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Blue bank’s graduate programme propels young economist up the ladder

Blue bank’s graduate programme propels young economist up the ladder

Naufiku Hamunime, became Standard Bank Namiba’s Economist, after starting off her career at the Bank through its graduate programme two years ago.

She is part of the young people who joined the bank through various developmental programmes, such as the Standard Bank Graduate programme, through which the Bank employs young graduates who rotate through the Bank’s various departments learning new skills.

She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics obtained from Rhodes University, a Bachelor of Science Honours Degree in Geography also from Rhodes University and a Master of Science Degree in African Development from the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Hamunime’s commendable work within the short period of time she has been in the Bank has put her on the map as one of the young stars to look out for. She is one of the youngest black female economists locally.

However, becoming an Economist was not something she sought out when she began her tertiary education studies, but it happened serendipitously as all the subjects she studied merged together perfectly like pieces of the same puzzle.

“I didn’t always have a clear idea of what I wanted to do professionally or even what I wanted my career path to look like. I’ve always been one to follow my passions and my academic career was no exception. I focused on Namibia, the Namibian economy and how it can be better. I enjoy being an Economist because it allows me to think through the problems/challenges we face in the country and how we can address them,” she said this week.

Hamunime pointed out that studying the different courses she did at university has given her a holistic view she wouldn’t have otherwise had if she had just focused on one course.

“Most people don’t view banks as institutions which have a good purpose but Standard Bank’s vision of driving Namibia’s growth is a great one that aligns with my personal vision and goals,” she said.

She currently also serves as a board member for the Economic Association of Namibia, which she says has been a great experience for her as she gets to meet and interact with other people in her field from different organisations who are all passionate Namibia’s economy and making a positive contribution to it. “It is important that we as young people remember that we have valuable contributions to make, you may not know as much as the next person but your contribution is still valid and still valuable,” she encouraged.

A lot of women face challenges when trying to breakthrough in a male dominated industry, however this has not been a problem for Hamunime who takes it all in a stride.

“What I enjoy is that Standard Bank values in empowering young people by prioritising and fostering a culture of support and trust. Our leaders are trailblazers who did great things when they were younger and they believe that we too can do the same. It is therefore important to be confident and believe in yourself regardless of the obstacles that young women may face in the workplace,” she explained.

She said she also hoped to see more young people stepping-up in the corporate environment because they can make great contributions. She stressed that they can also use the private sector as a force for positive change.

“Something that drives me is knowing that I want to enable other young black women to come after me and know that they can succeed and make valuable contributions too. I want for things to be easier for them because we proved that we are capable, the same way our predecessors did for us. I look up to the women who came before me because I realise that they made it easier for me as well,” she said of her drive to excel as an Economist.

She urged young girls who have dreams of becoming Economists not to listen to naysayers but go for it, stating that what other people say about them is not important but what matters is the confidence they have in their ability and their drive to succeed. Hamunime said she would use the same drive to contribute to the economic development of the country, especially by aiding in creating public policy that would ensure that all Namibians prosper economically.

“I am passionate about Namibia; I am passionate about seeing Namibia reach its full potential. So many sacrifices were made for us, but we cannot rest and think that all the work is done. Our forefathers job was that of fighting for our liberation and ours now is that of creating prosperity for all. We all need to live decent lives that we can all be proud of,” she concluded.

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Sanlam 2018 Annual Results

7 March 2019

 

Sanlam’s 2018 annual results provides testimony to its resilience amid challenging operating conditions and negative investment markets

Sanlam today announced its operational results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018. The Group made significant progress in strategic execution during 2018. This included the acquisition of the remaining 53% stake in SAHAM Finances, the largest transaction concluded in the Group’s 100-year history, and the approval by Sanlam shareholders of a package of Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) transactions that will position the Group well for accelerated growth in its South African home market.

Operational results for 2018 included 14% growth in the value of new life insurance business (VNB) on a consistent economic basis and more than R2 billion in positive experience variances, testimony to Sanlam’s resilience in difficult times.

The Group relies on its federal operating model and diversified profile in dealing with the challenging operating environment, negative investment markets and volatile currencies. Management continues to focus on growing existing operations and extracting value from recent corporate transactions to drive enhanced future growth.

The negative investment market returns and higher interest rates in a number of markets where the Group operates had a negative impact on growth in operating earnings and some other key performance indicators. This was aggravated by weak economic growth in South Africa and Namibia and internal currency devaluations in Angola, Nigeria and Zimbabwe.

Substantial growth in Santam’s operating earnings (net result from financial services) and satisfactory growth by Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) and Sanlam Corporate offset softer contributions from Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) and Sanlam Investment Group (SIG).

Key features of the 2018 annual results include:

Net result from financial services increased by 4% compared to the same period in 2017;

Net value of new covered business up 8% to R2 billion (up 14% on a consistent economic basis);

Net fund inflows of R42 billion compared to R37 billion in 2017;

Adjusted Return on Group Equity Value per share of 19.4% exceeded the target of 13.0%; and

Dividend per share of 312 cents, up 8%.

Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ian Kirk said: “We are satisfied with our performance in a challenging operating environment. We will continue to focus on managing operations prudently and diligently executing on our strategy to deliver sustainable value to all our stakeholders. The integration of SAHAM Finances is progressing well. In addition, Sanlam shareholders approved the package of B-BBEE transactions, including an equity raising, at the extraordinary general meeting held on 12 December 2018. Our plan to implement these transactions this year remains on track.”

Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF) net result from financial services declined by 5%, largely due to the impact of new growth initiatives and dampened market conditions. Excluding the new initiatives, SPF’s contribution was 1% down on 2017 due to the major impact that the weak equity market performance in South Africa had on fund-based fee income.

SPF’s new business sales increased by 4%, an overall satisfactory result under challenging conditions. Sanlam Sky’s new business increased by an exceptional 71%. Strong growth of 13% in the traditional individual life channel was augmented by the Capitec Bank credit life new business recognised in the first half of 2018, and strong demand for the new Capitec Bank funeral product. The Recurring premium and Strategic Business Development business units also achieved strong growth of 20%, supported by the acquisition of BrightRock in 2017. Glacier new business grew marginally by 1%. Primary sales onto the Linked Investment Service Provider (LISP) platform improved by 5%, an acceptable result given the pressure on investor confidence in the mass affluent market. This was however, offset by lower sales of wrap funds and traditional life products.

The strong growth in new business volumes at Sanlam Sky had a major positive effect on SPF’s VNB growth, which increased by 7% (14% on a comparable basis).

Sanlam Emerging Markets (SEM) grew its net result from financial services by 14%. Excluding the impact of corporate activity, earnings were marginally up on 2017 (up 8% excluding the increased new business strain).

New business volumes at SEM increased by 20%. Namibia performed well, increasing new business volumes by 22% despite weak economic conditions. Both life and investment new business grew strongly. Botswana underperformed with the main detractor from new business growth being the investment line of business, which declined by 24%. This line of business is historically more volatile in nature.

The new business growth in the Rest of Africa portfolio was 68% largely due to corporate activity relating to SAHAM Finances, with the East Africa portfolio underperforming.

The Indian insurance businesses continued to perform well, achieving double-digit growth in both life and general insurance in local currency. The Malaysian businesses are finding some traction after a period of underperformance, increasing their overall new business contribution by 3%. New business production is not yet meeting expectations, but the mix of business improved at both businesses.

SEM’s VNB declined by 3% (up 6% on a consistent economic basis and excluding corporate activity). The relatively low growth on a comparable basis is largely attributable to the new business underperformance in East Africa.

Sanlam Investment Group’s (SIG) overall net result from financial services declined by 6%, attributable to lower performance fees at the third party asset manager in South Africa, administration costs incurred for system upgrades in the wealth management business and lower earnings from equity-backed financing transactions at Sanlam Specialised Finance. The other businesses did well to grow earnings, despite the pressure on funds under management due to lower investment markets.

New business volumes declined by 13% mainly due to market volatility and low investor confidence in South Africa. Institutional new inflows remained weak for the full year, while retail inflows also slowed down significantly after a more positive start to the year. The international businesses, UK, attracted strong new inflows (up 57%).

Sanlam Corporate’s net result from financial services increased by 4%, with the muted growth caused by a continuation of high group risk claims experience. Mortality and disability claims experience weakened further in the second half of the year, which is likely to require more rerating of premiums in 2019. The administration units turned profitable in 2018, a major achievement. The healthcare businesses reported satisfactory double-digit growth in earnings, while the Absa Consultants and Actuaries business made a pleasing contribution of R39 million.

New business volumes in life insurance more than doubled, reflecting an exceptional performance. Single premiums grew by 109%, while recurring premiums increased by a particularly satisfactory 56%.

The good growth in recurring and single premium business, combined with modelling improvements, supported a 64% (71% on a comparable economic basis) increase in the cluster’s VNB contribution.

Following a year of major catastrophe events in 2017, Santam experienced a relatively benign claims environment in 2018. Combined with acceptable growth in net earned premiums, it contributed to a 37% increase in gross result from financial services (41% after tax and non-controlling interest). The conventional insurance book achieved an underwriting margin of 9% in 2018 (6% in 2017).

As at 31 December 2018, discretionary capital amounted to a negative R3.7 billion before allowance for the planned B-BBEE share issuance. A number of capital management actions during 2018 affected the balance of available discretionary capital, including the US$1 billion (R13 billion) SAHAM Finances transaction. Cash proceeds from the B-BBEE share issuance will restore the discretionary capital portfolio to between R1 billion and R1.5 billion depending on the final issue price within the R74 to R86 price range approved by shareholders.

Looking forward, the Group said economic growth in South Africa would likely remain weak in the short to medium term future, and would continue to impact efforts to accelerate organic growth. The outlook for economic growth in other regions where the Group operates is more promising. Recent acquisitions such as the SAHAM transaction should also support operational performance going forward.

“We remain focused on executing our strategy. We are confident that we have the calibre of management and staff to prudently navigate the anticipated challenges going forward,” Mr Kirk concluded.

Details of the results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2018 are available at www.sanlam.com.