Financial Planning Institute CEO placed on special leave amid exam probe

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The Financial Planning Institute has placed its CEO Godfrey Nti on special leave, with full pay, pending the outcome of an investigation into allegations of mismanagement. 

In a statement the FPI, which acts as the professional body for financial planners in South Africa, said the decision to place Nti on special leave was taken by the institute's board. 

According to its website, the FPI is the only local institution to award the certified financial planner (CFP) qualification.

The decision to place Nti on leave follows allegations of mismanagement at the institute reported by a whistleblower, and the decision to suspend all examinations conducted by the FPI's examination body. These followed earlier exam fraud allegations from June 2017

"The board will take all reasonable steps available at its disposal to ensure that the allegations are properly investigated and that all action considered to be appropriate, depending on the outcome of the investigation, is taken," the FPI said in a statement. 

"It must be emphasised that Mr. Nti has not been found guilty of any wrongdoing and is innocent until proven otherwise. The board’s action is only meant to protect the integrity of the process as well as all affected parties."

Stephanie Pillay, the FPI’s Chief Operating Officer will step in as acting CEO with immediate effect while Nti is on leave.

Exams 

News that Nti was being placed on leave comes after the Financial Services Conduct Authority instructed the FPI to discontinue regulatory exams while it conducts an investigation. 

“Where wrongdoing is established, the appropriate regulatory action will be taken. The FSCA takes these allegations very seriously and will continue to protect the integrity of the examination.”

The FSCA is the market conduct regulator for certain types of South African financial institutions. It replaced the Financial Services Board after the Twin Peaks model for financial sector regulation came into effect in April.

The authority said that those who had written the exam in the past will not be affected by the development, except for those implicated in the alleged irregularities.

The FPI, meanwhile, previously said it would cooperate fully with the FSCA. 

"[The] FPI takes this matter seriously as it casts significant doubt on the ability of the FPI Examination Body to protect and maintain the integrity of the financial services industry. The institute also wishes to state that it is committed to protecting the integrity and credibility of the regulatory examinations." 

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