Meeting Mark Kitching, Head of Absa Linked Investments, Wealth and Investment Management, Barclays Africa

  • Q: How did you get involved in financial services - was it always something you wanted to do?
  • A: From my high school years at Pretoria Boys high school I was always interested in a career in financial services. After completing my Matric in the same school I enrolled for a B Compt degree in Accounting Science which I completed at an Honours level. As I advanced my studies, I also realized that I wanted to fulfill my leadership potential and decided to compliment my Degrees with a Postgraduate Diploma in Management. My working career started with Fisher Hoffman Stride, an accounting professional Services Firm, I completed my Articles of clerkship. I then joined the FirstRand Group in June 1994 with Momentum Life where I was an Internal Audit Manager and then the Risk and Compliance Manager working within the Momentum Group of companies including Momentum Life, Momentum Health and RMB Asset Management. I then joined Momentum Health within the Group permanently which then became Discovery Limited. I occupied several positions during my 14-year tenure, including Risk and Compliance Officer; Divisional Manager for Administration, and Deputy General Manager for Group Finance Operations. In 2007 I joined the Absa Group, after being offered the role of Chief Operating Officer for Absa Investment Management Services (AIMS), soon then becoming the Head of the Linked Investment Services Platform (LISP) Business. I have also acted as the Absa Investments Chief Operating Officer. Now within the Absa Wealth and Investment Management Business, my expanded role includes the Head of the Collective Investment Schemes Business together with the Linked Platform. The financial services industry has always and continues to be a big part of my life. I thoroughly enjoy and am challenged by the diverse and interesting aspects of the entire financial services industry.

  • Q: What three key things must be considered before making an investment decision?
  • A: In our environment, we always advise our clients to go through holistic financial planning. Following the holistic financial planning process would ensure that the client’s key considerations are incorporated in the solution provided. These will include but are not limited to; the client’s risk tolerance; financial affordability; as well as their goals and objectives.

  • Q: Investment choice - SA investors are spoilt for choice - does this make an investment decision too complex or is choice a necessity?
  • A: In my view, clients are currently spoilt for choice when making investment decisions and should always seek the advice of a qualified financial adviser and planner. Making an investment decision can be complex and a specialist is always there to fill in the gaps and help the investor through that decision.

  • Q: Transparency, disclosure and fees - has the local industry done enough to ensure investors understand investments, risks and costs or can we do more?
  • A: At Absa Wealth and Investment Management we are constantly striving to improve investor transparency, especially with disclosures and fees. In addition to this, we are always making an effort to make our product offering simpler and easier to understand. We are constantly looking at ways of treating our customers fairly and improving our customer satisfaction measures. We also strongly believe that financial literacy for consumers is critical in order to achieve financial goals and retirement savings. Having said that, as an industry we can do more and support the regulatory environment in pushing for the same goal.

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Saving – for different reasons

Yesterday I attended the presentation of the latest Old Mutual Savings Monitor. This year, they researched not only working metro households in SA – but also those in Nigeria, Kenya, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The research findings are on the web – and are quite extensive. By and large – people are not that confident in […]

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Investment & Retirement Expo 2014 now incorporating Property Expo

The Investment & Retirement Expo will this year incorporate the Property Expo, as the age of expo visitors and scope of the investments on show broadens. The 2014 Investment & Retirement Expo, from 24 to 26 October at the Coca-Cola dome in Northriding, Johannesburg, will emphasise the need for South Africans of all ages to […]

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Practical advice for savings month

As economic turmoil continues to threaten household incomes, Alexander Forbes Financial Planning Consultants recommends the following practical tips to increase your savings: A LA CARTE Everyone loves a good splurge now and again. With rising debt levels in South Africa, consumers are consistently being encouraged to watch their credit purchases. This is practical advice because […]

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Save and invest today – and own tomorrow

Despite numerous initiatives aimed at encouraging South Africans to save, consumers still fail to save enough during their working years to enable them to maintain their living standards during retirement. Leon Campher, CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA), blames this on an inability by South Africans to distinguish between needs […]

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Slower should not mean never

The South African Reserve Bank (SARB) has indicated it believes interest rates will need to be increased further. However, it has also suggested there is no urgency regarding hiking the rates. Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, Daniel Mminele noted during his speech at the SARB Financial Markets Department’s annual cocktail function on 24th June […]

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Percent growth

Further interest rate hikes necessary

By Sanisha Packirisamy: Economist at Momentum Asset Management Economic forecasters’ views on the interest rate decision at the upcoming Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, to be held on 17 July, have been quite mixed given the on-going stagflationary bind that the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) finds itself in. Domestic growth prospects are weakening in […]

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Another tough call for SARB this week, but hike may just be on the cards

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Strikes put employers in awkward position over pension contributions

South African companies are in a legislative bind over uncertainty around whether they are legally compelled to maintain pension contributions on behalf of striking workers. That’s according to Rebecca Jansch, attorney at pan-African law firm Bowman Gilfillan. “The gap between two key pieces of legislation on this issue has been brought into focus by the […]

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Shining a spotlight on savings

Let’s face it, short-term insurance is a grudge purchase and is often forfeited to save money. The team at Momentum Short-term Insurance is taking Savings Month seriously and is committed to showing you how to save money despite advocating spending some of it on insurance. In exchange for a monthly premium, short-term insurance companies will […]

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Cutting costs is not enough – you need to put your money to work

Reducing your day-to-day living expenses in an attempt to save is a futile exercise unless you actually put the saved amount to work, either by reducing debt or by investing this money. Niel Fourie, Public Policy Actuary at the Actuarial Society of South Africa, says the relentless increase in the cost of living and the […]

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Reserve Bank’s next interest rate decision on a knife edge

The result of the Reserve Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting later this month is very much in the balance. Jean-Pierre du Plessis, Fixed Interest Strategist at Prescient Investment Management commented that inflation is uncomfortably high at 6.6% and is expected to remain above the Reserve Bank’s target for the remainder of 2014. “With a […]

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