In a question and answer session with Anthony Govender, CEO of ASI, we learned more about ASI and why the organisation chose to partner with EAPA-SA to be an Eduweek 2019 sponsor.
Q: When was ASI founded and what is the company’s purpose, vision and mission?
ASI was founded in 2008, with the primary purpose of creating a proudly South African financial advisory consultancy. The industry that we operate in was dominated, at that time, by very large US, UK and Australian-based institutions, and South Africa was very much in need of the establishment of a local entity with a proudly South African heritage and identity.
More importantly, breaking the generational cycle of poverty in our country as a result of financial illiteracy or a lack of financial wellbeing, remains the core purpose of ASI . As a result of the 30 percent unemployment rate, South Africans have a huge dependency on social grants – predominantly the women and children who make up as much as 54 percent of the population. This is a scary statistic if we want an economy that is growing, thriving and actively contributing to global growth. ASI intends on being a business that actively focuses on driving change, specifically in disadvantaged communities and previously disadvantaged groups. We pride ourselves on maintaining a very diverse client base. We consult, educate and coach all our staff, from the tea lady and the gardener to the CEO of the company, so ASI is making a really meaningful impact to individuals on the ground and at grassroots level.
Q: With your company’s purpose mind what is the primary reason you partner with EAPA-SA to sponsor Eduweek?
EAPA-SA is an organisation that strongly resonates with us, if we look at its values and what it is seeking to achieve in South Africa or on the African continent. A large part of why we started ASI was to drive transformation, therefore part of driving transformation in the employee benefits sector ought to also address the issue of employee wellness. I think the employee benefits industry has gone through a significant transformation over the past two decades, where employers are now very conscious that the engagement of their employees is very dependent on employees’ overall wellbeing. I am not talking about financial wellbeing alone, but also psycho-social wellbeing and family wellbeing. Therefore, in partnering with EAPA-SA, we believe we are contributing to a more effective workforce in South Africa.
“EAPA-SA is an organisation that strongly resonates with us, if we look at its values and what it is seeking to achieve in South Africa or on the African continent.”
“The synergies that exist between ASI and EAPA are overwhelming…”
The synergies that exist between ASI and EAPA are overwhelming because both organisations seek to achieve similar objectives – contributing to a more productive and engaged workforce – something we certainly need in South Africa considering the economic climate.
Dr Marion Borcherds, EAPA-SA Board member and head of Sponsorship and Stakeholder Relations adds, “EAPA-SA is an Association that focuses on the workplace and promotes dignity and respect, and reminds companies that people are at the centre of the organisation and at the centre of what makes this country great. Accordingly, EAPA-SA strives to set standards for the EAP industry and promotes ethical leadership, something the country is really striving toward now. In this respect, EAPA-SA and ASI are completely aligned and the partnership is thus a ‘meeting of minds’.”
Q: How did you find the Eduweek 2019 experience?
I was overwhelmed by the warm reception that ASI received at Eduweek. What was great about the talks that I listened to during the time that I attended, was that they gave the employee assistance practitioners from around the continent a fresh perspective to dealing with current issues in the workplace. I find that a lot of conferences focus their efforts on a theoretical subject matter and not practical subject matter, and what I found to be relevant within the EAPA-SA Eduweek 2019 experience was that EAP were being educated on current affairs. And I think it’s important that we equip practitioners to deal with current issues and provide them with practical solutions on how to deal with these in the corporate world.
Q: What key information are you taking away from Eduweek 2019?
What resonated with me, when listening to EAPA President Thiloshni Govender speak, was EAPA’s connection – maybe not just connection, maybe also empathy – to what South Africa is experiencing and feeling at the moment; and that for me depicted somewhat of a social consciousness from the organisation around what people actually deal with on a daily basis. That was probably one of the moments during my very short stay that really touched me. This indicated that I had partnered with an organisation that has consciousness regarding what South Africa is experiencing – and not just sympathy, but real empathy, with some of the issues we are grappling with as a nation.
So, to address your last question, my take-away from the Eduweek is that any corporate in South Africa that has an interest or a need in the employee assistance or wellness space must partner with EAPA in a meaningful manner to drive positive and impactful change to both country and continent. I really believe that this is an institution which has credibility as well as a leadership role to play.
ASI Financial Services
As one of the ‘Big Five’ financial services consultancies in South Africa at present, ASI is the only Independent, Black-owned corporate financial advisory firm. ASI is proud to be the fastest growing independent financial advisory consultancy on the African continent. With an ever-increasing client base, ASI advises over 1.2 million members on over R42 billion in annual premium income, liabilities and assets. The company’s clients range from medium to large employers and multinationals who are based in various countries on the continent and globally. Since 2014 the consultancy has successfully retained a Level 1 B-BBEE accreditation, and has achieved Level 1 status, as a generic business, under the Financial Sector Charter Codes.