During the past year, the governance of COEFS remained an important focal point with the appointment of a new chairman, Mr. Bert Chanetsa for a term of three-years, and the finalisation of the board charter.
We welcomed new board members Ms. Karabo Morule, the former Managing Director of Old Mutual Personal Finance and Ms. Bongi Kunene, the incoming Managing Director of The Banking Association South Africa to the board. We also said goodbye to Mr. Leon Campher with his role at ASISA increasingly demanding more of his time to be committed to national initiatives to rebuild the economy.
A strategic session with the board in August 2019 reaffirmed the mission and vision of the organization and added context to the research agenda. We established two focus areas within COEFS, the Industry Directed Research Unit to facilitate greater co-operation between the industry and universities and the Digital Innovation Research Unit, in response to the direction given by the board to conduct research that was forward looking or future oriented whilst embracing thought leadership.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown had a significant impact on not only the work done at COEFS but the broader financial sector and the greater economy. Our condolences go out to the family members who have lost loved ones due to COVID-19 and the many people that have been impacted by the economic hardships of this time. We also wish to express our thanks to the government departments, medical staff and volunteers that have responded to this pandemic.
The COEFS board give of their time to support our research initiatives and with COVID-19 many of our board members were actively involved in the response to the economic impact of the lockdown. The value of our board members in providing support and guidance on research topics is greatly appreciated.
The generous support provided by The Banking Association South Africa remains a key success factor for COEFS, reducing not only the operating cost but also enabling necessary insights into emerging trends.