March first edition

Not all progress is visible. Not all victories are celebrated.

Just because others can’t see the results doesn’t mean you’re not getting better. Just because someone is ahead of you doesn’t mean you are on the wrong trajectory. Just because no one notices doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter. Just because there is no applause doesn’t mean you didn’t score.  Shane Parish

Language is indisputably at the foundation of the acquisition of any discipline and its discourse. We also know that good language skills are a function of socioeconomic privilege. Reading is the first step in acquiring the skill to articulate meaning and to develop critical thinking – both of these are examined implicitly at the higher levels of the actuarial exams. You are encouraged to “think like an actuary”.

Critical thinking and being able to articulate meaning in writing come into play when you need to transfer knowledge across fields and find solutions to real life problems required of the actuary. The same skills are important in answering questions in exams like the A311 and the F100 and F200 series.

How would you begin to think and communicate like an actuary?

The MM exhibits news from the financial services industry; mostly articles from the sectors which fall under the current specialist areas, as well as articles of interest and new thought, economic matters, diversity, inclusion and equity and a section on self-development and awareness.

It is hoped that you will read the articles and so gain better access to the knowledge that is valued in the discipline and in practice.

This week’s top academic interest is Gregory Whittaker’s paper on loss of income compensation from the RAF for non-serious injuries which is shown to be excessive. 8 March was also International Women’s Day and so we have included an opinion piece on “intersectionality”. Another matter for the mind, is the article on entropy which us in the About YOU section.

Share and enjoy!

MM Editorial Team

Economic matters

Exploring the details of the 2024 Budget Speech and the Economic Landscape that lies ahead

Hear what Dr Duncan Pieterse, Director General of National Treasury has to say in this 30 min Webinar. There are also other interesting recordings that you can explore if you have the time.

Budget 2024: How the Inflation Monster will Affect Taxpayers

In the last newsletter we took a high level view across sectors, but this article brings the individual into focus and shows how inflation will affect their pocket despite no tax increases.

For the individual employee this is an informative 4min read.

Comms sector helps SA economy to rebound

South Africa’s communications sector is among those that helped the economy rebound, avoiding a technical recession in the fourth (Q4) of 2023.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) announced the country’s economy grew by a marginal 0.1% in Q4 (October-December), taking the annual growth rate for 2023 to 0.6%.

3min read

The two biggest threats to business in South Africa right now – according to CEOs

The latest PwC CEO Survey in Africa report identified inflation and macroeconomic volatility in Sub-Saharan Africa as the two biggest threats to businesses in 2024.

Important to note common macro perspectives across CEOs.  3min read

If you’d like more detail, the full report is available through the article below.

Thriving in an age of continuous reinvention

This article covers all the survey responses of the PwC CEO Survey in Africa at a high level and then gives access to the survey itself which is broken up into nine sections which cover three themes making reading selection easy. You can also listen to a recording of 34 mins with timestamps provided.

Financial Services Industry

New National Financial Ombud scheme launches

The newly formed National Financial Ombud scheme (NFO) started operating on 1 March after being granted recognition by the Ombud Council.

The NFO is the outcome of a project to amalgamate four financial sector ombud schemes: the Credit Ombud, the Ombudsman for Banking Services (OBS), the Ombudsman for Long-term Insurance (OLTI), and the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance (OSTI). These four schemes have now become divisions within the NFO.

The article has a slightly different focus to the one below but a good companion to it. 3min read

Key aspects of treasury’s proposals to reform SA’s financial ombud system

National Treasury has published proposals for comprehensive reforms to the country’s financial ombud system that, if implemented, will ultimately result in all the current ombud schemes being replaced by a single scheme independent of both the government and the financial sector.

Read about the changes that are coming to streamline the system and make it more independent of government. 5min read

Diversity and Inclusion

Life offices and asset managers exceed B-BBEE ownership targets, but face hurdles with employment equity targets

Life offices and asset managers represented by the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) have made encouraging progress towards achieving the relevant transformation targets set by the Amended Financial Sector Code (FSC).

4min read

What is intersectionality and why does it make feminism more effective?

The way we talk about society and the people and structures in it is constantly changing. One term you may come across this International Women’s Day is “intersectionality”. And specifically, the concept of “intersectional feminism”.

4min read

General Insurance

RAF loses around R3 billion annually in opportunistic loss of income claims

Research by actuary and damages expert Gregory Whittaker for the Actuarial Society of South Africa (ASSA) shows that by local and international standards, loss of income compensation from the RAF for non-serious injuries is excessive.

The article is a 3min read, but the research paper which you can access here is very thorough and makes for interesting reading and a good example of a well written paper. (30 pages).

A Decade After MH370, Planes Still at Risk of Vanishing Off the Map

There were 239 people aboard that flight. This article raises the question once again of safety on aircraft and how difficult it is to enforce measures that would help mitigate the risks. This is turn would impact how passengers and aircraft are insured. 5min read

Health Insurance

Health Department Pushes the Case for ‘Affordable’ NHI

The NHI Fund will only procure services and treatments that fall within the financial means of the economy. “NHI will purchase what the economy is able to pay for,” Crisp told the National Press Club on 29 February.

3min read

Not dragging our regulatory heels – Council for Medical Schemes

The Board of Healthcare Funders (BHF) — which monitors and addresses the cost spiral within private healthcare — and the Council for Medical Schemes (CMS), which regulates medical schemes in ‘a fair and transparent manner, while protecting the public,’ are in a protracted High Court dispute over the matter.

The ‘matter’ is a low cost benefit option (LCBO). 3min read

Tackling the challenges of mental health

Mental health prevalence is at an all-time high. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) every year 703,000 people take their own life and there are many more who attempt suicide.

3min read


Kieswetter sends a warning to banks in South Africa

The South African Revenue Service (SARS) is prepared to take legal action against South African banks to emphasise their obligations to report questionable transactions made by clients.

2min read

Can crypto regulation help SA shake off FATF greylisting?

The greylisting of South Africa by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has not only called into question the country’s ability in combating financial crimes, but also caused reputational damage and highlighted its failure to regulate flows of money through both traditional financial institutions and alternative financial forms such as cryptocurrencies.

4min read

South Africa’s banks need to get better at cost controls

Who would have thought that SA banks have some of the highest cost to income ratios in the world? This article offers four strategic steps to turn this around, note that these are strategies that are not limited to banks. 4min read


PSG Head of Securities Wendy Myers on what the shrinking JSE means for investors

In this Business Talk with Michael Avery interview, Wendy Myers – Head of Securities at PSG discusses the shrinking JSE and what this means for investors.

12min listen

SA’s specialist independent stock exchange EESE rebrands to I-Ex, going strong six years on

Independent stock exchange Equity Express, which recently expanded to include bonds and debt notes, has rebranded to I-Ex – The Integrated Exchange – to better reflect its offerings. This interview with founder Anthony Wilmot explores how the independent stock markets have impacted the JSE, formerly a monopoly, and looks at how the specialist offerings provide a route to the capital markets for SA’s entrepreneurial class.

20min interview

SA can avoid prescribed assets if public private partnerships are managed better

Greater focus on public private partnerships can help to address the country’s multiple challenges, the Director General of the National Treasury says. 2.5min read

Plans to grab retirement savings to fund government projects in South Africa

The ANC 2024 Elections Manifesto is once again pushing for prescribed assets in South Africa – revealing the party’s plans to introduce legislation to compel pension fund managers to invest in infrastructure development and the economy.

2.5 min read

Ninety One launches SA infrastructure fund aiming for R15bn in AUM

Ninety One has officially launched its Ninety One SA Infrastructure Credit fund to promote economic growth in South Africa, which aims to raise as much as R15bn from institutional investors.

3min read

“Overhyped”? “Fad”? Why the critics are wrong about thematic investing 

Thematic investing has taken off in recent years. Global thematic assets under management stood at $400 billion as of 1 July 2023, up 11% from the end of last year (according to data from Goldman Sachs).

Do you know what thematic investing is? This article would be a good introduction to it if you don’t. 3min read

Retirement / Pensions

South Africa’s new Two (three) Pot system

In 2024, South Africa will finally see another major change to our retirement system. Although known as the “Two Pot system”, in reality, and for most, it will be a new three pot system.

A clear article giving context on how the system could be used by individuals. 4min read

How you can personalise your advice for retirement planning

Find out about the Guaranteed Annuity Portfolio which is an optional investment component within a living annuity. 3min read

Retirement is changing – what is the new normal?

It used to be that we prepared for 20 years to live post-retirement, now one must consider living at least 35-40 years post-retirement.

3min read

About YOU

Budgeting for wellness and a better you

The basic tenets of the budgeting process – planning for the future and investing to ensure the plans come true – should form the basis of how we live our lives. In particular, how we invest in our overall health and wellness.

An article to get you going with putting your health first by exercising and eating healthily. 2min read

How can I stop overthinking everything? A clinical psychologist offers solutions

As a clinical psychologist, I often have clients say they are having trouble with thoughts “on a loop” in their head, which they find difficult to manage.

While rumination and overthinking are often considered the same thing, they are slightly different (though linked). Rumination is having thoughts on repeat in our minds. This can lead to overthinking – analysing those thoughts without finding solutions or solving the problem.

This is non-threatening high level read but with enough detail for you to reflect on your own behaviour and work on changing the thought patterns when they arise.  3.5min read

Entropy: The Hidden Force That Complicates Life

Entropy, a measure of disorder, explains why life always seems to get more, not less, complicated as time goes on.

This read is to expand your thinking on what is orderly and how much energy we spend on keeping things in order. A brilliant read, rich with ideas and information to handle our increasingly chaotic lives. 10 – 12min read.