The 43rd annual Insurance Conference hosted by The Insurance Institute of South Africa (IISA) alongside The Financial Intermediaries Association of Southern Africa (FIA) and the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), will be held at Sun City from the 24th to the 27th of July.
‘Business Unusual’ is the main theme of this year’s conference, which aims to provide a platform for insurance industry professionals to learn more about the state of the insurance sector, stay up to date with industry trends and connect with peers across the sector.
David Harpur, CEO of The Insurance Institute for South Africa (ISSA), remarks, “Delegates attending the 2016 Insurance Conference are set to learn a great deal that can be passed on to their colleagues and clients,” adding, “The conference will again give global and national leaders in the industry the opportunity to exchange knowledge and engage with topics and challenges that face the industry. The theme ‘Business Unusual’ aims to set the tone for new thoughts and ideas that will break free of limitations set by 2015’s financial challenges that hampered both the growth of the insurance industry and the global economy.”
A host of relevant topics relating to current industry trends, from financial service regulation and the role of the insurance industry in the local economy to social media liability and the impact of climate change in Africa, will be addressed at the conference.
“In terms of industry trends, South Africa faces massive new legislation changes, and regulatory changes are swamping the local insurance industry. Twin Peaks, Retail Distribution Review, SAM (Solvency Assessment and Management) and TCF (Treating Customers Fairly) all contribute to this changing environment. The impact of social media, the sustainability of motor insurance, the lack of third party liability cover, insured vehicles, fraudulent driver’s licenses, fraud and corruption in claims and risks, the emergence of cyber liability issues and skills shortage are just some of the challenges that are currently impacting the industry. The Insurance Conference 2016 will be a prime opportunity to share and gain insights on these,” says Harpur.
Change is a certainty
“Currently the local industry is in a state of change, with new technologies like driverless cars and the advent of UBER set to change the way the industry operates and continues to evolve. The industry must adapt to the changing needs of its customers, who dictate, through their behaviours, that new solutions are to be found and offered by the short-term insurance industry,” comments Harpur, who goes on to say, “The best way the industry can respond to this is to understand its markets and adapt its offerings to deliver on its promise of good insurance cover for risks and methods of prompt and effective claims settlements. Improved customer outcomes must be a top priority for sound financial insurance companies and professional broking firms.”
Due to the global and local attendance at the event, networking opportunities, which lead to many beneficial business relationships, are a significant draw card for professionals wishing to attend. Furthermore, it offers a niche platform for professionals to learn, engage and network with leaders and service providers in the short-term insurance industry. “The 2016 Insurance Conference, which we at IISA are proud to be hosting, is a high-level event and has become a pivotal platform for industry professionals to engage in new ideas around products and services, and to stay abreast of changes in the insurance and business sectors in South and southern Africa. We look forward to looking at things differently this year through the lens of ‘Business Unusual’,” Harpur concludes.
Delegates who attend the Insurance Conference business sessions and who comply with the IISA’s verification procedure will be awarded 11 IISA CPD hours on the advanced level. Furthermore, the conference is open to anyone who is interested in attending.
Local ICT Infrastructure company BT-SA has warned that the 9.4% Eskom tariff hike will have a huge effect on businesses, especially if they fail to streamline their energy consumption.
Incorporating smart office or home technology into a new or existing structure makes it easier to reduce energy consumption and the carbon footprint a home or business creates. More businesses and domestic consumers are turning to alternative energy sources to escape the high and seemingly ever-increasing tariffs.
There are a range of certified electrical solutions and alternative power solutions ranging from supportive supply to standalone back-up solutions to grid tie solar systems, generators, UPS and solar.
Bertie Strydom, managing director of BT-SA, says it is widely accepted that electricity bills will spike higher than usual this winter. “But it doesn’t have to be that way, there are plenty of simple ways to minimise the amount of energy needed to heat your business or home and save a bundle of cash doing it.”
Creating a smart office or home that optimises how and when it uses energy, can have a positive influence on your budget and also on the environment. This can be done by connecting the office or home services and devices into a system that allows you to control it from anywhere with a smart device.
A thermostat that adjusts its target temperature based on time of day, the day of the week, the season, the weather and how many people are in the building is just one piece of the bigger energy optimisation puzzle. A modern automation system can adjust window blinds on each side of the building based on the time of day to absorb solar heat or block it, depending on the temperature needs.
“When you’re on vacation, your appliances and water heater could automatically go into energy saver mode,” he adds.
BT-SA recommends that you should always consider precision cooling and heating that ensures intelligent energy saving, guaranteeing temperatures within the targeted environment.
“We offer accredited, professional electrical design, installation and maintenance services for both commercial and industrial applications. Comprehensive testing and inspection are performed before hand to establish the safety of the installation.”
“Remember to always ask your installer about the maintenance of any cooling or heating system. Our service level agreements are simple, measurable and realistic to manage no matter what industry it is applied to,” he concludes.
Since the inception of Truth About Money, a 1Life initiative, in March 2014, 20 635* South Africans have taken the first step towards financial freedom. Through the financial education course, thousands of people from every walk of life have embarked on the journey of better understanding their finances, in order to make healthy financial decisions.
This figure definitely speaks to the need for South Africans to become even more financially independent in the future. In 2016 alone, over 5000* people registered for the course. Before embarking on the course, 43% of the people expressed that they worried about money on a daily basis. After they had completed the course, 80% began to look forward to the prospect of managing their finances in the future.
This Youth Month we have to ask ourselves if the youth’s frame of mind, regarding money, is influencing their financial decisions for the future.
The simple answer? “Well, yes. Most South Africans, especially the youth, tend to ignore the rule of delaying gratification which leads to instant purchasing behaviour and unnecessary spending. In addition, it’s extremely easy for the youth to take out loans, credit accounts and cards these days – making it easy for them to purchase items instantly instead of saving their money, which results in them owing majority of their pocket money and monthly income to creditors,” says Anton Keet, Trustee of the Truth About Money.
48% of the people who began the Truth About Money courses this year, wanted to know how to get out of debt. After completing the course, 67% found themselves understanding exactly how to get out of debt.
“Our statistics indicate that over 20 000 South Africans, mostly the youth, have gone through the Truth About Money financial literacy course – indicating a very real need, and desire, amongst our youth to get educated about how to effectively manage their money and how best to ensure a sound financial future – driven predominantly by the money and debt challenges we believe they are experiencing.”
These facts stress the need for society to realise that South Africa’s youth are generally ill informed about managing and planning their finances. They struggle to find ways to avoid bad debt and, sadly – like many adults, they aren’t equipped to plan for a better financial future. So are we doing enough to ensure that they learn healthy financial habits from a young age? Are we empowering them to become financially literate? And are they comfortable with and responsible for, effectively managing their own money?
With a strong move towards creating financial literacy opportunities for South African youth, by the government and the private sector, there is a marked improvement here. Despite this, we still have a long way to go in changing the lives of as many South Africans as possible.
Keet continues: “We believe that, through initiatives like Truth About Money, we are changing the lives of our youth by helping them better understand exactly how their money can work for them. It’s a great way to ensure that they are comfortable with their finances and feel equipped with the right knowledge and skill when it comes to money management. This will undoubtedly prepare them to be able to use their money effectively as adults, once they leave college.”
The youth are a vital focus-area for South Africa, as they are still in the beginning phase of learning financial independence. If educated successfully, they will be able to avoid the mistakes that will negatively impact them in the future.
“By starting with the youth, we can create a foundation for the positive change that South Africans have been waiting for. We all need to start somewhere, and so we are encouraging the youth to make it a priority to get educated around their finances and develop health financial behaviours. With our help, they can ensure a better financial future for tomorrow,” says Keet.
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Financial literacy given a community boost
An overwhelming majority of private company CEOs believe their company is likely to grow revenues over the next year, according to research among more than 840 private company CEOs as part of PwC’s 19th Annual Global CEO Survey.
This is only slightly lower than the public company average of 84%; with companies defining themselves as private partnerships even more confident at, at 86%.
The business environment has never been more complex or volatile but private companies are very optimistic about their prospects. According to the survey findings, 58% of private companies believe there are more new prospects for growth now than before. The strength of the private company sector has always been its ability to make decisions quickly, and move swiftly to seize opportunities.
Like their public company colleagues, private company CEOs see growth in this period coming primarily from the US (37%), China (31%) and Germany (19%). And despite the recent turmoil in the China market, private companies could retain many advantages compared to their public company colleagues.
For example, private company CEOs can take a longer perspective than businesses required to provide quarterly figures; and many of them have built their success on strength of personal relationships – still the way much business is done in China.
Looking more widely, only 28% of private company CEOs (27% of public ones) expect the global economy to improve in the next 12 months – down around 10 points on last year. And 66% of private company CEOs believe there are more threats to their company’s growth now than three years ago – up from 58% last year.
But it’s in addressing greater stakeholder expectations that the perceptions of trust, personal relationships and strong values play to the strengths of family-run companies in particular. It’s something of a paradox, but as the world becomes more global, consumers increasingly want a real relationship with the products or brands they buy – an emotional connection or confidence in its authenticity,” adds Brink.
Family and private businesses have a real advantage here, reflected in the CEO survey results:
58% of public company CEOs have concerns about public trust in business, falling to 53% of private companies, and 43% of family firms.
And private company CEOs are making changes in the way they develop new ‘ethical’ products and services in response to changing stakeholder expectations – 74% are doing this to some extent, with 27% making significant changes, which compares to 19% in publicly listed companies.
In addition – and in line with the CEO survey sample as a whole – 92% of private company CEOs are changing how they manage their brand, marketing and communications, and the same percentage are looking at how they define and manage risks. And 90% are making more use of technology to assess and deliver on wider stakeholder expectations.
Turning to skills – always high on the list of concerns of family businesses – this year’s Survey reveals that 73% of private company CEOs have concerns about the availability of key skills, broadly in line with the sample as a whole. But a third of private CEOs are ‘extremely’ concerned, compared to a quarter of their publicly listed peers – with this figure rising to 40% for owner-managed businesses.
And it’s the battle for top talent that may explain why 42% of CEOs of family-run businesses are looking to change the pay and incentives their company offers, compared to 35% of private companies in general, and 33% for the CEO Survey sample as a whole. Similarly, 33% of private companies are focusing on skills and adaptability in their people, compared to just 24% for publicly listed companies.
The results from this year’s CEO Survey have prompted three core capabilities that CEOs need to focus on to equip themselves for growth in complicated times, whether they run a private or a publicly listed business:
The first is about managing perceptions and addressing greater stakeholder expectations. CEOs accept that their customers and other stakeholders want them to do more to tackle important problems, from social to environmental. The key to success is to have a strong corporate purpose and values, which are reflected in how the company behaves, and meets what stakeholders want, both in terms of what it does, and how it makes its profits. Private companies are well placed to do this, and family firms have a particular advantage.
The second is about harnessing technology, innovation and people to develop and execute strategies that meet these greater expectations, while also delivering fundamental profitability. Technology and innovation can sometimes be a challenge for private companies, especially if they are struggling to find the capital to fund large-scale investment. But when it comes to digital, in particular, it’s now a case of adopt or die. As for talent, private companies need to focus on the advantages and attractions of their distinctive working culture and values, and ensure they are creating a workplace that appeals to millennials.
And finally, CEOs from all businesses need to think harder about how they measure and communicate success, and this covers both financial information and wider issues such as purpose and values, and contribution to society.
Andries Brink, PwC National Private Company Services Leader
Recent reports indicate that the public broadcaster suspended three journalists from duty because the employer appears to feel aggrieved by the journalists’ refusal to toe the line in respect of the broadcaster’s policy decision in respect of broadcasting public protests.
This follows the reported dismissal of eight journalists (and issuing of final written warning to 12 others) for chasing away a political youth leader who wanted to address the journalists at their workplace. This brings into question the rights of employers to issue commands and the duty of employees to obey and carry out such instructions.
Around four out of five dismissal disputes referred to the employment tribunal Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (“CCMA”) relates to dismissals for misconduct. A valid misconduct dismissal requires proof that the employee breached a valid or reasonable workplace rule or standard.
Inherent in the common law duties of the employee is the obligation to submit him or herself to the directions of the employer. The employee is subordinate to the employer and has to adhere to lawful instructions issued by the employer. Even under our (generous) common law, an employer may not issue unlawful instructions and expect the employee to blindly follow it. An employer may not instruct an employee to break the law, whether it is to commit murder, cook the books, assault a colleague or fail to adhere to a statutory obligation. In Maneche & others v CCMA & others  1 BLLR 52 (LC) the Labour Court confirmed that an instruction to employees to work overtime was unlawful where the employees had not agreed to work such overtime. Whilst such consent is normally captured in an employment contract or collective agreement, in the absence of prior agreement the employees have to consent as and when required. The court held that the instruction was not lawful as it contravened the protection offered to employees in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (that requires an employee to consent to working overtime).
Issuing instructions that are unlawful are thus clearly wrong and would offend public morals. But what about instructions that do not contravene legal duties or obligations, but may otherwise be unreasonable? When can an employee refuse to carry out an instruction because he or she feels it to be unreasonable? Will conflicting obligations owed to society or a industry body meet the test for refusing an order issued in contravention with such a duty?
Many professions are answerable to an industry body, code or greater societal oversight. Pilots are not only subject to the instructions of the airline employing them, but they also have to adhere to the prescripts of civil aviation legislation and regulations. Doctors and health professions have to act in accordance with the rules and guidelines of the Health Professions Council. Attorneys are bound by the Rules of the Law Society, advocates by the same issued by the Bar Council, teachers owe a duty of care to the learners they teach. In all instances the employees employed in such a position may be faced with a conflict where their employers may issue them with instructions that contrast with their obligations to society or an industry body. When, if ever, may an employee disregard an employer’s instruction and act in accordance with a wider responsibility owed?
The short answer is that employees should act with care and diligence in determining whether they may disregard or refuse an instruction issued by their employer. Employees who indicate that they are not willing to be bound by the rules or prescripts of their employer run the risk of dismissal. Many employers will swiftly terminate the service of an employee who blatantly refuses to follow orders. Allowing employees to select which instructions demand adherence is a shortcut to anarchy in the workplace. Courts are unlikely to have sympathy for employees who give the employer the two-finger salute, unless the employees can convince the court that the instruction was so unreasonable that no reasonable person in their position should have been expected to act differently. The steps taken by employees prior to (or short of) refusing to carry out the instruction may also be telling in determining the rationality of their decision. Where possible, it is always better to engage the employer in discussion in explaining why the rule will impugn the employees’ or industry’s standard of reasonableness. Appeals to higher levels of management, filing grievances and declaring disputes at the employment tribunal whilst doing the work under duress is almost always likely to offer the employees better protection in subsequent legal proceedings. Refusal to implement an unreasonable instruction should be a last-resort measure for employees at their wits end or who are confronted with morally repugnant choices.
Journalists have a duty to report news and events accurately and fairly. In terms of the code of conduct of the Broadcasting Complaints Commission, employers (broadcasters) have to ensure that their employees understand the importance and significance of the code. The same code obliges licensees (the broadcaster) to “…report news truthfully, accurately and fairly.” It further provides that “[n]ews must be presented in the correct context and in a fair manner, without intentional or negligent departure from the facts, whether by distortion, exaggeration or misrepresentation, material omissions; or summarisation.”
It may be that a court would be willing to accept that an instruction issued by a broadcaster that will prevent a journalist from doing so is unreasonable. The constitutional rights to freedom of opinion and expression may come into play when a tribunal or court has to consider the reasonable of an instruction or workplace rule. The importance of the role played by journalists in an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom may also convince an arbitrator or judge that the employees acted within the interests of society in disobeying the instruction.
Employees in the horns of a such a dilemma may consider the protection offered in terms of the Protected Disclosures Act (“PDA”)should they suspect that there is unlawful or wrongful conduct in the workplace. The PDA protects employees from occupational detriment where they act in good faith to report wrongdoing and then suffer as a result. Whilst it does not protect disclosures made for an ulterior motive, reporting wrongdoing that falls within the scope of the PDA could provide an additional level of protection against employees in vulnerable positions. Dismissing employees who made protected disclosures will probably be an even more sensational news story, but employees should ensure they can rely on this protection before making decisions that could impact negatively on their employment.
Johan Botes partner and head of the Employment Practice Group at global law firm Baker & Mckenzie
Absa will afford 100 students from Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges (formerly known as FET Colleges) in the south of Gauteng, the opportunity to create a critical foundation for their careers through practical experience and observations in the world of work for a full week.
Until 05 July 2016 the programme will provide students with an understanding of the nature of the banking workplace in their chosen field of study.
The initiative has been running within various parts of Absa’s Gauteng South business since 2014. This year for the first time since its launch, TVET students will get exposure to all Retail and Business Banking business units including: branches, private and business banking suites.
Absa will see the greatest number of learners participating in the programme since its launch, and will also increase the five-day programme to seven days by incorporating its ‘ReadytoWork’ curriculum. ‘ReadytoWork’ is an initiative aimed at helping young people build the skills they need to make the critical transition from education into the world of work.
Education and skills are part of our commitment to Absa’s Shared Growth vision as it gives the youth the opportunity to enhance their employability prospects. We are proud to play a vital role in the foundation which will give the youth a successful future.
Banie Claasen, Gauteng South Managing Executive at Absa
In the first half of 2016, there have been a number of large Chinese M&A transactions in Germany. With the possible acquisition of the German manufacturer Kuka by the Chinese investor Midea, there are fears among German politicians and businessmen of the growing influence of China.
M&A activity over the first half of 2016 indicates that 2016 will be a record year for Chinese M&A activity in Germany. To June, the number of transactions increased to 30 and the average transaction value is already more than 3.4 billion euros. Two big deals have supported this increase: EEW Energy (Energy and Environmental sector) at more than 1.4 billion euros and KraussMaffei (Industrial) at 0.9 billion euros. The possible Kuka-deal would increase the 2016 sector transaction value significantly.
In addition to the United Kingdom, Germany has been the main destination of Chinese M&A transactions in Europe. In absolute numbers, total M&A Chinese transactions have ranged between 18 and 36 per year over the last five years. The average transaction volume reached a high of almost 2 billion euros in 2012 and was lower at about 1.2 billion euros last year. Chinese M+A value is expected to amount to around 4.5 billion euros this year.
Most M&A transactions in Germany are still done by US companies with a share of about 25% of total transactions, followed by the United Kingdom, Switzerland and France (each with more than a 10% share). China’s share is 6th, significantly below 10%.
Kuka is seen as one of the German flagship companies in the digital evolution “industry 4.0”, essential for the German key industries. One fear is about the possible takeover of technological know-how by Chinese companies which would significantly improve their non-price competitiveness in global markets.
The international auditing firm PWC analysed the motivation of Chinese companies investing in Germany and found that 62 percent of them see market entrance as the key reason for the acquisition closely followed by gaining technology and expertise (58 percent).
China’s economy is slowing, prompting more local firms to earn yields abroad. Besides, it is easier for Chinese companies to invest abroad because China’s capital account is now relatively more open. Other incentives were Branding (36 percent) and Diversification (17 percent). Direct support by the Chinese government for M&A’s only accounts for 5 percent of Chinese companies doing transactions.
1) One of the most important M&A triggers is to acquire technology and expertise which could harm the competitiveness of other European or German companies in their respective sectors.
2) According to PWC data, only 10 percent of M&A transactions were with listed companies. 27 percent of transactions accounted for family-owned companies
and 27 percent on carve-outs. Chinese M&A transactions even helped to stabilise the German company sector, since 19 percent of the transactions accounted for companies in insolvency proceedings. Therefore, fears and risks seen by increasing Chinese M&A activity seem to be exaggerated.
3) A key risk factor for German and also European companies are the barriers for investments into China. The playing field is not level for foreign companies that wish to invest in China. According to the latest survey of the German Chamber of Commerce (DIHK), China has lost attractiveness as an investment destination.
Besides a slowing down in growth, companies are complaining about China’s increasing protectionism, bureaucratic and legal barriers and currency risks. According to DIHK’s survey, China’s share in foreign investment in German companies will decrease to 37 percent from 45 percent last year. And despite a small improvement, market access barriers and investment restrictions remain one of the top five challenges of European companies engaged in China according to a recent poll of the European Chamber of Commerce in China.
Mokaedi Dilotsotlhe has been appointed as Santam’s new executive head of brand. Mokaedi brings to the position a wealth of experience in strategy, marketing, and distribution gained within the financial services, petroleum and FMCG sectors.
He previously held the position of Chief Marketing Officer at Old Mutual Emerging Markets. Prior to that he was General Manager for Alternative Distribution at Old Mutual and was previously also General Manager for Strategy and Marketing at Mutual & Federal.
Mokaedi holds a B.Com Honours Degree from Wits University and an MBA from the Thames Valley University in the United Kingdom.
KPMG has launched its annual Global CEO Outlook which this time around included a South African viewpoint. The report reveals that the next three years will be a time of unprecedented change and significance for businesses around the world, but growth will be moderate. Global CEOs of the largest corporations are prepared to handle this period with realistic expectations and a healthy dose of confidence.
Indeed, whether the tide rises or falls in the economy, they are increasingly optimistic that they can transform their organisation for what the future holds. That confidence is apparent in their hiring plans and projected top-line growth over the three year horizon.
However, CEOs in South Africa shared their level of concern around a variety of challenges. For example, 64 percent of the CEOs said that they are concerned about the loyalty of their customers while 62 percent see increased use of data and analytics as a way to drive process costs and efficiencies.
KPMG CEO in Southern Africa, Trevor Hoole, says: “CEOs operating in South Africa are well aware of their many challenges and they are reasonably bullish about the future of the country. Although they are confident that their industry and companies will grow over the next year, their growth expectations are modest. That said, they are grappling with a multitude of issues simultaneously. Globally many CEOs feel that they are not disrupting their industry’s business models enough.”
Top concerns for CEOs
The CEO Outlook further revealed how CEOs’ view of growth potential in the world has shifted since the 2015 survey. Brazil, India and China are seen by these top executives in South Africa as the most attractive foreign markets. While still among the leading markets, the US and China decreased since last year. Western Europe has also seen a significant decline in its attractiveness as a foreign market. The CEO Outlook also confirmed that 60 percent of CEOs are concerned about how Millennials and their differing wants and needs will change their business.
“The growing Millennial generation needs to be empowered and mentored to assume leadership positions because they have the potential to lead in a world of rapidly expanding technology and social change. Corporate South Africa needs leaders who are capable of leading a global, diverse and virtual workforce,” concludes Hoole.
To view additional information about the study, please visit kpmg.com/za/ceooutlook. You can also follow the conversation @KPMG_SA on Twitter using #CEOoutlook.