Letters from readers

In today’s article we share three pieces of correspondence.

E-mail 1:

This mail, dated 15 December, was sent to the FSB:

People are talking about a test that has to be done by the key person before September 2012. We do not know anything about it. Is it true, and where do we get the information if it’s true, and will it be available in Afrikaans?

It is rather alarming that there are still registered FSPs who are unaware of the regulatory exams. This raises another concern: what else is there that they are not aware of?

Ignorance is not bliss, I’m afraid. If an FSP does not implement plans to stay informed, they are going to find out the hard way.

An article in Media24 this weekend provided important information about the historical background to the FSB’s application of regulation:

From 2004 to 2006, the regulator focussed on licence applications, with less attention being paid to compliance with the FAIS Act and the General code of conduct. From 2006, the attention shifted to the monitoring of the submission of returns. Only in 2008 did the FSB implement a system which enabled it to effect bulk suspensions where the providers failed to comply with requirements. In the majority of cases, transgressions consisted of the non-submission of compliance reports, financial statements and non-payment of levies.

Another interesting fact which emerged from the article is the process of suspensions and withdrawals of licences. Failure to attend to any of the above requirements leads to the suspension of your licence (in Afrikaans: opskorting van u lisensie). Should the required action not be taken within three months of notification, the licence is withdrawn (Afrikaans: lisensie teruggetrek).

In the first two months of this year, the FSB withdrew a record number of 305 licences, mainly as a result of failure by providers to attend to the matters which led to the suspension of their licences three months earlier.

A last thought: are you sure that your contact details is reflected correctly at the FSB? If you fail to notify the regulator of changed details, you may miss out on vital notifications.

E-mail 2:

Thank you very much for your informative newsletter. I wrote the exam at the age of 59, passed it with 74% after an absence of 10 years in the industry. Maybe those who complain so much should rather focus their energy on preparation for the exams; it is a far more worthwhile cause. Willie.

The point I want to make from Willie’s e-mail is that neither age, nor industry experience, should play a role in your success in the REs. We had numerous examples where people, substantially older than Willie, passed the exams quite comfortably.

The fact that he passed after being out of the industry for a decade reinforces the point that we have often made in the past: your industry experience is not really a factor in the level 1 REs. Your knowledge and understanding of the legislation applicable to the industry in general, is what is important.

E-mail 3:

I am so chuffed! I got 90% for the RE5 exam and 80% for the RE1 exam – which I wrote before the RE5 exam, hence the higher mark for RE1. Don’t know how people can fail if they have carefully read through the material twice.

I sat for two and a half hours for the RE1 exam – I got bored, wanted to get it over with, but kicked myself later when I re-thought a couple of questions where I’d made the wrong choices. I was done with the RE5 exam after 50 minutes. Only re-thought one wrong answer after the event, and I wondered what the other wrong answers were. Ingrid.

It is interesting that Ingrid worked the other way around from what we normally advise candidates. One of our earliest successful respondents, Pieter Roux, indicated that he focussed on the key individual material, rather than the material for representatives, as the former was much more comprehensive and essentially encompassed everything included in the representative material.

Both Pieter and Ingrid made use of the Inseta material, but Pieter explained that he cross-referenced everything to the actual legislation. This was beneficial in two ways: it allowed him to double check the facts in the Inseta material, and proved to be just the revision that he needed to pass comfortably.


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