Pretoria News Weekend - - OPINION -

THE AS­SO­CI­A­TION of Black Se­cu­ri­ties and In­vest­ment Pro­fes­sion­als (Ab­sip) re­cently held the South Africa Fi­nan­cial Ser­vice Con­fer­ence, un­der the theme “To­wards a trans­formed, in­clu­sive and thriv­ing fi­nan­cial sec­tor by 2022”. The con­fer­ence aimed to tackle chal­lenges such as in­equal­ity, ac­ces­si­bil­ity and the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate.

The con­fer­ence reached the fol­low­ing res­o­lu­tions, among oth­ers:

• Through its stu­dent chap­ters and young pro­fes­sional mem­bers, to put pro­grammes in place to build a new gen­er­a­tion of re­spon­si­ble lead­ers who un­der­stand that trans­for­ma­tion needs to hap­pen at all lev­els and to im­prove the qual­ity of life for South Africans at the low­est in­come lev­els;

• To cre­ate and lead pro­grammes to widen the pool of en­trants into the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor;

• To en­cour­age all par­tic­i­pants in the value-chain to fos­ter trans­for­ma­tion through in­creased al­lo­ca­tion to black busi­nesses for the pro­vi­sion of goods and ser­vices, and to in­crease the par­tic­i­pa­tion of black fi­nan­cial ser­vices firms therein;

• To in­sti­tute a pro­gramme of en­gage­ments with fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and pol­i­cy­mak­ers in order to, among other things, un­lock ac­cess to cap­i­tal for black-owned busi­nesses, en­sure that trans­for­ma­tion and in­clu­siv­ity is brought into all pol­i­cy­mak­ing, iden­tify po­si­tions and roles that con­trol true power in the value chain, and seek to en­sure that those po­si­tions are trans­formed;

• To as­sist black firms and pro­fes­sion­als to ex­pand and dif­fer­en­ti­ate their value propo­si­tions by, among other things, train­ing them in in­ter­na­tional best prac­tice through Ab­sip’s part­ner­ship with in­ter­na­tional or­gan­i­sa­tions; and

• To achieve the fol­low­ing tar­gets by 2022: be­tween 20% and 50% of in­vest­ment as­sets un­der man­age­ment be­ing man­aged by black as­set man­agers, and be­tween 20% and 30% of trade com­mis­sions be­ing di­rected to black stock­bro­kers.

At the end of the con­fer­ence, Ab­sip hosted its an­nual awards cer­e­mony recog­nis­ing in­di­vid­u­als and com­pa­nies – in­clud­ing as­set man­agers, stock­bro­kers, re­tire­ment funds, in­vest­ment banks and cor­po­ra­tions in or as­so­ci­ated with the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try – that best rep­re­sented trans­for­ma­tion in the in­dus­try.

Among other Ab­sip ini­tia­tives that are bear­ing fruit on the road to trans­for­ma­tion are:

• Bur­sary pro­gramme: launched in 2013, the Ab­sip Bur­sary aims to help dis­ad­van­taged black stu­dents pur­sue ca­reers in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try;

• Women in Fo­cus pro­gramme: to de­velop and nur­ture black women to as­sume se­nior po­si­tions in fi­nan­cial ser­vices com­pa­nies;

• Grad­u­ate pro­gramme: in as­so­ci­a­tion with Ford­ham Univer­sity in the United States, to pro­vide grad­u­ate and post­grad­u­ate cour­ses for its mem­bers; and

• Un­der­grad­u­ate pro­gramme: to pro­mote ca­reer aware­ness and pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tives among stu­dents study­ing to­wards ca­reers in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices sec­tor, to bet­ter pre­pare them to work in the sec­tor. The Ab­sip stu­dent chap­ter has a pres­ence at 12 uni­ver­si­ties.

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