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As a central knowledge portal to the retirement and related industries, EBnet publishes a range of daily articles submitted by a range of industry organisations, experts and contributors. Readers can also comment on and contribute to articles.

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Benefits Barometer outlines solutions for companies in Africa

Alexander Forbes yesterday released BenefitsALL Barometer Africa, the thought leadership publication that challenges employers, fiduciaries, policymakers and financial services providers to help address the well-being needs of Africans. Anne Cabot-Alletzhauser, Head of Alexander Forbes Research Institute, believes that unlocking future value will depend on a true collaborative effort between business, government, communities and the people who inhabit this continent. BenefitsALL Barometer Africa tackles the following eleven themes, relevant for multinational companies operating in Africa: 1. The demographic challenges of Africa Cabot-Alletzhauser points out that we can’t presume that Africa’

Standard Bank AGM: Shareholders challenge board, favour the climate vote

In a first for South Africa, at Standard Bank’s Annual General Meeting yesterday climate-conscious shareholders compelled the bank to adopt and publicly disclose a policy on lending to coal-fired power projects and coal mining operations. Resolution 10.2 received 55% of shareholder votes, and is therefore binding on the company. This is the first time that a South African bank – or any listed South African company – has faced a shareholder resolution on a climate-related issue. Standard Bank’s board had recommended that shareholders vote against it. A second part to the climate-related resolution* would have required the bank to report to shareholders its assessment of the greenhouse gas emi

Beyond traditional investments: cranes, planes and rock ‘n roll

Cranes, planes, and rock and roll may on the face of it seem like they don’t quite fit into the world of hard-core investments, but you may already have them in your portfolio. What are they doing there? Against a backdrop of lower returns for longer, asset managers have been forced to venture ‘off the beaten track’ in search of alternative sources of returns, along with a greater focus on risk management, in constructing optimal, well-diversified portfolios. Lower GDP forecasts mean lower returns going forward We are living in challenging times and SA’s GDP is expected to be even lower than the recently lowered global GDP forecasts. This is a difficult scenario for portfolio managers as low

Consciously apply your capital at retirement and leave a legacy

When it comes to a sustainable retirement, retirees should consider their needs in terms of the level of income required, both now and in the future, and the ability to provide for dependants after death. However, these needs offset each other because if you consume more capital during your lifetime, the benefit to your dependants will ultimately be smaller. Just Retirement Insights conducted in 2018 substantiates that leaving money for family and having a guaranteed income are the most important aspects of retirement products. But these opposing desires are compounded by insufficient retirement savings. “At the start of the retirement journey, capital is limited for most retirees in Sou

3 Powerful tips to boost your savings

As rocketing fuel and electricity prices place even greater demand on stretched pockets, the task of saving money and building your wealth may seem more daunting than ever. But in tough economic times, the key to keeping your financial goals on track is to work smarter, not harder. With this in mind, here are three simple, yet powerful tips for optimising your savings: 1. Trim the fat It’s often more difficult to increase your income than it is to cut down on spending. Trim the fat from your budget by consciously cutting out wasteful or unnecessary expenditure. Shop around and compare monthly premiums on your insurance or mobile package, cancel any subscriptions that you may not be using, cu

Employee experience and Design Thinking – building the workforce of the future

Is the current skill sets inappropriate for the adaptive, agile changing nature of work? Is your organisation misfiring? Or worse, backfiring? Is there evidence of silo mentality and non-collaborative behaviour? Are staff misaligned with the organisation mission and purpose? If the answer to any of the above questions is yes, most likely, something should be done about it. Read on to learn more about influencing factors and potential strategies to build the work force of the future. The world of work is transforming with new technologies and industries changing the landscape and affecting how work is being conducted. The fourth industrial revolution is a reality now. This affects how manager

Sanlam paid out close to R4 billion in claims in 2018

In 2018, Sanlam paid out R3,9b in claims: R3,2b were for life cover, R329m for income cover and R323,5m for trauma and injury. The company also maintained its more than 99% admittance of death claims for the fifth consecutive year, of which 25% were linked to cardiovascular disease. Karin Muller, Chief Executive of Sanlam Individual Life, notes that some of the 2018 statistics presented concern and she draws attention to the predominant illnesses and injuries faced by South Africans – and the corresponding importance of insurance. “Our claims statistics provide crucial current and historical data that enables us to identify upward trends. This year, we found cardiovascular disease to be the

Are your clients' employees protected against the lifestyle related costs associated with cancer

Cancer is statistically the fastest-growing critical illness in South Africa with a projected increase of 78% by 2030, according to an article “The future cost of cancer in South Africa: An interdisciplinary cost management strategy” published in the South African Medical Journal in October 2016. This trend is also highlighted by Momentum Corporate’s claims statistics, indicating that overall cancer claims have increased by 48% since 2012, and represent 15% of all disability benefit claims in 2018. Furthermore, 21% of Momentum Corporate’s total cancer-related claims between 2012 and 2018 were paid to employees below the age of 40, who belong to group insurance schemes. According to Nashalin

Land expropriation without compensation – an important symbol for our country

Land expropriation without compensation could have positive outcomes and may not be as scary as it sounds. Rather, South Africans must acknowledge that the issue has become an important symbol for our country and it must therefore be addressed, and soon. It will all come down to the specific wording. This was the message given by keynote speaker, Max du Preez, to a gathering of industry investors at the first annual Nedgroup Investments Multi-Manager Investors Day hosted at Summer Place on Wednesday 22 May 2019. “It’s now a given that the wording in the constitution around this matter will be changed – and it will be the first time the constitution has been changed since democracy in 1994. B

Top tips for classy member communication

Learn from the likes of Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, and you’ll soon be on your way to realising the dream In order to be convincing, you need to have substance. Once you have that substance, and it’s grammatically correct, you need to make it look as impressive as you know it to be. So, how have the best communicators succeeded in inspiring and persuading their listeners and readers? Let’s take a look at some of the techniques that have been the building blocks of effective and meaningful content since Aristotle decided to classify the basic elements of the art of rhetoric. Know your audience. If you’re speaking to older generations, don’t bombard them with techno-babble. And i

Standard Bank AGM - SA’s first climate risk-related shareholder resolution

Resolution 10 in Standard Bank’s Notice of AGM was proposed by activist shareholders the RAITH Foundation and Theo Botha, with support from responsible investment and shareholder activism NGO Just Share. If more than 50% of Standard Bank’s shareholders vote for Resolution 10 on 30 May, the bank will have to: provide shareholders with more meaningful information about the climate-related risks they are exposed to by investing in the bank, through the bank’s lending, investing and financing activities in relation to fossil fuels; and adopt and publicly disclose a policy on lending to coal-fired power projects and coal mining operations. Why is it important? Around the world, shareholder resolu

Default Regulations: The industry has struggled

After two years of encouraging industry compliance, 1 March has come and gone and the industry has mostly complied with the Default Regulations implemented by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA). At a recent media roundtable, which was hosted by Sanlam Employee Benefits, Jocelyn Hathaway – CEO of Sanlam EB – reported that the industry is at a cross roads and much more needs to be done to ensure compliance that truly benefits the client. Opportunities arise “There is a real opportunity for funds to engage in introspection, innovation and impact. Adhering to Default Regulations may prove challenging for certain funds. However, they can really make a significant impact in the lives of

The 5 Best Money Moves for Women

Women in certain parts of the world may reach a life expectancy of 90 years just over a decade from now. This staggering finding published in the latest Lancet medical journal is a call to action for women to urgently rethink their approach to finance and to get busy planning for their retirement and healthcare needs, in particular. René Roux, Head Distribution Marketing for Sanlam Personal Finance, says women will ignore longevity findings such as this at their own peril. Roux says Sanlam’s data shows that in South Africa, a woman aged 30 today will, on average, live to 90 years, while a man of the same age will live to 82. Couple this with the escalating divorce rate in South Africa, which

ASISA members unite customers, beneficiaries and heirs with unclaimed assets worth R8.1 billion in 2

Members of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) united policyholders, beneficiaries, investors and heirs with unclaimed assets worth R8.1 billion in 2018. The forgotten assets were held in 71 233 risk policies, savings and investment policies, annuity polices and accounts in Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) portfolios. Rosemary Lightbody, senior policy adviser at ASISA, says despite the efforts already made by member companies, it is estimated that unclaimed assets worth R17.1 billion held in 147 221 products still need to be reunited with their legal owners. Lightbody explains that ASISA members will honour claims on unclaimed policy benefits and investment proc

Why you need to understand your Medical Aid Plan

Being diagnosed with a disease or chronic illness can be stressful and traumatic, but having a thorough understanding of what your medical aid plan covers, can help you cope with the news. Hayley Cornelissen, Senior Consultant at Alexander Forbes Health, says having a good understanding of what you’re covered for and making sure that you and your family are on the right plan for your needs is crucial. Alexander Forbes Health delivers healthcare consulting advice and member support services to over 600 corporate clients. Being upfront with pre-existing conditions is also vital, to avoid rejection of claims at a later stage. This could mean there is a waiting period before your cover takes eff

Helping members make better retirement choices

We all make better decisions when we have access to information. This is why, under the new default regulations for retirement funds, every fund must ensure that members have access to free retirement benefits counselling at important stages in their retirement journey. This counselling is not financial advice, as its purpose is not to make recommendations, but it should ensure that members have access to all the key information they need to make informed decisions about their retirement savings – including the need to obtain professional advice. What is retirement benefits counselling? In reality, few investors fully understand the long-term implications of the investment decisions they may

It’s a crazy world out there

The world is a crazy place at the moment. In the past, it was possible to look at investment markets and make educated guesses on behaviours based on a specific set of metrics. It was then possible to identify sectors and companies that would generate alpha. This is becoming increasingly challenging in the world today as there are a number of metrics that contribute more towards unpredictability than towards predictability. At a panel discussion on the second day of the recently held Investment Forum, these metrics were discussed. At war with itself Market unpredictability (and downturns) always used to come when there was a major international conflict. This could be seen during World Wars

The importance of a Living Will

A Living Will is a legal document which informs family and doctors of your wishes around the type of medical care you’d like to receive in the event that you are in coma or unable to communicate your desires not to be kept on life support. This could follow a medical state (terminal illness, injury or permanent unconsciousness) from which you will not recover and are thus no longer able to make your own medical decisions. It is a declaration made while you are of sound mind and over the age of medical consent which will remain valid even if the declarant later on becomes ‘non compos mentis’ – in one’s right mind. It is not a will in the testamentary sense of the word, as one’s Last Will and

MPC SNAP | Dovish statement suggests rate cut is on the cards

Although the SA Reserve Bank decided to keep interest rates on hold at their May 2019 MPC meeting, the statement was decidedly more dovish than their March statement. The logical conclusion is that the SARB is likely to cut interest rates by 25 basis points at their July MPC meeting – barring any major rand weakness in the intervening period. The Bank’s inflation forecasts fell by 20-30 basis points over each of the next three years. This was despite higher oil price forecasts. Therefore the decline is being driven by a combination of lower food prices and lower underlying inflation in South Africa. Their growth forecasts were unchanged, but they acknowledge downside risks given the expec

Nestlé's turnaround yields sweet returns

Nestlé is an established household name that has become synonymous with chocolate, confectionary, cereals and infant foods. But the company has far greater depth and is much more diversified than first meets the eye. In 1866, American brothers Charles and George Page established the Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company in Cham, Switzerland. Using the abundant supplies of fresh milk in that country, they applied the knowledge they had gained in their homeland to establish Europe’s first production facility for condensed milk. They started supplying Europe’s industrial towns with the product under the Milkmaid brand, marketing it as a safe, long-life alternative to fresh milk. Fast forward 152 y

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