Financial Planning

Wealth Management

There are many approaches to the wealth management concept. Most of the large traditional life assurers have over time moved to a wealth management model, providing holistic financial services through separate companies, sometimes even multiple brands. The banking industry, with their large network of branches and client numbers are also providing wealth management services, especially to private banking clients. Then we also have a variety of smaller companies who have divisions focussing on selected investment services under the banner of wealth management. The comments we received from a few decision makers in this space provide some insight as to the approaches out there.


1. What is wealth management and how does it differ from being a long-term insurance and investment provider? Does short-term insurance fit here?

Our strategy is to evolve from a life insurance company into a broad-based wealth management company. Wealth is multi-faceted and comprises a conglomeration of a number of factors – specialisation in products to protect, grow and preserve assets; the skill and intelligence to advise, integrate and harness opportunities for clients on a customised basis across the spectrum; risk management; the ability to grow through accessing different markets and geographies – and, in turn, applying that experience in those areas back into traditional areas.

All of these combine to create an expertise in wealth holistically and should also, over time, diversify the earnings stream of the business, ensuring even further financial stability for the business – an important factor for customers in current economic times.

Many companies present a range of offerings such as life, investment and health offerings; but wealth is only created when these are applied deliberately – and this includes knowledge, intelligence (both systemic and intellectual) and the ability to create relationships.

Yes, short-term insurance will fit this spectrum over time, but it is important to understand that we do not define wealth by the range of products we offer alone. What is clear is the importance of the role of intelligence, application and integration in our wealth model – which clearly makes the adviser core to our operations in South Africa.

2. What benefits are there for financial advisers in the move, by these groups, to the wealth management concept?

While the concept of a wealth management company is holistic and there are aspects that don’t impact the financial adviser directly (e.g. extended bancassurance; leading edge risk management capabilities; geographical diversity; business to business products), advisers will certainly benefit from the strength of being part of a broader wealth management company, over time, an extended range of products and without question, the investment in skill, knowledge and wealth intelligence.

If we consider the role of financial advisers, in this context we define wealth management as:

– Advanced planning, which is a consultative process used to gain a detailed understanding of a client’s goals and his/her most significant financial wants and needs;

– The ability to customise choice and solutions;

– Ongoing delivery and changes.

3. Can you enter Africa as a wealth management group or do you go in as an insurer?

Liberty Holdings is positioned as a wealth management company, and is viewed in Africa as the parent company. However, the approach into Africa is category led – so we may focus on life insurance in one country, health in another, and may, in fact, be Stanbic branded in another. Wealth is therefore the factor that holds the categories together, but the categories can stand alone in respect of the offering they make in the individual countries and will be positioned as such, depending on the business strategy in reaching that particular market.

4. Does it really matter what it is called or is it more of an internal management issue?

The concept of wealth has been used more extensively internally than externally; this is because we are in the process of building towards wealth and can’t yet claim the position externally but it is certainly our intention to accelerate this over time. In our view, wealth is a far richer and holistic proposition. Where previously there would have been little or no interest in exploring opportunities beyond our traditional fields of expertise, the playing fields are now open, the depth of knowledge around wealth matters within the business is deeper and broader, and there are far greater opportunities for leverage.

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