Welcome to Matters of Mind (MM)

April 2024, First Edition

Thinking is all about the ability to look at complex situations and strip away things that don’t count—the ability to filter out situations and find what’s at their core.

— Paraphrasing Douglas Hofstadter, American cognitive and computer scientist

This week we have several articles which attempt to get to the core of a situation, be it global economic power struggles, climate change or leadership in insurance.  There is a lot of industry news underscoring how important it is to acknowledge clients’ circumstances before advising them and assisting with combating fraud at a transactional level.

Please read the article from The Actuary magazine (UK) on pensions’ actuaries of the future. Note that through collaboration and the advancement of AI and technology the financial services and medical industries are refining taxonomies or tools for everyone’s use and benefit. Additionally, where reports are cited, links are provided for those who want to be better informed.

Don’t forget the About YOU section which has an open invitation for you to access online, guided mindfulness practices in several official languages.

Share and enjoy!

MM Editorial Team

Economic matters

Two upcoming elections are likely to tip the balance of power between China, India and the US

Economist Chee Meng Tan explains what electoral victories for the two (Mr Modi and Mr Trump) could mean for the global economy and how they might affect the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific region.

4min read

Financial Services Industry

Tax collection in 2023/24 comes in at R10bn more than expected

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) achieved unexpected milestones in tax collection in the fiscal year that ended on 31 March, surpassing initial estimates while cracking down on fraud and non-compliance.

A positive 4min read with figures to show movement between the latest two fiscal years.

FSP top ups maturity value after Ombud finds investor was not properly advised

An FSP agreed to top up, by some R100 000, the maturity value an investor received from an investment plan after the FAIS Ombud (Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Ombud) found that the client had not been properly advised.

Be cautioned about the importance of advising clients prudently, taking their circumstances into account. This article is good material for an N211 question. 4min read

SA takes steps to tackle money laundering, terror funding

Short article indicating the serious intent to address these issues. 1.5min read

FSCA report: Opposing views on unclaimed financial asset proposals

A dive into the intricate discussions shaping financial governance as stakeholders wrestle with how to include unclaimed assets in regulatory frameworks.

Informative 8min read.

Diversity and Inclusion

In the April editions we will focus on diversity in leadership in the industry.  

Nine leadership questions for Besa Ruele, CEO, Hollard Life Solutions

4min read

Nine leadership questions for Kalim Rajab, MD, New National Assurance Company

4min read

Life Insurance

Tailoring Financial Needs Analysis For Client Success

As a financial adviser, your role in filtering your clients’ financial needs is critical, and it’s your expert guidance that will help them balance their affordability constraints against their risk needs.

Another article emphasising how important it is to take your client’s needs into account when advising. 3min read

General Insurance

Enhancing Value and Protection: Rise of the Inception Value Policy (IVP)

Rooted in the growing domain of specialist insurance, the IVP emerges as an essential tool in safeguarding assets and mitigating risks across various sectors.

3min read

Takeaways From the Swiss Women’s Climate Victory

…success in climate cases can often depend on factors including jurisdiction or the claimants’ ability to establish themselves as suffering specific harms caused by the effects of climate change.

As reported by Reuters and re-published by InsuranceJournal.com. 2min read

Viewpoint: Striking Risk-Reward Balance for Shipping Lithium-Ion Batteries

Executive Summary: While the advancement of technology in electric vehicles and other lithium-ion powered goods facilitates energy transition from fossil fuels, the fire risks associated with such products need proactive management, writes Dr. William Moore, global loss prevention director, The American Club.

A very interesting read which will make you think of the actuarial control cycle. Can you describe the ecosystem of insuring lithium -ion batteries? 5min read

Health Insurance

One-year reprieve for low-cost health insurers

A small group of insurers, who have partnered with the likes of KaeloMomentum and Discovery, were granted exemptions to the Act in line with the demarcation regulations introduced in 2017. These draw a clear distinction between medical schemes and insurance products, which are overseen by different regulators and subject to different rules.

Informative content. 2min read

Primary health insurance policies can be sold for another year

This article gives more information on the background to the LCBOs. 3min read

Cancer diagnoses among younger people rising

Worldwide, cancer diagnoses are growing more common among people under 50, and it’s been estimated that by 2030, the number of these early-onset cancer diagnoses could increase by roughly 30% – and the number of those who die from their conditions could rise by about 20%.

Important trends to note in healthcare. 4min read

Less invasive, new approach to diagnose heart disease – Irish study

A clinical trial that saw high resolution scanning technology used to identify heart disease has been welcomed as a potential game-changer for cardiac treatment, being safe, minimally invasive and highly accurate.

Technology once again serving patients better and this time more cheaply too. 2.5min read


Stokvels remain the untapped ‘human banks’ of South Africa

A new online and video-based study by market research specialist Ipsos has revealed that South Africa’s R50-Billion Stokvel sector made up of more than 800 000 Stokvel groups and 11-million members* is a vast network of dynamic ‘human banks’ in the South African economy. This stems from the finding that despite the development of banking products aimed at these savings societies, cash remains the preferred mode of operation for most stokvels.

There is much more that the research unpacks, toppling traditional views of Stokvels.

*Figure of 11 million members is taken from the National Stokvel Association of South Africa. 3.5min read

Interoperability issues pose setback to SA’s open banking

This is one of the key findings of the Modernised Payments in South Africa report published by cloud payments technology company Electrum. The report provides insights into the dynamic payment landscape of SA, highlighting challenges and opportunities.

3min read.  You can access the research report Modernised Payments in South Africa, Meeting the Goals of Vision 2025, here.

Banking website cloning scams on the rise in SA

This emerged during a recent webinar hosted by the Financial Planning Institute of Southern Africa, in collaboration with the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA).

3min read

Central Bankers Use AI to Assess Climate-Related Risks

Central bankers said on Tuesday they have broken new ground by using artificial intelligence to collect data for assessing climate-related financial risks, just as the volume of disclosures from banks and other companies is set to rise.

The group is considering making the Gaia tool publicly available as an open web-based service for analysts. 3min read


MAS Launches World’s First Multi-Sector Transition Taxonomy

The ongoing discourse on ESG and sustainability emphasizes the need to combat ‘greenwashing’ and clarify vague definitions. There’s renewed focus on socially just transitions, particularly in shifting from ‘brown’ to ‘green’ initiatives. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced a Singapore-Asia Taxonomy for Sustainable Finance, encouraging investments in projects with credible transition strategies, regardless of their current ‘green’ classification, following the EU’s 2020 taxonomy.

This brief will provide you with greater insight as to how transitions towards reduction in emissions can be measured. It is interesting to note responses from major companies on this new taxonomy. 10 min read.

Life after cash – what to do as interest rates start to fall

Schroders’ specialists discuss how different asset classes might perform once interest rates begin to fall – and highlight the risks of remaining on the sidelines in cash.

The article provides a glossary of key terms for the uninitiated. 4min read

PIC claims it now has good governance

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the state-owned asset manager, has no plan to source financial support from the government. This is according to its corporate plan for 2023 to 2027, which it delivered to Parliament this week.

3min read

Retirement / Pensions

Can your living annuity go the distance?

This article gives an historical perspective on the popularity of living annuities and for current times proposes combining it with a life annuity to cover the best features of both. This gives us the blended annuity. 3min read

An eye to the future: what will become of the DB pension actuary?

Let’s imagine life in 2040. Has artificial intelligence rendered accountants and taxi drivers obsolete? Is there a permanent base on the moon? Are suits and ties only found in dressing up boxes? Has global warming reached 1.5°C? Is the Olympic Games taking place via PlayStation 8? Are we all vegan? Is Gregg Wallace still, inexplicably, hosting MasterChef?

And most importantly: what is working life like for a pensions actuary in 2040?

Such an interesting article from in The Actuary (UK). The SA pensions market is different but there are common challenges. It makes one think about what is happening in SA. 6min read

About YOU

IMISA Guided Meditations

The Institute of Mindfulness In South Africa (IMISA) is delighted to introduce to you their newly curated offering of guided meditations in local languages, recorded by their community of teachers.

Please visit their library of recorded meditations here.

IMISA also host online guided meditations in the IMISA Zoom room every Monday from 8h00 till 8h30, except for public holidays and year-end holidays. To benefit from the grounding effects of mindfulness practice please read more here.

These meditations are free and open to all and there is no need to RSVP.

3-2-1: What top performers do, and how to deal with critics and detractors

“You don’t need to worry about progressing slowly. You need to worry about climbing the wrong mountain.”

Set aside time to self-reflect with insights from the quotes in this article. Anything from 3min onwards for the thinking mind.

So what’s it actuary about?

So what’s it actuary about? is a podcast designed to inform and inspire those interested in the field of actuarial science, those who have taken the leap and are studying actuarial science or those who have fought and won their qualified designation.

There are many podcasts available, usually about 40 min in length, this week we highlight two:

Explaining – Communications for Actuaries

Billy Enderstein, a communications specialist, unpacks the importance of the N211 subject and how best to approach preparation for this exam. 

Explaining – Reinsurance and Data Protection

Susan Atkinson, the Chief Risk Officer of Hannover Re Group Africa, details her career within the reinsurance industry.