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Astute Newsletter No 5

04 June 2008 Astute




We would like to thank you for your support during the past year and trust that the ever-growing Astute platform continues to add value to your practice. To ensure that we remain a highly valued partner to financial advisers, we have over recent months invested heavily in infrastructure and development.

While price increases have been necessary, we’re pleased to advise that that these are well below the rate of consumer inflation (CPIX), which stood at 10.4% year-on-year in April 2008.

The rates of all transaction and connection fees on Astute will, from 1 July 2008, be increased by approximately 8.5% - a figure we regard as fairly conservative given the current economic and inflationary environment. Prices will be rounded to the nearest 5c, so the actual percentage increase may vary slightly.

In addition to the inflation-related increase, we will also apply a general increase of 50c per transaction. This is based on the enhanced services Astute has provided over the past year, as well as the addition of new product providers on the system over the next 12 to 18 months.
Since inception in 2000, 10 additional Content Providers (to the original 3 we started off with) have been integrated onto Astute’s platform. Our annual customer surveys over the previous two years highlighted the need to provide investment product information in addition to the life and risk information currently available on our platform. We are pleased to announce that our efforts in this segment indicate significant growth in the number of content providers on the platform during 2008/9.

In terms of expanding the investment and other product ranges available through Astute, we have achieved the following during the past 18 months or so:
o  Investment products from all the major life insurers’ are available. For example, Momentum Investo, Old Mutual Max Income, Fairbairn Capital and Frontiers series, Sanlam Topaz and others.
o  Old Mutual Galaxy Portfolio Services, the first linked product provider on Astute, went live in November 2007
o  Sanlam and Old Mutual Unit trusts are already on the platform
o  Regent Life is scheduled to go live in June 2008
o  Momentum Wealth is scheduled to go live in July 2008
o  Product mapping workshops have been held with other major investment players and feedback will be given once business plans have been approved.

The potential value for users is immense. An expanded platform inclusive of investment products makes Astute even more indispensable from a financial adviser’s perspective. Resultant time and cost savings result in improved client service that’s good for the industry as a whole.

In order for this expanded service to be sustainable, the additional charge of 50c per consolidated client portfolio request will be added to the Astute transaction fees. This amounts to less than 10% of the current portfolio fee, while providing access to a broad range of investment product providers for our clients.

The new rates, effective from 1 July 2008, are available for viewing on the Astute website under the “Pricing” tab.


Liberty Life has resolved the problem in terms of which Liberty policies with a status of "In Claim" but still “In Force” appeared as "Inactive" on Astute and Spotlight. These now show as "In force".

As part of our database maintenance process, we will be de-activating user profiles from the system which have invalid contact details. Users are advised to constantly update their details, including contact numbers and particularly email addresses, via the website or your local administrator.

We are pleased to report to all of our Apple Mac users that we have resolved an issue on the website that now allows you to use your Safari browser to request information via Astute. Thank you to Marco who brought the issue to our attention and also assisted us with testing the fix.

Our project to upgrade our database infrastructure is proceeding on schedule. We would like to inform all our users that our system will be unavailable during certain times over the weekend of 14 - 15 June as we upgrade our infrastructure. Updates will be posted on the Astute website so please check back regularly. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause our users but ensure you that we are committed to providing a stable and reliable platform.

Free Astute training sessions will be conducted in the following areas during June and July 2008, depending on the number of nominations received.

10-JuneCape Town     10:00 - 13:00
12-JuneRichard’s Bay 10:00 - 13:00
13-JuneDurban            10:00 - 13:00
25-JunePretoria          10:00 – 13:00
08-JulyBethlehem        10:00 - 13:00
09-JulyHarrismith         10:00 - 13:00
14-JulyCenturion         10:00 - 13:00
15-JulyRandburg         10:00 - 13:00
16-JulyLichtenburg      10:00 - 13:00
16-JulySoweto            10:00 - 13:00
17-JulyMafikeng         10:00 – 13:00
28-JulyCape Town      10:00 - 13:00

Training consists of the following:
o  Functionalities on the Astute Home Page
o  Compliance and Administration
o  Requesting and retrieving product information on the Astute website
o  Interpreting the Astute screen views
o  Integrating Astute with your FNA system

As we will be explaining how to analyse and interpret information available on Astute, it is important that you have a general knowledge of products in the market.
As a result, you will be issued with a pre-training study guide. If you do not have the necessary knowledge, please complete all of the assignments and bring the completed study guide to the training session.
Nominations close one week before the training date.

Please send your nominations to
Clearly indicate your name, surname, contact details and the ID number of the registered Astute user, as well as the area where you would like to attend training. The study guide and venue details will be e-mailed to you once we have received your nomination.

Training FAQ:

Q: I am currently requesting policy information via the Astute website and then capturing the data into my needs analysis system. Is there a faster and easier way to do this?

A: All Financial Needs Analysis (FNA) systems that have been certified by Astute are able to download information directly into the system. This information is then also available for viewing in your message box on the Astute website.

For information on how to download into your FNA system, please do the following:

- Go to the Astute website
- Click on the tab “FNA Systems” (you do NOT need to login) – this provides a list of all certified FNA systems
- Click on your specific FNA system in the list
- Click on “Downloading Steps”
 Click on the link that appears which will guide you through the process that needs to be followed for your specific FNA system

Should you require training on this process, send an email to

Information views on the Astute website
It has come to our attention that there are a number of our users who are not aware that Astute makes available three information reports for every transaction. In brief, the reports contain the following:
• View 1 - A summary of the number and type of products
• View 2- A summary of information per product
• View 3 - Detailed information on each product


We’d like to congratulate Glyn Davies at First Choice Financial Services for winning our top user award for 2007. Glyn was rewarded with a R500 voucher.

Top Astute users have been invited to a Networking opportunity, sponsored by content providers held at the Johannesburg Civic theatre on 28th May 2008. We strive to support our users in various ways by providing opportunities to expand their networking platforms, and we hope to offer these opportunities to more users on a regular basis.

We also want to thank all the users who have responded to the recent questionnaire regarding Information Quality. We will provide the feedback of the survey in the next release of the Astute Newsletter.

Astute will be involved with Masthead during their up-coming Road show and will be present at the following venues and dates:

 We look forward to meeting you there.

Non-Masthead members, should you like to see an Astute representative during any of these dates, Please contact Helena du Plessis at 0836427963 or to make arrangements.



From time to time, the Astute Support Centre receives requests from adviser assistants to reset their passwords for access to the system. This is to allow the assistant to access the system, through the advisor’s user access code, to enable him or her to obtain policy information while the advisor is on leave or away for business reasons.

The Support Centre operators have been instructed not to fulfill any of these requests as this may only be done with written authorisation from the adviser. The correct process is to register the assistant as a sub-user under the principal user. The assistant will then have the facility to access the system by using his or her own access code and password.

The adviser (principal user) is held responsible for all transactions under his or her user registration code as per the Intermediary Agreement. No other person may therefore access the system on behalf of the advisor, except if the person has been authorised by the advisor to be registered as a sub-user under his / her own user registration code.

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