FPI’s new Financial Planner of the Year
Oct 31, 2022

FPI’s new Financial Planner of the Year

Certified Financial Planner Palesa Dube, from Wealth Creed, triumphs as the Financial Planner of the Year 2022/23

At a glittering gala dinner towards the end of last year, the Financial Planning Institute crowned its Planner of the Year for 2022/23, Palesa Dube, a director of advisory firm Wealth Creed in Sandton. Here is her story.

Palesa Dube, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) from Sandton, attained the highest distinction in her profession when she was crowned the Financial Planning Institute’s (FPI) Financial Planner of the Year for 2022/23.

The award, launched in 2000, is the most prestigious accolade in the industry, and at a gala dinner at the FPI’s annual convention in October, the professional body recognised Dube as South Africa’s top candidate. According to the judges’ citation, Dube demonstrated “exceptional service and impeccable ethics in client service, who brought innovation, flawless skill as well as all-round excellence to her profession”.

What makes this particular award special is that Dube was the first woman of colour to achieve this honour.

It was a demanding contest, which included candidates submitting a detailed financial plan based on a client case study, an ethics and practice standards audit, and a final panel interview testing their grasp of legislation and industry trends.

In her acceptance speech, Dube emphasised the importance of financial planning for households and how financial planners need to be keenly attuned to their clients’ personal values and how these influence their financial and legacy aspirations. “As professionals, we need to respond to this need with more than just our technical skills but more with a deep sense of care,” she said.

Dube also saw the competition as an ideal platform to showcase the experience and expertise that exist in her profession, especially of black female CFP professionals.

“The profession, thankfully, looks much more diverse now than what it was when I began my career, but there’s still a long way to go. It was an opportune time to shine a spotlight on the strides we’ve been able to achieve so far. My hope is that my journey and success so far will encourage others to pursue a career in financial planning,” she said.

Dube, who grew up in the townships of Thokoza, Katlehong and then Spruitview, Spruitrivier, and in the East Rand, said that as an FPI ambassador, she would use the platform to motivate change.

The FPI’s strategic objectives for 2023 include driving growth in the number of graduates entering the financial planning profession and pursuing the three planning-related designations the institute offers. The institute is also focused on encouraging experienced members who have left the institute to reinstate their membership, she said.

“My efforts, therefore, will be in support of these objectives through mentoring and other activities so that the next generation see financial planning as a profession of choice. We also need to place emphasis on the challenges that cause more experienced planners to leave the profession, which, among others, is an environment that doesn’t adequately support entrepreneurship in the sector.”

Dube said she believed that there is an important role that independent financial advisory firms can play in the market, but they need to be better supported by the various industry bodies through measures such as development programmes that cater for the progressive life stages of advisory firms. Often, the need for growing financial service providers is working capital or funding to assist in scaling the business. The funding models available need to speak to this and be flexible, she said.

“As a profession, I think we need to take pride in the strides we have made in the industry over the years. When I started my career 18 years ago, the conversation was about moving from a product-led to a client-centric industry, with professionals adhering to high ethical standards and using their technical skills to positively impact the lives of the clients we serve.”

Dube feels very strongly about making financial planning more accessible to a broader spectrum of the community. Financial inclusion, consumer protection and financial education are some of the imperatives close to her heart. “This gap can be neatly bridged by incorporating an advice process and will ultimately improve consumer outcomes. I believe our profession is well positioned to support such initiatives in a manner that ensures that all interests are appropriately aligned.”

On the importance of representation in the profession, particularly that of females and people of colour, Dube told Personal Finance that the importance of diversity and inclusion for the sustainability of any industry is well established. Companies thrive when they embrace different races, cultures and backgrounds because this better positions them to respond to the needs of their clients. Ethically and morally, it is simply the right thing to do. Finances are a very personal matter, and the inclusion of female professionals in the room can help the financial services industry develop products and solutions that truly speak to the needs of this growing segment in the manner they want to be addressed.

Palesa’s journey

Dube detailed her road to the pinnacle of her career, from obtaining a BCom Investment Management degree in 2003 from the University of Johannesburg to her post-graduate studies in financial planning, her accreditation as a CFP, and an advanced diploma in trust and estate administration and financial planning services at the University of Free State.

She started her career as an advisory partner at Citadel, moving into wealth management at Absa Wealth 10 years later. She has been with Wealth Creed for just under five years.

Dube has been married to Thomas since 2005 and has three children: two girls and one boy, who are all still at school. She lives in Sandton and is an avid gardener and cook. But her ultimate passion is the human voice, she said, being a choir member right through her school and varsity years. She still sings in the church choir.

“If you want to spoil me,” she said, "take me to a concert.” She recently attended a concert by her favourite artist, Thandiswa Mazwai, the lead vocalist and songwriter of Bongo Maffin, and absolutely loved the experience. “The voice is my favourite music instrument. I enjoy a wide range of music and appreciate artists from Andrea Bocelli to Gregory Porter, which I am so sad to have missed recently.”

Dube also mentioned her love for the outdoors, and she takes frequent hikes in nature with her family. Her adventurous spirit will, no doubt, bring her many more rewards and accolades in both her professional and personal life in the years to come.

This article first appeared in the Personal Finance Magazine