A SU Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences alumnus, whose road to success started in tragedy in a little-known country town and came to fruition at the SU Business School (USB), has won the 2019 Financial Planner of the Year award.
Hardi Swart, a certified financial planner (CFP) and the managing director of family wealth and investment advisory firm Autus Private Clients, received the award from the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa (FPI) at a gala dinner held in Sandton, Johannesburg, recently.
The award, presented annually by FPI, is the highest accolade bestowed on financial planners in South Africa.
According to FPI, Swart was awarded the accolade because of the depth of his knowledge, the immense detail of his financial plans and his exceptional personal commitment to his clients.
Swart, a farm boy from the small town of Naboomspruit, Limpopo, said his passion for financial planning started many years ago when his father was killed in a tragic car accident.
“My family was not prepared for the tough times that followed and when we eventually sold our farm and businesses we were poorly advised and ended up losing a large portion of our family wealth.
“This was a tough but extremely valuable lesson to learn at a young age. However, this was also the event that triggered my interest in multi-generation family wealth planning and why I am so passionate about helping families avoid financial pitfalls," he says.
Swart completed a BCom (Management Accountancy) at SU in 2009, and a postgraduate diploma in Financial Planning at USB in 2011. He also completed an international diploma in business consulting at Syracuse University in New York.
He says his studies at USB laid the foundation for his career as a financial planner and ultimately led to him receiving this award.
“Given the difficulties and financial uncertainty facing people in the world today, qualified financial planners are in high demand. However, it is very important to have a solid academic foundation, combined with a quality internship, where you can learn the fundamentals of financial planning.
“USB with its exceptional programme and experienced lecturers gave me that foundation. The programme enables students to successfully complete the CFP professional competency examination and to become a CFP professional and a member of the FPI."
But Swart's road to success would probably not have come full circle if it wasn't for one person - his wife Anemike who, as luck would have it, was studying for her postgraduate diploma in Financial Planning at the time their paths crossed.
“She was actually the one who persuaded me to study financial planning," he reveals.
Swart lives with his family in Val de Vie Estate in the Paarl Winelands and has been part of the Autus team for more than 10 years.“The award is recognition that financial planning is about more than just excellent advice, but about becoming a life-long coach, mentor and friend to your clients," he says.
- Photo (supplied): Mr Hardi and Mrs Anemike Swart at the gala dinner in Sandton where he was honoured with the 2019 Financial Planner of the Year award by the Financial Planning Institute of South Africa (FPI).