Fiduciary Institute of Southern Africa
|Non-profit professional association|
|Eben Nel (Chairperson); Louis van Vuren (CEO)|
Formation and activities
FISA was formed in 2008, when the Association of Trust Companies in South Africa (ATCSA), which was formed in 1932, was converted to a professional institute with individual membership. A new constitution was adopted to reflect the change of name and membership. Prior to the change, members were the main trust companies in South Africa on a corporate membership basis. After the change, members include employees of trust companies and individuals from the legal, accounting and financial planning professions.
FISA has approximately 700 individual members, who collectively manage assets in excess of R250 billion. They draft tens of thousand Wills each year and administer around 50 percent of deceased estates reported to the offices of the Master of the High Court in South Africa.
The organization is governed by a 10-person Council; the current Chairperson is Eben Nel. Regional councilors represent the regions of Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu Natal, and Free State. The intention is to add other regional representation as membership grows. There are also seven special purpose committees comprising experts in the areas of trusts, estates, compliance, tax, education and training, and beneficiary funds.
FISA liaises with the Master's Office and the South African Revenue Service in order to participate in optimising legal and compliance processes. It engages with the South African Treasury on issues that affect the industry and the public.
FISA aims to raise awareness and standards of fiduciary practice through education to benefit both practitioners and the public. FISA holds an annual conference at which practitioners and academics in the fiduciary field present and discuss topical issues. In 2011 FISA introduced a professional examination, in co-operation with the University of the Free State, which gives successful candidates the designation of Fiduciary Practitioner of South Africa (FPSA®).
FISA works actively to educate the public about fiduciary issues. It has a public helpdesk on its website which contains a complaints procedure and consumer education on executorships, Wills, and trusts<. For the benefit of both its members and the public, the institute makes available the latest court decisions on fiduciary matters.
The organization also has an active media campaign through which it educates journalists on fiduciary matters and representatives talk about fiduciary issues on radio and television.
FISA has strategic alliances with other professional bodies such as the South African Institute of Tax Practitioners, the Law Society of South Africa and the Financial Planning Institute with which it signed a memorandum of understanding in 2012.
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