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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.


Online is not the same as Virtual

On the face if it, this statement seems obvious. We all know the difference between online business solutions and virtual business solutions. Business have been online for ages already – think websites, web-based software solutions and social media. Virtual solutions on the other hand, bring up concepts such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality – or at least a 3D experience that resembles a real-life situation. With the onset of the COVID Pandemic, many businesses had to quickly adapt to remote working solutions and we have seen a proliferation of online solutions, claiming to offer virtual business solutions. This is especially true for ‘virtual events’. Perhaps it’s because the word

How to keep your employees encouraged to save

For SME business owners particularly, Covid-19’s economic impact has hit hard. Though large companies are struggling too, smaller businesses often have less capital or income to cover their overheads. The tough economic conditions may well linger on, and where one member of a household has been left unemployed, they may have to cope on a reduce income for some time yet. Many employees may be asking if they can opt out of contributing to their employers’ pension fund, or company Group RA (retirement annuity), in favour of more money in their pockets. This is understandable given how tight the purse strings may be lately, but if employers can keep contributions in place, encouraging employees

A behavioural finance perspective on women and investing

The financial services industry is undergoing a dramatic shift. The next generation of investors will be younger and far more diverse, with women taking an increasingly prominent role in building and growing family and personal wealth. Women are currently under- represented in the investment world, but that is changing fast. While various cultural and societal reasons are contributors to this, there is also a simpler driver: the rising economic might of women in generating and managing the income and wealth of their families. Studies show that women think about money and wealth in a different way to men – and the way the financial service industry has traditionally serviced its clients. As

The month that was - Covid, medical aids and pyramids

It is that time of the month where we take stock of what has happened over the past 30 days JSE The JSE had lots of ups and downs this month and dropped by 5% over the past 30 days Covid While many countries are moving back into lockdown, we have moved to level 1. It looks like things are getting back to normal if the traffic on the roads is anything to go by. Just be careful about becoming blasé and letting your guard down. I have a close family member in hospital at the moment because of Covid – it is still out there and is not friendly. Medical aid The various medical aids are currently releasing their new benefits and rates. Now is a good time to look at what you have and see if you ar

GDP shockwaves set to put employee productivity under increasing pressure

Times are tough. The decline in South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 51% for the second quarter of 2020 underlines just how tough. Added to this, the latest results from the Momentum Unisa Consumer Financial Vulnerability Index (CFVI) show South Africans are in a very vulnerable state across all four sub-components of the CFVI – income, expenditure, savings and debt servicing capabilities - and simply unable to cope financially. This has a far-reaching impact for employers as employee productivity is affected – but there are practical steps that can minimise the fallout. The highly vulnerable state of South Africans’ financial psyche is further reflected in the CFVI finding that a

Addressing South Africans Financial Needs

This heritage month, Alexander Forbes addresses the financial needs of South Africans by focusing on their financial well-being journey and not just the end game of retirement. In many South African households, the income earner’s responsibilities stretch beyond just themselves, spouse and children and therefore the lens of responsibility for South Africans is complex and impacts the income earner’s own spending and savings patterns. Dolana Conco, regional executive at Alexander Forbes Financial Services, explains that there is no such thing as “average” in Africa; African nations rank the highest on the diversity index with South Africa ranking 8th on the list. This suggests the “convention

About to retire? Your first few years of retirement are critical. Here’s how to get them right

Your salaried years may be over, and your retirement contributions may have stopped, but that doesn’t mean you should forego your savings mindset. After all, it could be critical to successful retirement planning. 1. Start retirement sustainably As you approach retirement, speak to your financial adviser about the amount you’ve saved compared to the amount you’ll need to live on in retirement. Then, make decisions around your retirement budgeting accordingly – you may need to cut back on your pre-retirement expenses, or consider a part-time job in your early retirement years. It’s critical to have sight of this early into your retirement, so that you can put a sustainable plan in place. “If

Sanlam pays out over R162-million in COVID-19 claims

R162-million of COVID-19 related claims were paid by Sanlam Individual Life between March and August 2020; with over R17-million paid to clients for sickness and income protection benefits and over R144 million paid in death and funeral claims. Petrie Marx, Product Actuary at Sanlam, says claims related to COVID-19 spiked during August. “In August alone, death and funeral claims related to Coronavirus were double the amount paid out for the period March to July. Similarly, claims for sickness or income protection that increased significantly in July, continued to rise further in August.” Marx notes that these trends reflect the acceleration of the pandemic. “The increase in claims mirrors th

Social Spotlight: Women - The Great Equaliser

In balancing gender diversity and inclusion (D&I) practices, employers have long signalled the equal opportunity tag line. One does not require science to show that we are still a long way from balance. According to a 2020 study conducted by BCG and the UN Women, Covid-19 intensifies the pressure on this subject. Given the economic burden that will follow in the next few years, we are at risk of reversing any progress made in closing the gender or pay gap. Using the sustainable development goal (SDGs) lens, we expose business vulnerabilities According to Premal Ranchod, ESG champion and senior manager research analyst at Alexander Forbes, the framework and implementation of the sustainable d

New stats reveal women are lagging in retirement savings and are debilitated by stress

In a recent study of their client base, Momentum Corporate revealed that almost half (41%) of the employees on the FundsAtWork Umbrella Funds are women. With an almost 50/50 gender split across the client base, a one-size-fits-all approach to advice on employee benefits simply won’t cut it. This is according to Shaeera Essop, Strategic Client Engagement Manager at Momentum Corporate, who says that employers should consider the balance of men and women making up the employee base, the unique challenges they face as well as the industries that they work in. “When assessing which employee benefits are right for a specific company, it is important to understand the balance of men and women makin

Should you tell your kids how much you earn?

Many parents are reluctant to talk to their children about money, but these are important lessons to help them achieve financial independence when they are older – even if you aren’t a financial genius yourself. As children get older, they notice their friends’ houses and cars of different sizes and have discussions on the school playground about their different holiday destinations. “In the senior phase of junior school, they work out very quickly that different incomes yield different lifestyles and this is usually when the question about income gets posed to parents,” said Kerry Sutherland. “You can tell them that you understand they have questions about money and how much you earn, but a

What the Fed’s new target means for inflation?

Despite changing its policy framework with the introduction of an average inflation target (AIT) and aim of maximum employment, the US Federal Reserve (Fed) took no action at its latest policy meeting. Interest rates and asset purchases remain unchanged, although the central bank did give a steer on how its new policy would work going forward. A change in approach The Fed refreshed its Summary of Economic Projections, which forecasts how growth, interest rates, inflation and unemployment will develop in the years to come. Its inflation forecast was notable, as it showed inflation moving back up to 2% in 2023. That this came alongside no change in projected interest rates marks a departure fr

The rise and fall of industries and professions

Although the Covid-19 pandemic has created the urgent need to adopt innovative technologies, we were reminded during the 2020 EBnet 3-D Conference that we need to adapt or die. Henry Biddlecombe, Co-manager of Anchor BCI Global Technology Fund, said he came across a fictitious survey that asked, ‘who led the digital transformation of your company’? To which the options were, the CEO, CTO or Covid-19. This got him thinking and he said, “the truth is, in most instances, it was Covid-19. Companies have adopted technology on a scale today, that would never have been the case before the pandemic.” The cusp of a digital revolution In Alvin Toffler's ‘Future Shock’ book, one of the driving themes o

What your retirement fund should look like

A well-designed retirement fund isn’t actually that hard to attain if you pay attention to these five key aspects. Designing a good retirement fund is easy. Typically, the fund would aim to replace your salary while you were working with a suitable replacement income once you retire. In South Africa this ‘replacement ratio’ is usually 70% to 75%, meaning your monthly income during retirement needs to be about three-quarters of your salary on the day of your retirement. This is based on amounts before tax. ‘The equation to solve for in order to ensure that a given set of design features will have a solid chance of delivering the target replacement ratio is readily available,’ says Ipeleng

Smart devices: the future passenger inflight control center

The COVID-19 crisis has profoundly impacted the global air transport industry and airline passenger experience alike. This means that as passenger demand makes a gradual return, albeit cautiously amid inflight safety concerns, there is a new set of post-COVID-19 measures in tow for airlines. This is according to Sabine Taillardat, Cabin Connectivity Solution Team Manager at SITA, who says that while containing costs is a key focus for airlines to achieve a sustainable recovery, carriers also face ongoing challenges in reinforcing health, safety and confidence onboard; complying with sanitisation rules; and ensuring passenger satisfaction. “Demand for onboard high-speed connectivity was alrea

Shun equities at your peril

The most recent figures released by the Association for Savings and Investments South Africa (ASISA) show a historic influx of investment into local unit trusts over the last quarter. In fact, according to ASISA, this is the highest net quarterly inflow on record, at R88 billion. Of this amount, around R44 billion was invested by individual investors, and a big portion of that was brand new money that had not been invested before. This influx of investment may come as a surprise to many, in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s important to look at what kind of investment has gained the most ground. South African Interest-Bearing Money Market portfolios attracted by far the biggest share

How to spring clean your financial habits

Whether you celebrate Spring on the first of September or on the 22nd of the month to coincide with the September Equinox – the official start of the new season – the fresh season brings with it an opportunity to spring clean your finances. Below Noluyolo Betela, client relationship manager at Allan Gray, discusses which financial habits you should toss, and which you should keep, this Spring. 15 September 2020: Spring is one of my favourite seasons, a time of renewal. On top of traditional wardrobe and house clear-outs, I also use this season to review my financial habits to see what I can swap out for new, better behaviours that will stand me in good stead to achieving my goals. If you fee

Simplifying the Retirement Fund Death Claims Process

Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through, and during this difficult time, you don’t want your loved ones to have to worry about finances. Your family will receive a share of your retirement savings and a life insurance pay-out if you die while being a member of a retirement fund. The trustees of the fund have a legal responsibility to make sure that death benefits from the fund are paid to those who are financially dependent on you. If your death benefit is through a policy that is separate to the fund, then the trustees will not be involved and this benefit will be paid out according to the nomination of beneficiaries’ form that you’ve completed wi

Business, labour, fiduciaries and government stand together to rescue a post Covid-19 SA

The Covid-19 pandemic is paving the way for a new era of collaboration between business, government and labour as they seek solutions for South Africa’s dire economic and fiscal outlook. “Never before have we seen this much collaboration between government and the private sector; it is the first time since 1994 that a meaningful social compact is becoming a reality,” said Elias Masilela, Chairman of recently-established Impact Investing South Africa (IISA) and Chairman of DNA Economics. Collaboration was among the key themes that emerged amongst panellists during a webinar hosted by Sanlam Investments on 4 September 2020. The panel reflected on what optimal capital allocation should be in a

Culture can cost you

A company’s culture is the very bloodline from which it operates in the marketplace. It should centre around company ethics and principles, which should be well-known by everyone working there, and always adhered to. This Heritage Month reminds us of what we have and instilling an ethical corporate culture in business can ensure it runs well and goes the distance. According to the 11th annual Thomson Reuters Cost of Compliance Survey 2020, released earlier this year, the single biggest compliance risk facing those surveyed, was creating a unified compliance function. This could be for a number of reasons, but ultimately speaks to needing everyone in a company, to be on the same page. Company




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