Rel­e­vance of sav­ings and in­vest­ment in­dus­try top pri­or­ity for new as­so­ci­a­tion

Finweek English Edition - - Property Compass - Leon Cam­pher Corona­tion Fund Man­agers

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.

Asisa’s struc­ture

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. ■

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