In this newsletter:
Benchtest 12.2012, two staff members earn CFP qualifications, the new FIA Act and more...

Dear reader

A bright note to begin the year

We trust you had peaceful and relaxing festive season  and have started the new year with lots of fresh energy and drive to make a great success of 2013!

In this newsletter we are pleased to announce that two more staff members obtained the CFP® qualification. Training for all staff members is one of the core objectives of our service strategy, and it is an ongoing activity, as many of our callers will know. The addition of two more holders of the CFP® qualification will add substantially to our confidence in the level of skills and quality of planning that we are able to bring to the table.

In this newsletter, we provide an overview of the 2012 Financial Intelligence Act that contains a few surprises and offer links to a few interesting articles that appeared in the media recently.

As always, your comment is welcome, so open a new mail and drop us a note!


Tilman Friedrich

Tilman Friedrich's Industry Forum

Benchtest Monthly 12.2012

In December our average prudential balanced portfolio returned 1.24% (November 1.8%). Top performer is Metropolitan (2.57%), Investec (- 0.6%) takes bottom spot.

After the down grading of South Africa’s debt rating by international rating agencies, the Rand weakness continued, it briefly breaching the R 9 to the US$ hurdle. This should dampen the enthusiasm of short-term foreign investors as will the continuing negative inflation differential between SA and its major trading partners and the fact that SA Reserve Bank kept the Repo rate unchanged. Foreign investment flows, particularly the more speculative flows, are likely to subside which should impact negatively on our local equity and bond markets.

A weaker Rand obviously benefits local exporters and local manufacturers and will make them more competitive against imports. Imports, including fuel, will become more expensive and this should filter through to raised inflation levels and to higher interest rates eventually.

For further analyses and our views download Benchtest 2012-12, here...

RFS company news

RFS places a lot of emphasis on staff advancing their skills and knowledge in our industry specifically, in order to serve our clients better. We are proud to announce that two of our staff, Sabine Halberstadt and Zaskia Ochs, passed the Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning and have thereby earned the internationally recognised CFP® designation. This achievement is only possible through dedication and commitment, traits on which we place a high premium and we congratulate our two staff members heartily! Our array of experts with this designation has thereby grown to 3 and we trust that this will benefit our clients in the years to come.

Compliment from a CEO of a Namibian NGO

"I have been very happy with RFS throughout my involvement with the Fund (from its early days) and with the service provided. For these reasons I have strongly promoted and advertised RFS by word of mouth, and am delighted to see how it has grown over the years. From my experience this growth is richly deserved." (Dated 4 January 2013.)

News from Namfisa

In our previous newsletter we reported on the surprise due date for the unaudited annual return, of 15 February, and a circular regarding section 14 transfers, as the latest from Namfisa. Since then it has been quiet on that front – can one say no news is good news? But watch this space…

In the meantime we are working hard at collecting the information required for the unaudited annual return to the point fund records have been updated at our cut-off date, and will do our level best to submit the income statement and balance sheet information, and collate and submit information on fund investments that is to be provided to us by funds’ investment managers. It is to be noted that in most cases funds’ records will not have been updated with December 2012 contributions yet.

News from the market

The new Financial Intelligence Act

As reported in our previous newsletter, a new FIA Act, Act 13 of 2012 was promulgated on 21 December and replaced the 2007 FIA Act. Pension funds are not on the list of ‘accountable institutions’ that are subject to stringent client identification, record keeping and other requirements. The new Act contains quite a few surprises that may be of general interest.
For an overview of this Act and some of the main changes to the previous Act follow this link...

Interesting media snippets

Happiness at work – how leaders create abundant organisations

There are huge benefits to be derived from happy employees. It is therefore vital for a leader to understand how to make sure employees enjoy their work so much that it almost seems effortless. Benefits include increased productivity, reduced absenteeism, increased collaboration and increased innovation and lead to increased sales, something vitally important in our tough economic climate. Read more here...

The risk of risk profiling
by Johan Gouws, head of ABSA Multi Management in Cover Magazine

Risk profiling tools used by financial advisers to develop the risk strategies of thousands of clients might be more a hindrance than a help in building long-term wealth. Download the article in PDF format here...

Does a trust protect assets at divorce?

Divorces are more often than not acrimonious in nature, fraught with emotion and an asset as insignificant as the silver cutlery that was gifted to the couple by a distant relative whose name is long forgotten becomes an issue of contention. It is therefore not surprising that one of the parties looks to a Trust as a vehicle in which to ‘protect’ his share of the assets at such a time. The question is whether the transfer of the assets to a trust will achieve the desired purpose. Read more here...

Quasi courts and the insurance industry

In recent years, South Africa has witnessed the creation of a whole host of institutions which can be called ‘quasi-courts’. These have largely displaced the judiciary. These institutions appear, multiply and grow. These institutions have become, what I have called, unitary states within states. They do not operate within the framework of the separation of powers or any of the well-established constitutional procedures or principles. They do not operate in terms of the law and hence the rule of law. The law per se plays little if any part in the way they operate – they are a law unto themselves; examples of these institutions are the growing host of ombudsmen, adjudicators, various tribunals, such as the competition tribunal, and so on. Read more here...

Will our legislator be more prudent and learn from the South African experience?

And finally...

“The quickest way to double your money is to fold it and put it back into your pocket.”

This relevant wisdom is ascribed to  Will Rogers, one of the greatest political sages America has ever known.

tilman-friedrichTilman Friedrich is a qualified chartered accountant and a Namibian Certified Financial Planner ® practitioner, specialising in the pensions field. He is a member of the legal and technical committee of RFIN. Tilman is co-founder, shareholder and managing director of RFS, retired chairperson, now trustee, of the Benchmark Retirement Fund.


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