• Editor

Alexander Forbes acquires Sanlam’s EB standalone administration business


Alexander Forbes is accelerating growth as it rapidly transforms South Africa’s leading employee benefits firm into a member-oriented financial services provider by:


  • enhancing the digital capabilities available to its financial advisers and clients; and

  • increasing the number of members within its traditional retirement fund base who may benefit from its independent financial advice and best-in-class propositions.


The company has entered into binding agreements with Sanlam Life Insurance Limited (Sanlam Life), a subsidiary of Sanlam Limited (Sanlam), relating to the following transactions, subject to certain conditions precedent (proposed transactions):


  • The acquisition of Sanlam’s operations in relation to large standalone retirement fund administration (the EB standalone administration business) by Alexander Forbes; and

  • The sale by Alexander Forbes of its entire equity interest in Alexander Forbes Individual Client Administration Proprietary Limited (AFICA) to Sanlam. AFICA and its subsidiaries (the AFICA group) house Alexander Forbes’s individual client administration business.


Increasing its retirement fund administration membership capability


The acquisition of Sanlam’s EB standalone administration business will increase the active membership of its retirement fund administration base by approximately 40% creating the capacity for Alexander Forbes to positively impact more members by scaling digital developments, delivering administration efficiencies and implementing its market leading member engagement strategy including financial advice across this base.


As a result of this acquisition, Alexander Forbes is now better positioned to manage the increasing costs of regulatory compliance, member engagement and technological innovation competitively, efficiently and sustainably to benefit members. Clients can take full confidence in Alexander Forbes’ commitment to and continued investment in stand-alone retirement fund administration to deliver exceptional service and improved value to members.


The increased membership base presents the opportunity for Alexander Forbes to connect with South Africa’s largest distinct pool of retirement fund members (outside the Government Employees Pension Fund) as the business shifts its strategic focus towards engaging with and serving the financial needs of individual clients.


Enhancing the capability to connect with members


Alexander Forbes is unlocking its potential to rapidly transform into a member-oriented financial services provider to serve a broader spectrum of savings needs for members of its retirement fund clients. The ability to connect at critical points in each individual member’s journey to and through retirement represents the single greatest opportunity for the business to make a positive impact on people’s lives by delivering insight and financial advice.


Alexander Forbes’s actual capability to connect with individual members is influenced by the digital experience available to its financial advisers. After a considered review of its own digital capabilities as well as those of alternative providers, Alexander Forbes will be enhancing the digital capabilities available to its financial advisers to connect with members by selling its individual client administration operations to Sanlam Life. Glacier by Sanlam, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanlam Life and leading investment platform in South Africa, will take full responsibility for these operations from the effective date of the sale.


Alexander Forbes is accelerating the modernisation of the digital experience delivered to its financial advisers and clients through the improved administration and user functionality that is enabled by the best-in-class technological capability of the Glacier system.


This will enable Alexander Forbes to better compete in the retail segment for compulsory and discretionary savings. The strategic advantage of providing retirement fund administration creates the platform for its financial advisers to connect with potential clients as individuals accumulate wealth and require financial advice.


A comprehensive set of Alexander Forbes’ individual client products covering both retirement and savings needs will be administered on the Glacier platform.


Dawie de Villiers, CEO of Alexander Forbes, says: “Our board and executive are excited by the opportunities that will be unlocked though the modernised digital capabilities now available to our financial advisers coupled with our larger retirement fund membership base. The proposed transactions accelerate our transformation towards becoming the most impactful provider of financial advice to retirement fund members in South Africa.”


ENDS