Collective investment schemes in hedge funds
The Financial Services Board (FSB) recently approved the first collective investment schemes in hedge funds. The schemes, one a qualified investor hedge fund and the other a retail investor hedge fund, are registered under the Novare Collective Investments management company.
The schemes comprise 35 portfolios between them, and have been registered with effect from November 27. This represents a milestone because it is the first time that a regulated hedge fund will be marketed as a product offering.
The FSB has received and is considering a further 20 applications from management companies wanting to register collective investment schemes in hedge funds. The FSB has employed a team of finance and investment professionals to oversee the registration of the management companies, and the hedge fund industry at large. The team will be led by Udesh Naicker, the head of hedge funds at the FSB.
New kid on the block
MMI Holdings, along with key individuals from Momentum Asset Management and BEE partners, will soon create Aluwani Capital Partners, one of the largest black-owned asset management companies in South Africa with an initial R62 billion of assets under management.
Aluwani, which means “prosper” in Tshivenda, will hold 40% equity, financed by MMI Holdings and Aluwani Capital Partners management. BEE partners have also been secured and hold a 20% stake in the asset management company, with MMI Holdings holding the remaining 40%.
Aluwani Capital Partners will focus on institutional businesses offering fixed income, equity, multiasset class and frontier market capabilities, and is geared to begin operations this month.
BrightRock offers trauma cover
Innovative life insurer BrightRock has launched a new product called Trauma IQ, which is a new way of assessing and covering the additional expenses that may arise from a traumatic event.
According to BrightRock’s executive director, Schalk Malan, the new assessment expands policyholders’ coverage substantially, “assessing and paying out trauma claims that no other critical illness benefit in the market would cover”.
There are a number of improvements to temporary expenses cover for illnesses or injuries you can recover from. Another product enhancement is the introduction of an additional occupational underpin for permanent illness and injury claims, providing unparalleled transparency to the assessment of occupational disability claims.
Absa introduces iPad banking
Absa has introduced a pilot offering in selected Gauteng branches that will see consultants using iPads and other devices capable of performing banking operations that were previously confined to teller-based services.
The iPad offering brings four stand-alone insurance products that make legal, life and funeral cover accessible to more people. It is currently being piloted in 17 of the bank’s branches across Gauteng.
The managing executive of Absa’s northern region (Pretoria, Mpumalanga and Limpopo), Oscar Siziba, explains that the legal cover, known as Absa Law For You, gives policyholders free legal advice, mediation on any legal matter and cover for court proceedings.
Classic Life and Flexi Funeral are the bank’s life and funeral cover options, while the Personal Accident Plan from Absa covers families in the event of death, permanent or temporary disability, and includes emergency rescue and transportation, medical and hospital expenses.
Banie Claasen, managing executive of Absa in Gauteng south, says: “The use of iPads in a branch also allows us to carry out traditional branch transactions, including the switching of customers’ debit orders, transactional and savings account openings, and personal loan approvals of between R8 000 and R150 000 for qualifying Absa customers in minutes.”
Both the Verdi Centre and Irene branches have extended their operating hours during the week and on Saturdays.
Siziba says the move to extend trading hours in these particular branches was an easy decision for the bank because this was a clear way in which to adapt to customers’ changing banking behaviour.