How do I find a miss­ing pol­icy?


The Citizen (KZN) - - BUSINESS - Mag­nus Heystek Jr of Bren­thurst Wealth an­swers:

Ques­tion: My late fa­ther took out a pol­icy/ in­vest­ment/set up a trust fund of some sort in my name sev­eral years ago. At the time I was a mi­nor. I don’t know any de­tails about it. Is there any­way I can find out if there is ac­tu­ally some­thing in my name? If so, how do I ac­cess it? There is def­i­nitely a way to ac­cess in­for­ma­tion on this pol­icy. Many bro­ker­ages are re­quired by law to get what is known as a Pol­icy Au­tho­ri­sa­tion Let­ter or (Bro­ker Au­tho­ri­sa­tion Note – ter­mi­nol­ogy dif­fers from com­pany to com­pany) from clients, whereby a client pro­vides their ID num­ber and signs a let­ter giv­ing said bro­ker­age the au­thor­ity to ac­cess any in­for­ma­tion with most fi­nan­cial ser­vice providers.

Au­tho­ri­sa­tion let­ters can also pro­vide pol­icy num­bers, to speed up the process, but in the reader’s case, an ID num­ber would be suf­fi­cient to head in the right di­rec­tion.

In the past, most clients would pro­vide the ad­vi­sor or bro­ker­age with the in­for­ma­tion of where the pol­icy or in­vest­ment was lo­cated, and it was as sim­ple as e-mail­ing the com­pany and get­ting a state­ment.

The in­dus­try has since evolved and one of the most prom­i­nent tools cur­rently avail­able to use – to get a holis­tic re­port of a client’s port­fo­lio – is through a plat­form known as As­tute. As­tute as­sists bro­ker­ages by al­low­ing them to query a client’s ID num­ber, and re­turn ba­sic pol­icy in­for­ma­tion from all of the com­pa­nies that are reg­is­tered with As­tute. Some no­table com­pa­nies that al­low for in­for­ma­tion to be shared are Lib­erty, Old Mu­tual, San­lam, Al­lan Gray and Stan­lib, to name a few.

In some cases, a bro­ker­age pays an an­nual fee, and pays for each in­di­vid­ual query.

As­tute also en­sures that all bro­ker­ages are com­pli­ant in terms of fi­nan­cial leg­is­la­tion, and re­quests that the au­thor­ity notes are sent to them, by means of a ba­sic au­dit. This is done by se­lect­ing the in­di­vid­ual re­quests at ran­dom, and bro­ker­ages have a limited time to pro­vide a signed au­thor­ity note to As­tute, to en­sure com­pli­ance, and to re­duce any unau­tho­rised pol­icy re­quests. Fail­ure to pro­duce an au­thor­ity let­ter can not only re­sult in the ac­count be­ing sus­pended, but also hefty fines and sus­pen­sion of a prac­tice’s li­cence, in terms of leg­is­la­tion.

Once the bro­ker­age has iden­ti­fied where the pol­icy is, they can then as­sist the client to make a with­drawal, as is the case with the reader’s ques­tion.

If As­tute is un­able to pick up any in­for­ma­tion, then it will be very dif­fi­cult to find out where the in­vest­ment is, but a quick Google search does show a few other web­sites that pro­vide a sim­i­lar ser­vice. Cau­tion is rec­om­mended, es­pe­cially when pro­vid­ing per­sonal in­for­ma­tion, so al­ways look out for a bro­ker­age that is fully li­censed in terms of the FAIS Act.

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