Relevance of savings and investment industry top priority for new association
THE NEW ASSOCIATION for Savings and Investment South Africa (Asisa) formally opened its doors at the beginning of October and represents the majority of South Africa’s asset managers, collective investment scheme management companies, linked investment service providers, multi-managers and life insurance companies.
Formed earlier this year by members of the Association of Collective Investments, the Investment Management Association of SA, the Linked Investment Service Providers’ Association and the Life Offices’ Association those four associations have now been disbanded and staff members and assets have been transferred to Asisa.
Why a single association?
Asisa CEO Leon Campher says achieving a savings culture has never before been such a high priority in SA. “By uniting our industries we can now collectively apply ourselves to making a bigger difference by speaking with one voice. Asisa will be an active participant in creating an environment that promotes equal opportunities for its members through holistic legislation while at the same time looking after the interests of consumers and ensuring the sustainability of the industries we represent and the intermediaries who promote us.”
Campher says previously the four associations represented industries that shared one common goal: to provide consumers with savings and investment options. “As a united industry we’re now able to promote healthy competition among companies by focusing on issues such as achieving meaningful disclosure rather than pitching product wrappers against each other without providing the tools that enable consumers to pick the best option.”
Campher says one of the first items on Asisa’s agenda is to improve disclosure within the industry by making products more comparable in relation to costs versus benefits. He says Asisa also represents the single body Government was looking for to engage with on policy issues.
Membership can only be attained at corporate level, never at a subsidiary company level. In addition, their most senior representative can only represent members on Asisa’s board. “The aim is to ensure high level strategic thinking shapes the future of the financial services industry and not product aligned agendas,” says Campher.
That, he says, will enable Asisa to take decisions that will take into consideration the impact on an investor’s entire basket of investments, irrespective of the investments that make up his portfolio.
Asisa’s first step towards creating a level playing field in the financial services industry has been to introduce the principle where a full member can vote only once and not per unit trust or life licence held. ■