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Sanlam Employee Benefits Symposium

21 July 2008 Robert Roux, CEO, Sanlam Employee Benefits

Each year more people ask to participate, and as the government's proposed National Social Security Scheme (NSSS) comes closer to fruition, interest in Sanlam Employee Benefit's research has gained momentum.

With the addition of dynamic international speakers to the Symposium, we have also gained a better perspective on the opportunities and challenges before us in constructing and implementing the NSSS. Over 90 percent of delegates found this year's keynote presentation by Dr David McCarthy to be of value, proving that the Sanlam Employee Benefits Symposium continues to be beneficial to attendees.

This year more than 500 delegates joined us at the Symposium held at Vodaworld, Gauteng. Before the end of the year, we expect to host about 1 200 delegates nationwide as well as in Namibia. A wide range of industry participants were represented at the Gauteng event, with Employee Benefits providers accounting for almost 30 percent of attendees, followed by brokers, trustees, principal officers, intermediaries, independent actuaries, union representatives and members of the press.

We value the input as we continue to drive discussion and debate around various issues relevant to the retirement fund industry. For example, the opinions expressed during the interactive voting process help inform some of our thinking and strategic direction on many topics, including NSSS. Some of the most interesting results from the Gauteng event included:

  • Nearly all (96 percent) of attendees believe that the average retirement fund member does not have enough knowledge to make good retirement decisions.
  • A third of attendees (34 percent) see interests rates as the biggest hurdle to realising their own replacement ratios, with poor investment returns (19 percent) and expenditure discipline (18 percent) cited as the next two most important reasons.
  • Less than a third of attendees (26 percent) believe that the proposed NSSS will result in significant cost reductions.
  • The majority of attendees (59 percent) believe that people in the LSM 1 to 5 brackets should participate in the NSSS.

We were also pleased to see that when asked what you would like more of from Sanlam, the requests that received the most votes were:

  • More debate between government and the industry on NSSS (29 percent).
  • Want to be part of the debate (21 percent).
  • More detail on the research (13 percent).
Sanlam Employee Benefits hopes that, going forward, initiatives like the Symposium will provide you with a valuable forum for more debates and discussions about important industry issues. We will communicate your views to the policymakers in the hope that they will be taken into account in the reform process.

NOTE: All the presentations from the event and an electronic version of the survey results are available on the Sanlam Employee Benefits website at: http://www.seb.co.za/

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