During June 2000 Gerrit Viljoen, HO du Plessis and Kobus Grimbeek merged their financial planning businesses. All moved their small offices to 73 Kariba Street and Ultima Financial Advisors (Pty) Ltd was born.
In 1999 Gerrit and HO met with Barry O’Mahony who at the time was working for ACSIS Limited
Barry explained the concept of Lifestyle Financial Planning as well as the new Inflation plus investment strategies to them. Their financial planning outlook and future was hugely transformed as a result thereof.
The new concept and the investment solutions were introduced to existing clients, group after group, by having regular PowerPoint seminars in the boardroom at Kariba Street.
Because the concept made so much sense, the majority of clients chose to have their investments transferred to the newly introduced solutions. Capital gains tax (CGT) was only introduced in South Africa with effect from 1 October 2001. Therefore, no CGT was applicable in 2000 and investments could be transferred seamlessly without any CGT consequences.
Acsis and Andrew Bradley taught us to work on our business and not just in our business. Because of their excellent and timely annual summits, their business coaches and open-door approach we were able to build a healthy business and navigate through many storms and challenges throughout the 20 years.
Many things have changed over the years.
GPS coordinates and Google maps replaced maps and directions.
We still recall the days when quarterly statements, newsletters and calendars were hand-sorted into envelopes and mailed in batches. Birthday cards were signed by hand.
Today email communication has replaced snail mail, fax machines, telegrams and DOCEX.
We were transformed from being part of the sales force for large insurance companies into financial planning professionals. Clients consulted with us at our offices more and more and we travelled less.
To specialise in investment planning and financial planning for retirees, we outsourced certain services, like short term insurance and medical aid funds. As clients matured, we expanded our services to include the drawing up of wills and estate planning. In the early years Gerrit always said he longed to see that first client investment cheque for One Million Rand!
During the COVID-19 pandemic our staff had to work from home. The financial planners introduced many clients to online meetings, electronic financial plans and transacted electronically by making use of electronic signatures, when permitted.
The bookkeeping and payroll systems were converted from a manual system, to Pastel Partner, to Sage One Accounting, SARS eFiling and SARS e@syFile™
FICA (2001), FAIS (2004) and TCF (2006) Legislation persuaded our industry to introduce compliant processes when working with clients and helped many agents and brokers to transform into professionals.
Simone Basson and Jan-Carel Botha launched our first website in 2008 and the Pretoria based Christian Community Radio Station Impact Radio 103 gave Gerrit and Ultima the opportunity to present the weekly radio program “Wealth through financial planning” which has been broadcasting since 2008.
We were humbled when Gerrit Viljoen was awarded the FPI Financial Planner of the Year Award in 2003 and when Jan-Carel Botha won the FPI Financial Planner of the Year Award in 2012. Currently Hester van der Merwe has made it through to Round Two of the FPI Financial Planner of the Year 2020 competition and we wish her all of the best.
In 2018 Ultima became an FPI Approved Professional Practice ™.
We are grateful and honoured to acknowledge that most of our clients were referred by existing clients and many of them introduce their children, family members, colleagues and close friends to us.
What lies ahead of us all for the future:
- More streamlined electronic functioning
- Clients from younger generations
- A more diversified staff complement
- Client coaching
- Superior and more innovative financial planning tools
- Home based employees
- Improved cloud-based solutions and faster fibre connections
- Our second FLOW conference
Our journey has been a fast changing and dynamic one and will remain as such. We are delighted that after 20+ years, our work is still our passion and many clients have become our friends. What more can one aspire to?
With a grateful heart, we thank all of our clients, service providers, colleagues, families and our God for our blessed, 20-year journey!