The brains behind the Young Financial Planners Organisation, Tiaan Herselman, left, Jason Bernic, Yariva Ramdhani and Luke Martins. Photo: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG – A profession going back to the mid-20th century is getting a new lease of life as four young people set out to scrutinise the standards, and more importantly, open the trap door for other young agile professionals to clamber through.

Financial planning – long misunderstood as an industry more than a profession that should have the same level of hat doffing as for doctors, lawyers and auditors – has fallen to the hands of Jason Bernic, Tiaan Herselman, Luke Martins and Yariva Ramdhani, who have formed the Young Financial Planners Organisation (YFPO).

What they intend to do is encourage the participation of more young people in the shaping of the industry into a more astute, energetic and focused profession.

Essentially, a financial planner is someone who will help you make every cent count when you're buying a car or a house, furthering your education, getting married, planning for your children’s future, as well as retiring and a whole plethora of life’s phases that most people walk into armed only with their hearts on their sleeves. 

A certified financial planner (CFP) could also devise a strategy for your overall cash-flow planning; liquidity planning, such as ensuring you have access to liquid capital when required during different life stages; tax efficiency; estate planning; death and disability planning; investment planning; and asset-allocation planning, among other more structural efforts we undertake in life.

“A CFP will consider every aspect of your overall financial well-being, albeit he might outsource some of the functions, but he will ensure that you are on track to achieve all of your goals and objectives,” says Bernic.

Financial planners

The YFPO has come about because its founders believe that there is a need to reduce the average age of financial planners from age 58 to 40, attract new, young financial planners to the industry, create an interest in financial planning as a career in previously excluded communities, retain good financial planners within the industry, influence the philosophies and processes of financial planning practices, influence hiring and remuneration polices, change the mindset from selling products to providing advice, and play a part in professionalising the industry.

They also have their eyes on increasing public awareness of financial planning and the CFP professional, increasing industry awareness of the six-step financial planning process, presenting financial planning as an attractive career option, lifting the level of financial planning for new entrants and existing planners, showcasing para-planning and articled planning as a career (aimed at individuals and practices), impacting the practices of existing financial planners, equipping young, qualified financial planners with the required collateral to be successful, as well as educate planners to the benefits and challenges of the industry. 

The “Team” as the four founders see themselves, believe in the need for a voice that supports these tenets and also suggests independent viewpoints. 

“Every qualified individual with a passion for financial planning deserves to enter a professional industry that recognises the individual’s value and contribution, and provides them with a platform to aspire, grow and succeed, all while adding value to clients’ lives and inspiring other financial planners,” Martins says.

The last word from Yariva Ramdhani, a mother of two young daughters, is that the “regulatory and qualifications authorities have made good progress in professionalising the financial services industry, but there is a long way to go and they are limited in that they provide only guidelines and boundaries.”