There are many times in our lives when we reach a crossroads and at each instance we have to make decisions, decisions that will govern how the remainder of our lives unfold.
These decisions can in many cases never be questioned, as we will never know what the alternate route would have brought us. Even when a decision brings us success we never know whether another route could have been even more fortuitous.
So it is then that everyday we must make choices and decisions, not all monumental I grant you, but decisions just the same. A country is similar to us, as it develops and grows. It has, therefore, been an absolute privilege for me to see a new vibrant and young country, South Africa, develop and achieve success.
I only arrived in this fantastic country in 1990, a time that saw the last evils of Apartheid slowly withering away, a time when, despite the fear and anguish of many, there was hope that a new world lay just ahead.
I am no great lover of politicians, be they of any policy or nationality, but when we look at where we are today, I must admit that over the last 18 years our leaders have made more correct decisions than wrong ones. How many FPI members today can say that the modern South Africa would not have been anything more than a pipe dream in 1990? We would all have seen an image of South Africa in 2008 as an utopian fantasy book in 1990, yet here it is and we live in it.
Yes, we have issues, crime is out of proportion, but to a certain extent, understandable given the rates of unemployment we are still tackling. Housing and normal day-to-day luxuries are still denied many, but at least we are tackling them. So in 2008 – 2010, a date which now seems to symbolise so much to so many in our country, just like our members, have many decisions to make and not the least of those is the issue of succession. A smooth, transparent transition from one president to the next will, just like the succession within many of our member’s firms, ensure that the people that rely on them feel safe, secure and well looked after.
I will not bore you with talk about the 2010 Fifa World Cup, I am a real soccer bore at the best of times well I do support Everton after all (I don’t believe that to be directly related, but you probably all do!). Anyway I think that 2010 will culminate in the best World Cup event ever and We will host it! I know my sons, who will then be 12 and 9, will be the proudest boys alive as their country shows what it is truly capable of! I also know that between now and 2010, a great many FPI members will go through some great decision making moments. It is sad to see that many advisors are choosing to leave the industry rather than comply with what they often see as expensive and complicated regulation.
We need to help these people with their succession, not because it may bring a commercial advantage to us, but so that we ensure that their clients are not left floating without help, thus giving our industry a poor image and making our job in the future even more difficult.
Personally, I know that 2010 will be a massive success and we will be there in 2010 before we know it. I believe, the ANC will ensure a smooth political succession and I believe that following 2010 a new goal will be set for us to target and aim for.Â But the most important thing of all is that I know that every day, week and month until 2010 we must make choices and as we make them we must never stop enjoying this great country that we live in!
I had supper recently in Somerset West with an old mate and ex-Everton director. He brought along a man who ran UK Sport on TV for many years, as well as was Gordon Banks, the iconic goalkeeper. The feeling was that South African was a divine and blessed country and that 2010 would show the world its capabilities. We all look forward to 2010, but I am going to make the small decisions correctly so when 2010 arrives I can enjoy it even more!