Ascor Independent Wealth Managers, voted best adviser firm in South Africa for International Adviser’s 2016 Best Practice Adviser Awards, started small in 2005.
But the two founding directors Wouter Fourie and Martin de Kock, say they and their team dreamed big.
When I first Martin, we soon realised that we shared the same dream. We both wanted to create a comprehensive financial services practice where clients could have all their financial and tax needs attended to.
Not only would it offer a better service to clients, but the different specialists could cross-sell their ideas and expertise to the benefit of the client and of Ascor.
We each ran our own accounting and audit practice respectively, at the time and they merged the two practices on 1 April 2005 to form Ascor Independent Financial Advisors.
Over time this merger grew to fill an entire office block in the Lynnwood area of Pretoria, where Ascor is based. Professional staff regularly travel across South Africa to advise high-net worth clients.
Today, Ascor offers audit assurance, tax, financial planning, accounting, consulting services as well as deceased estate administration. We have specialists in every field and have built a particularly strong service offering in wealth planning for individuals.
De Kock explains that part of Ascor’s success is no doubt due to their status as a fully accredited professional practice by the Financial Planning Institute (FPI). While not the only advisory firm with this accreditation, Ascor was one of the very first practices in the country to be recognised as being fully compliant.
Another major achievement that has enhanced the organisation’s reputation, was when I (Fourie) was chosen as the 2015/16 FPI Financial Planner of the Year.
While this award serves as recognition of the expertise available in the Ascor fold, I was elected onto the FPI board of directors as industry-elected representative.
We entered the International Adviser Best Practice Adviser Awards to gauge our practice against other financial advice practices and to build on this positive momentum among our colleagues and clients.
Ascor ultimately won four of the award categories in the Southern African region, namely Use of Social Media, Use of Technology, Excellence in Marketing and Communication and the overall award as Best Adviser Firm.
Two of the awards, Excellence in the Use of Social Media and Excellence in Marketing and Communication relate directly to our efforts to best inform and communicate with our clients. We are therefore very proud of these awards.”
The third category prize, that of Excellence in the Use of Technology, recognised Ascor’s progressive use of technology to supplement their financial advice and better communicate to clients the impact of current financial decisions on future investment success.
Ascor also conducted a rigorous assessment of technology best practices of similar advisory practices in the USA and Australia to ensure that South African clients received advice and service that is on par with the rest of the world.
All these achievements and Ascor’s ability to integrate it into a comprehensive and seamless offering to clients was recognised when Ascor won the overall Best Advisor Firm in the South African region.
This is welcome recognition of our hard work over the past 10 years and every member in this office contributed to this achievement. We will now build on this success by further integrating technology into our client-communication platforms and investment advice protocols.
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