Finweek English Edition - - COVER - ••

in the busi­ness, so we could run ful­lon dis­cre­tionary [an­nu­ity in­come as op­posed to ad­vice] port­fo­lios for clients. That R19bn is now 120bn, of which R44bn are full dis­cre­tionary as­sets and there is a fur­ther R120bn in in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses of which R49bn is dis­cre­tionary and the rest ad­vice.”

There are now j ust over 400 em­ploy­ees, 185 of which are in South Africa, and the di­vi­sion has in­creased its profit con­tri­bu­tion ten­fold. SA still ac­counts for 60% of prof­its, but as the busi­ness grows off­shore that should change. The de­ci­sion to change to wealth man­age­ment, es­pe­cially fidu­ciary and tax, al­lowed San­lam to play in a higher seg­ment of the mar­ket.

It timeously iden­ti­fied the swing to in­ter­na­tional as­sets for its South African client base, fol­low­ing re­laxed ex­change con­trols and the in­creas­ing so­phis­ti­ca­tion of lo­cal in­vestors. It is now ac­tive in nu­mer­ous coun­tries in­clud­ing SA, the UK and Australia and has a client base spread across West­ern Europe and Asia.

“Ten years ago, be­ing a life as­sur­ance brand in the mid­dle mar­ket, no one thought we could be suc­cess­ful in the high-net-worth mar­ket.”

Kriel at­tributes this suc­cess to build­ing the right team in the right struc­tures, a re­lent­less fo­cus on clients (over 50% of new in­flows came from ex­ist­ing clients or re­fer­rals from them) and con­sis­tent strat­egy.

“One must not un­der­es­ti­mate the power of the San­lam busi­ness model − the fed­er­ated model. We are em­pow­ered to run the busi­ness, while two things con­trolled by the cen­tre are cap­i­tal and brand.”

While the group i s fo­cused on ex­pand­ing to emerg­ing mar­kets, San­lam Pri­vate Wealth’s ex­pan­sion has been against the trend, to the UK and de­vel­oped mar­kets. But this has been client-driven − South African clients don’t want di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion into emerg­ing mar­kets.

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