Sygnia’s trusts to fight corruption
SYGNIA has launched two new unit classes of its money market unit trust that provide a mechanism whereby any investor or saver can contribute to change in South Africa.
The firm, which provides investment management and administration services to institutional and retail clients primarily in South Africa, said as a corporate citizen it was driven by its desire to fight corruption, restore faith in the government and encourage economic growth.
Sygnia chief executive Magda Wierzycka said many non-political lobbying groups, civil society organisations and investigative journalists were fighting and exposing corruption on behalf of South Africa’s 55 million people.
“Our courts, through the legal actions brought by non-partisan civil society organisations, have become the last guardians of our constitution and democracy. They are aided by courageous and dedicated journalists willing to investigate issues and shed light on corrupt practices. But court cases and investigations require support and funding.”
Their good intentions alone were not enough, however, as they required significant funding to investigate and fight these cases in court, Wierzycka said.
“We have decided to step in and help – 100 percent of the management fees associated with the new unit classes will be donated to non-political organisations fighting corruption…”
These organisations include the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse, the Black Sash, amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism, Corruption Watch, the Helen Suzman Foundation, the Council for the Advancement of the SA Constitution, the Kgalema Motlanthe Foundation and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
The company said it fully understood that every investor wanted a say in how the management fees they paid were allocated, but for those who wished to effect positive change two new unit trust classes of the Sygnia Money Market Fund were now available – Class S1 and Class S2.
Class S1 has an annual management fee of 0.5 percent, while Class S2, has an annual management fee of 1 percent. The unit trusts will be managed on a totally non-profit basis by Sygnia.
“We intentionally chose a money market unit trust as it is as close to a ‘cash’ investment as the asset management industry has to offer. If you have some spare change in a bank account or are an existing money market unit trust investor, consider putting your savings to better use,” said Wierzycka.
“You can invest as little as a once-off amount of R1 000, or a regular R500 per month. You can also withdraw your money at any stage.
According to the investment management company’s website, the investment was not limited to individuals. “Companies, trusts and retirement funds are encouraged to invest too.”
Wierzycka said: “We believe that corruption eats away at the moral fabric of our society.
“Whether it is in the government or the private sector, the message is the same: South Africa cannot thrive while corrupt practices are an accepted way of doing business – hence our desire to support all efforts aimed at exposing and eradicating corruption from our daily lives.
“We have all agreed to provide our services pro bono,
so every cent of your management fee will go to the organisations.
“To be clear, you are not donating your own money. You are investing it and can still withdraw it at any stage.
“Sygnia is donating the fee that it would normally charge to manage your money,” Wierzycka added.