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Interview with the author: Marius Botha

The name Marius Botha is well-known to hundreds of students who have completed or are busy completing their Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning.

Marius Botha has been involved in preparing candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma in Financial Planning since 1982 and is one of the authors of the prescribed textbook SA Financial Planning Handbook (now in its 14th edition). He is also the Author of Corporate and Personal Financial Planning, editor of Insurance and Tax Journal, and co-author of Fundamentals of Financial Planning. In 2015 he was recognised for his contribution to this industry when he was proclaimed the Winner of the 2015 FPI Harry Brews’ Award which recognises a professional who has made a significant life-long contribution to the financial planning profession and FPI.

We touched base with him to find out more about why he chose this career path and what advice he can give to others embarking on a career in financial planning.

Have you always been in the financial planning field?
I started my career in the financial services industry as an estate administrator and will draftsman with a trust company 41 years ago. Six years later I joined a large life assurer as a legal adviser and later became manager of the legal training department.

What made you decide to follow this career path?
The financial services industry was changing at the time and I was enjoying the training aspect of my job as a legal advisor. I realised that the training provided by life insurance companies was becoming more generic and not just product based. I myself never received any training in this regard and was, apart from the qualifications that I hold, self-taught. That made me realise how important it is to have a proper understanding and insight into the subject matter. I have taught myself to understand some really difficult things so that I could explain it better when I do training sessions.

Are we getting a lot of new financial planners coming through? Is it a good career for young South Africans to consider?
A wonderful career to consider. Times have changed. Years ago people were employed by a company. Today one is employed within an industry. A career in financial planning allows you to be self-employed in the financial services industry. It also allows you to be employed by the large companies. The CFP® designation is also international.

What is your advice to anyone wanting to follow a career in financial planning?
Start your studies to become a CFP® Professional early in your career. Try not to just “get through it”. It is an interesting field that includes aspects of many disciplines. It is never boring and if done correctly can be very rewarding.

What are the biggest challenges they will face?
Compliance is one, but I think more so for financial planners who entered the financial services before compliance was required. It may be a bit of a burden on the one side, but it has certainly lifted the industry to one that is way above what it was when I first entered it in the 1970’s. Training and qualification requirements had a lot to do with that. Changing legislation is also a challenge but at the same time it provides new opportunities.

You are one of our most prolific financial planning authors. What motivated you to first start writing?
Simply the fact that there were very few books dealing with financial planning. I had to prepare written notes to hand out during my training. When I wrote the old ILPA examinations in 1984 the students were given a list of books, articles, and topics etc to study.

What other projects are you working on/what keeps you busy and how do you juggle these with your writing?
I am a part-time lecturer at a University and do freelance training and seminars. To avoid travelling as much as I used to, I like to record some lectures on computer with screen recording software.

Submitted by Lexis Nexis