What do four of South Africa’s most accomplished female actuaries have in common apart from being ace number crunchers? They are all financially independent and empowered, but not because they are actuaries or earn good salaries. All of them learnt at an early age that it takes hard work, dedication and self-discipline to make money […]
According to statistics from the Actuarial Society of South Africa, women on average are living ...
This Women’s Month, Liberty Medical Scheme highlights five essential medical tests women should be aware ...
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Sally is a divorced mother of four living in Cape Town. Since she had been ...
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Meeting Jennifer Grefen, Executive Head of Retirement Funds, NMG; Chairperson of the FIA Employee Benefits Committee
- Q: How did you get involved in financial services - was it always something you always wanted to do?
- A: I have always wanted to be involved in this dynamic industry and more specifically the retirement arena. I find it gratifying to know that the work done in this space has a positive impact of many people and enables individuals to make appropriate provision for themselves and their family. My dad struggled with his health and had to retire relatively early so I am aware of the impact that this can have should adequate cover and planning not be in place. I am very passionate about financial services because as an industry we have the ability to make a positive impact of people’s lives.
- Q: Are you comfortable with the pace and focus of retirement reform in SA?
- A: In general I am supportive of the Treasury initiatives to create a safer financial services environment and to simplify the environment in which we operate. It also makes sense that clients are provided with appropriate information and guidelines to ensure that they make appropriate financial decisions at different stages of their lives. However I do believe that there will always be a place for good, appropriate advice to assist clients with their decisions. Good advice is – well – priceless! We have seen substantial changes brought about by virtue of the various pieces of legislation promulgated over the past few years. This has far reaching effects on the retirement funding industry and its members. Customer protection initiatives such as TCF ( treating customers fairly) are welcome because they serve to place the end customer at the focal point in all product, servicing and distribution decisions. Much of the industry is still putting in place the comprehensive framework to ensure that the six TCF outcomes are effectively attained. The Taxation laws amendment act is effective from the 1st of March 2015. It creates a uniform landscape for the tax exemption of all retirement fund contributions and also provides a uniform annuity requirement for all new monies paid into a provident fund after march 2015, whilst protecting vested rights. I am broadly supportive of this change, but like most providers, and advisers, we are consulting with our clients regarding the implications. In some instances the changes require a review to individuals’ financial plans and to the employers’ payroll systems. As an industry we are eagerly awaiting Treasury’s discussion documents as set out in their recent road map. We should soon receive the FSB’s RDR review as well as proposals on default provisions on resignation and retirement, the enhancement of preservation upon withdrawal, compulsory membership of all formally employed employees and minimum cost disclosure requirements. Broadly these proposals are in line with Treasury’s objectives of broadening the savings net, increasing savings, increasing preservation and increasing the governance of the retirement landscape; but as with most things, the devil is in the detail.
- Q: What is good about the retirement savings industry in SA and what can we do better?
- A: We have a robust retirement savings industry, but there are certainly areas where can improve. We should, for example, review the manner in which we disclose fees to ensure that the client is able to understand what it is that they are paying for. In the retail environment there is common understanding as to the concept of a TER (total expense ratio) and perhaps that is something we need to further explore in the group environment.
- Q: Skills in the industry - are we growing these or is it an area we really need to focus on?
- A: We need to think about how the industry attracts, nurtures and develops young talent. When I joined the industry (as a young and impressionable newcomer) my perception was that it offered glamorous and sought after career opportunities. We seem to have lost some of our ‘shine’ where recent graduates are concerned and that is something that we have to work on.
I am busy reading Kevin Lings’ excellent book The Missing Piece. A highly recommend. Lings highlights how critical the employment issue is in SA – we don’t have enough of it – by a very wide margin. In SA – whichever number you choose to look at – unemployment is high. It will take a […]
Spreading unsubstantiated rumours around the nationalisation of pension funds is reckless and harmful to workers who are said to be resigning in mass to obtain their pension money for fear that government’s proposed retirement reforms will see their savings expropriated. Hannine Drake, Senior Associate at pan-African corporate law firm, Bowman Gilfillan, commented, “Workers must be […]
In light of the Financial Planning Week, scheduled to run from 25 – 29 August 2014, the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) alongside the financial services industry will be offering FREE financial planning consultations to consumers. The nationwide joint industry initiative encompasses a variety of sub campaigns that will run regionally and aimed at educating South […]
Financial Planning Week: 25 – 29 August No matter where you fit into the South African job market – whether you’re taking your first step on the corporate ladder, a labourer in the workforce or a CEO of a large corporate – when it comes to offers of credit, everyone is a target. So says […]
The significant weakening of the rand against major currencies over the past two years has been a big driver of returns for South African investors invested offshore, and may even have masked poor investment allocation. Now that the rand is close to fair value, the performance of the underlying offshore assets will be far more […]
Marriott, the Income Specialists, looks at the current state of the investment environment and offers suggestions on investment options. Over the past 5 years retired investors have weathered a storm of negative real cash interest rates and historically low bond and property yields globally. Fortunately, this environment is starting to return to “normal” with interest […]
By David Warneke, Director: Tax, BDO South Africa This article, which examines the taxation treatment that results from the sale of share scheme shares, concludes that it is advisable to hold any shares for a period of at least three years before disposing of them – including shares acquired in terms of an employer’s share […]
PART II The Davis Tax Committee (DTC) has made a bold opening move with the release of its first interim report: The Small and medium Enterprises (SME): Taxation Considerations, Interim report July 2014. According to Erich Bell, Tax Technical at the South African Institute of Tax Professionals (SAIT), the DTC report contains a number of […]
It’s no secret that women admirably spend their lives juggling the demands of work and home, only to find that, when they reach retirement, their financial status isn’t what they had hoped it would be. It has been statistically proven internationally – The Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement reports that women typically work 12 […]
FATCA Q & A with Dalila Ver Elst, Senior Compliance Officer, Maitland 1. Q: Does FATCA affect financial institutions even if they have no United States investors? A: Yes, any non-US financial institution must register under FATCA regardless of whether or not it has US investors. The FATCA agreements and regulations apply to all financial […]
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Newsletter 21 August 2014: Financial Planning Week, A financial journey
Today we share some thoughts on a financial journey – what to keep in mind, […]
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