Chwayita Mtebele is Head of Department: Investment Providers at the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). She is a qualified CA(SA) with a BCom Accounting from the University of Fort Hare and a CTA from Unisa
According to Chwayita Mtebele, there is ‘literally never a dull moment’ in the regulatory space. There are always new discoveries in the interpretation of legislation or having to come up with new legislative requirements in order to strengthen the FSCA’s mandate of ensuring investor protection.
She loves the environment she works in, with brilliant young minds who are always challenging the ways of doing things which, she says, keeps her thinking on her feet. But most important for her is knowing that her job contributes to the well-being of many South Africans through the FSCA mandate.
The department Investment Providers is responsible for supervising the business conduct of a range of financial institutions authorised for various activities in relation to investments, namely asset managers, collective investment schemes, hedge funds and administrative financial services providers.
Tell us more about your team as your leadership style?
I cannot say I have one particular leadership style. I lead a department made up of diverse individuals, and therefore I have learnt through my leadership journey that I need to adjust my leadership style to different circumstances/situations in order to get the right outcome. However, through personal mastery and some leadership courses I did I have learnt that my dominant leadership style is that of a competitive achiever − I lead, I make sure that things get done by being practical and task oriented. As a result I expect my team to be solution driven and pragmatic in the way we approach and solve problems.
How has being a CA(SA) propelled your career?
The great thing about a CA is the exposure and the ability to be able to diversify into different roles and a variety of career options. I have worked in auditing and the investment industry and I’m now working for the FSCA.
I never thought I would be working as a regulator, as many people assume you need to be a lawyer to work there. However, the FSCA regulates a diverse industry, and accounting skills and business acumen are relevant and critical skills because they complement a lot of other skills in that environment.
What exactly is the FSCA’s responsibility?
The FSCA was created as a dedicated market conduct regulator in South Africa’s Twin Peaks regulatory model, which is implemented by the Financial Sector Regulation Act (FSR Act). The FSCA’s mandate includes all financial institutions that provide a financial product and/or a financial service as defined in the FSR Act:
- It protects financial customers by promoting their fair treatment by financial institutions.
- It enhances and supports the efficiency and integrity of financial markets.
- It provides financial education and promotes financial literacy, and
- It helps maintain financial stability.
Chwayita’s work at the FSCA includes ensuring a financial system that is fair, efficient and resilient in accordance with their mandate, thus contributing to sustainable economic growth and more resilient financial customers. This is important for the South African financial system at large.
Can you give examples of where the FSCA has made a difference?
There are practical examples where the FSCA makes a difference in the financial sector and the lives of financial consumers. Some of these are:
- Trough imposing penalties or withdrawing licences, the FSCA has taken decisive regulatory/enforcement action against financial institutions whose conduct is against the best interest of consumers.
- It responds to customer complaints and ensures that they are addressed by financial institutions to the satisfaction of the consumer(s).
- It debars from the financial industry individuals whose conduct threatens consumer protection.
- It is a big driver in empowering consumers through financial consumer education.
- It investigates unlicensed institutions, takes action against them, and makes these transgressions public.
What played a vital role in climbing the ladder to your current position as Head of Department: Investment Providers?
Learning, and learning; being open-minded; taking the time to develop yourself through continuous learning and not limiting yourself to your job description. I took the time to shadow my boss and volunteered to assist with some of her functions. Most of the times this was not for performance recognition, but it helped me to develop, especially for the role I am currently in. The support of my boss also played a vital role, as she was willing to coach me through delegation to learn as much as I needed to about her responsibilities. It is still the case now: I continue to learn and grow through various platforms. My organisation is also a learning-centric organisation, and my employer encourages and supports all forms of learning in order to contribute to the greater knowledge pool of the organisation.
Your advice for younger CAs(SA) – work/life balance, etc − for a sense of what kind of sacrifice is required to climb the ladder?
Dedication and a strong work ethic are required. Be willing to make sacrifices and focus on the bigger picture and do not give up. Ask for help and guidance when you get stuck, as you don’t know it all. Have an open mind. Be agile, innovative and flexible.
How would you describe a strong work ethic?
For me, it’s having a strong sense of responsibility and holding yourself accountable as an individual. When an employee shows a sense of responsibility, they are showing me as a leader that they are dependable, dedicated and can be relied upon and therefore I am able to trust them with even bigger responsibilities.
Challenges you have had to face and practical ways to overcome them?
Finding the right balance in your professional and personal life is alw ays difficult, especially in my case as I am a working mother. What has helped me is growing in understanding myself, my strengths and my blind spots. Also, taking time out to enjoy and experience the things you love outside work is important.