South African life departments and asset managers recorded improvements in black ownership levels in 2020, and both exceeded the Broad Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) targets set under the amended Financial Sector Code.

This follows the first-ever transformation report published by the Savings and Investments Association of South Africa (Asisa), entitled Asisa’s Journey to Transform the Savings and Investments Industry in South Africa (2018-2020).

“Since 2018, both life offices and asset managers have seen steady growth in reverse ownership, with life offices collectively exceeding their target of 23 points by 2.37 points in 2020 and asset managers exceeding their target of 25 points points for one point,” Asisa said. Outgoing CEO Leon Kaempfer said in a statement.

Asisa has around R8 trillion in assets under management through its members, some of which are Discovery, Allan Gray, Ninety One SA, Momentum Metropolitan, Sanlam and Absa Financial Services.

Member life offices and asset managers also achieved transformational goals in the procurement, enterprise and supplier development (ESD) and socio-economic development and consumer education categories.

“Both Life offices and asset managers exceeded their procurement targets in 2020. Cumulative procurement spend with suppliers with valid B-BBEE certificates in 2020 was R52 billion, which is very significant,” says Kaempfer.

“It is heartening that 22 billion rand of this spending went to majority black-owned businesses.”

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Room for improvement

Despite​​​​​​​​​​some​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​at a period of time.

Life offices failed to meet the target in the access to financial services category (2.24 points short of 12 points). Asset managers do not have set targets for this category or the empowerment funding category.

Life offices fell 2.78 points to meet the eight-point target set for managerial control, while asset managers fell 6.67 points. In the skills development category, life offices missed the target of 20 points by 5.32 points and asset managers by 4.16 points.

“While it’s good to see that we’re on a good path, we also have to admit that we’re not quite there yet,” says Kaempfer.

“Therefore, it is vital that our industry continues to play its role in helping our country accelerate the pace of change.”

Incoming Asisa CEO Busisa Jia says the association will continue to monitor transformation in the industry, adding that it is already in the process of collecting transformation data for the 2021 period.

“As an industry, we are acutely aware that we do not operate in a vacuum and that the sustainability of the savings and investment industry is affected by the well-being of the country and its people,” he says.

“Therefore, Asisa’s mission is to promote a culture of savings and investment in South Africa, contributing to economic transformation and integration.”

Read: Making progress in transforming the economy

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