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The potential downgrading of South Africa’s economy

Without a doubt, a lot is said about the possible down grading of South Africa by the three most powerful and influential credit rating agencies in the world, Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s.

These agencies assign credit ratings, which rate a debtor’s ability to repay debt by making timely interest payments and their likelihood of default. An agency may rate the creditworthiness of issuers of debt obligations, debt instruments, and in some cases, the servicers of the underlying debt.

The consequences of these agencies ratings are thought to possibly be responsible for the potential financial destruction of businesses, industries and even countries. Be that as it may, it does not bode well for South Africa should this happen. Friday, June 3rd, South Africa avoided a downgrade by S&P, but sentiment remains low and a possible downgrade may be inevitable.

The current unrest in the political sector

Another flag closer to home is South Africa’s political situation. It is perceived to be unstable and full of negative sentiment. Our President is continually having to stave off attacks on his character, management style and his decision making skills. Opposition  parties are having a field day in capitalising on these very uncomfortable times; which does not add to any sense of comfort that one should have for this wonderful country we live in.

There are a number of International “flags” one can talk about e.g. Global warming, the election campaigns in the U.S.A., (and many other issues) but that is not the purpose of this message.

My message is one of hope and celebration.

I recently had very refreshing conversations with a number of young people in our society from all denominations, creed and colour. The message they carry was very different to my own. Where I focussed on all the burning platforms and the changes that are bound to impact us, theirs were future based and very aspirational.

It was wonderful how they could relate to all the issues but still had this wonderful vision of Hope and of Prosperity. It changed my views of South Africa and also had a huge impact on the message that I relay to others.

A few years ago I was fortunate to listen and watch some of the work of Dewitt Jones, a photographer for National Geographic. He compiled a programme that was intent on ‘Celebrating What’s Right with the World”. If we look close enough and long enough, we will also see the good things in this world of ours. This changes one’s mind set and thinking, but you have to be on the look-out for the special moments, recognise them and then celebrate them.

I would like to tell you a nice story, a little something to celebrate.

Succession, our success story.

It is about our business called Succession. A fledgling business intent on creating a successful distribution network throughout South Africa.

This business has been created because of a number concerns and trends we observed in our industry:

  • The average age of the financial planner we deal with is over the age of 50 and we would like to address the Succession of these planners to ensure continuity in their life planning.
  • The trends abroad and locally are that financial planners join bigger networks; as the costs of running independent licenced practises have become somewhat expensive. South African companies have been very active in building similar networks.
  • Furthermore the uncertainty around the newly proposed Retail Distribution Review implementation and other regulations governing the conduct of financial planners, have become a catalyst for financial planners moving to bigger institutions and benefitting from the shared resources available to the financial planners, like ours.

Our Vision is:

To be the largest World Class Professional Planner Organisation in South Africa that focusses on holistic financial planning for clients and creating lasting partnerships with all stakeholders.

But how would we accomplish this?

  • By having an intimate understanding of our client’s financial needs.
  • By providing clients with a choice of solutions across Life, Short term, Investment, medical aid and Employee benefit products.
  • To have a retail focus on mass-middle and affluent markets.
  • To have multiple World class Intermediary practice models.
  • With ethics and expertise underpinned by a continuous learning culture.
  • With a core competency of growing and developing sustainable planner practices.
  • Providing practical compliance solutions that offer peace of mind for planners and clients.
  • By having the strength of a big company combined with the agility of a small one.
  • Through creating an environment where people of Succession are inspired to be the best they can be, creating a performance culture of commitment and dedication.

Our Culture, the way we behave:

  • We believe in the Independent and Intermediated market space, its continued future and enabling the Intermediary of tomorrow. The Succession story.
  • To nurture a sense of belonging.
  • That our people contribute to the views and aspirations of Succession.
  • A culture that encourages continuous introspection and constructive feedback.
  • We embrace growth, learning, development, innovation and change.

Succession is an exciting business growing at an exponential but expected rate. Our focus remains on dispensing proper financial advice with suitable solutions to clients with able financial planners described in our vision statement and underpinned by our unique culture and values.

Thank you for being a part of this journey with us.

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Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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