DCASA Conference Review – The Presentations
During the day there were a number of speeches and presentations. Starting off the day DCASA President Russel Dickerson spoke to the audience and welcomed all.
Next, was a presentation from previous conference speaker Mr Mike Schussler. Mike is an economist and gave an overview of where the SA economy stands at present and where it is likely to go. All in all, he painted a rather sad picture and warned that tough times are ahead. He did, however, point out that this means that Debt COunsellors would soon be busier than ever with more consumers needing help.
Mr Theo Vorster and the folks at Galileo Capital then made a presentation themed: ‘The investment solution and how to build a long-term annuity income for business‘. They showed how investing in property only brings a marginal income slightly higher than inflation over time whereas investing in shares will, over time, bring a higher return. Interestingly, they showed how if you just leave your investments/shares and don’t trade and mix them up too much you make a high return anyway (though slightly lower than if you are trying to move them around). One of the most interesting slides presented showed what happens when investors run scared during a sudden downturn and what can happen if you miss just 6 days on the market over a period of several years.
If you are unsure of how the Protection of Personal Information Act is going to impact on your debt counselling practice then you would have benefited from Mr. Juan-Jacques Jordaan’s presentation on the topic. He pointed out how no one really reads the T&Cs any more and a lot of consumers data has been illegally shared already. He warned that the fines and punishment for breaches are sever and showed examples of how an innocent thing can get you into a lot of trouble once the Act kicks in 100%.
The next speaker was Ms Maya Fisher-French, well-known journalist (Maya on Money). She discussed how nearly no one is saving and how fewer people than ever are saving toward retirement. So, while South Africans are in trouble now with over usage of credit they will be even more in trouble in the future when their meagre savings run out or they have to face retirement without any savings at all.
After Lunch “the prof” Mr Frans Haupt (of the University of Pretoria Law Clinic) gave a walk down memory lane as he reviewed the last few years of debt review. He explained some of the serious hurdles that the industry has had to overcome and in particular the inconsistent legal rulings on the topic which have shaped the current debt review landscape. He also said some very nice things about Debtfree Magazine and how it is a good resource to the industry and consumers alike.
The two final speeches of the day were from DCASA President Russell Dickerson and former President Mr Paul Slot. Russel gave a presentation on the industry and industry updates which covered all sorts of things such as what is happening or not happening at CIF.
Mr Paul Slot gave a rather gloomy presentation on Debt Intervention. He pointed out how the Portfolio Committee have decided that Debt Counsellors do not want to help low income consumers and how this is simply not true. DCASA has repeatedly indicated that this is not the case. Regardless, the Draft Bill (which should be passed over to the Council of Provinces in the next few weeks) simply cuts Debt Counsellors out of the process (except for those that the NCR will hire and certify as ‘debt intervention agents’).
The general feeling was that the NCR will be swamped by the work and that everyone knows this and it may be a set up to damage their reputation (giving them an impossible task). Of particular concern was how many staff it will take to assist just a fraction of the people who should apply. If the NCR take on just 15 000 new consumers each month then they will need to match the current staff amount of all debt counselling companies countrywide at present (this is roughly how many consumers Debt Counsellors help each month). DCASA wish the NCR well and hope that things go better than they anticipate.
The day flew by and before everyone knew it, it was time to head out and try beat the traffic. Arrangements were made for the day to end a bit earlier to help everyone get home timeously.
If you would like to know more about DCASA or join the association and receive additional benefits like free access to their meetings and annual conference then head over to www.dcasa.co.za