentially since 2018.

From our perspective, there are several reasons for the delays:

  • Staff shortages in the Master’s offices
  • Skills shortages and lack of proper training
  • Lack of managerial capacity
  • An inability or unwillingness to practise sound consequence management
  • Non-existent or unreliable information technology.

What other factors come into play?

There are various stakeholders involved in winding up an estate. The executor is dependent on the co-operation of financial institutions, employer(s) of the deceased, the SARS, the Department of Home Affairs, the courts, the Government Printing Works, and the Master. Over the last number of years several of these have at times not been able to deliver what they had to, nor as smoothly as they had to.

Is FISA able to help?

FISA is doing its best to help support the various stakeholders and engage with the authorities. This is a challenging and ongoing process.

Tell us about the fiduciary designation, Fiduciary Practitioner of South Africa® (FPSA®)

This designation, introduced by FISA in 2011, indicates that, apart from the qualifications you have, you have demonstrated the ability to act as a professional in the highly technical field of fiduciary practice.  Read more on our website here.

How do you get the designation?

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
  • Comply with ethical requirements
  • Must first enter and successfully complete the Advanced Diploma in Estate and Trust Administration which has been offered by The School of Financial Planning Law (SFPL) at the University of Free State since 2015
  • Lastly, apply to FISA for the FPSA® designation to be awarded to them.

FISA has an archive of fiduciary-related court cases I believe?

Yes, we believe that one of our best kept secrets is an extensive archive of summarised court cases relating to fiduciary matters, such as wills, trusts, executorship, estate administration and estate planning. The court cases can provide valuable knowledge for planners advising their client. The summaries click through to the full judgements if readers so wish.

The court case archive can be accessed at https://www.fisa.net.za/category/court-cases/

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