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Wed, 05 Sep 2018

Long-term investing requires thinking about what the world may look like in 20 years from now and allocating capital to those areas of the economy that will grow in relevance.

To capture the prevalent investment themes of the next couple of decades requires a different approach, and access is not always easy. Most opportunities, especially in the nascent stages, are not yet listed and therefore only available through private markets.

However, the hard work can be well worth the effort. Many investors such as pension savers have an investment horizon that spans more than a decade, yet their investment strategy does not take into account the high potential long-term trends that will shape the world into which they retire.

Increasingly, we are seeing emerging global investment themes focused on solving global issues.

The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals are a set of 17 global goals that cover social and economic development issues. These include poverty, hunger, health, education, climate change, gender equality, water, sanitation, energy, urbanisation, the environment and social justice.

Unlike the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, which ended in 2015, the Sustainable Development Goals do not distinguish between “developed” and “developing” nations. This represents a significant shift in how investors should view the investment world, namely not as emerging or developed markets but as one world facing multiple correlating issues but from different sides.

Examples of emerging global trends include African urbanisation, where themes such as healthcare and hydropower are driving opportunities in multiple countries.

Namibia is aiming to implement universal health coverage and eliminate malaria in the country by 2020. Meanwhile, Kenya plans to tender for $600m-worth of new contracts for facilities and equipment, oxygen supply plant and information technology systems. All of these developments address key unmet needs that demonstrate investment potential.

Apart from infrastructure, healthcare investment opportunities in frontier markets such as Africa exist in financing medical equipment; cost-effective pharmaceutical production; supply-chain management; fit-for-purpose health insurance; and other new technologies. The International Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank, states in a report that health spending in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to double in the next 10 years. In developed markets, the ageing population is significantly increasing the demand for a variety of healthcare services, products and facilities.

Energy warrants a closer look as a theme of its own. Only about 7 percent of Africa’s enormous hydro-power potential has been harnessed. Investment opportunities exist at a broad level and also in subcomponents of the energy sector. Existing gaps include using biomass to generate heat and power simultaneously, known as biomass cogeneration, as well as large-scale wind power and urban waste-to-energy projects. On the smaller end of the scale but just as significant are small-scale renewables: improved cooking techniques, solar water heaters, wind pumps and small hydro.

Tied to the UN’s aim to end poverty by 2030 is a global theme of food security. The International Food Policy Research Institute estimates that ending world hunger is expected to cost an extra $11bn a year.

Developing efficient agriculture production that takes advantage of innovative technologies and practices [...]

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Wed, 05 Sep 2018

As an investment planner at Liberty, in her view, one needs a “full-circle” understanding of what your financial plan is.

She lists 6 important features a financial plan should have:

Budgeting or paying off debt

Personally, Rampersad draws up a monthly spreadsheet. That works for her.

She also uses good budget apps to help her keep track of her expenses – in real time – compared to her income.

“You must identify your spending as you cannot deal with something you do not acknowledge – for instance what you really spend,” she says.

She often gets asked whether it is a good idea to consolidate your debt or not.

“There are two schools of thought. You can do that especially if your home loan interest is lower, but it depends on the rate you pay and how many years you have to pay off your home loan, as well as your age,” she explains.

She prefers only to consolidate debt if the money you put into your loans decreases your repayments.


Rampersad often gets asked how long a savings term should be. In her view, it should not be more than 12 months.

“When you save, you should save in a short-term, risk-free product like a fixed deposit or money market account,” she suggests.

The reason why she advises one should not breach a 12-month savings term is due to the impact of inflation, which eats into your spending power.

For instance, your spending power could be halved in 10 years’ time due to the impact of inflation. That is why the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the SA Reserve Bank (SARB) targets inflation.


After a year of saving, you should then invest the money you saved over that period.

“Investing can be daunting. You need time on your side. You have got to start even if you start with small amounts. All you need is just to get started,” she suggests.

This brings one to the question of what to invest in.

“There are lots of investment products. So, how do you decide? That is where a financial advisor comes in,” she says.

“Tax-free savings products are good. They were introduced because SA has a poor savings culture. Any growth on an investment in such a product will be tax free and each member of the family can open one.”

She says a stokvel is probably the most popular informal way of saving in SA. At least it is a start to save. Yet, she points out that just keeping the money in the pool does not even earn market rates.

By putting a lump sum or lump sums either in unit trusts (even as little as R50 a month) or in a money market account, one can get a lot more growth than just “keeping it under the mattress”.


Risk planning should actually be your starting point, suggests Rampersad. In her view, the value of a good financial planner comes to play here too.


In general, women save about a third the amount a man saves at the same age. A 65-year old woman, when she retires, needs more [...]

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Fri, 17 Aug 2018

According to law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH), the bills deal with a broad range of labour issues including minimum wage, parental leave, disputes, and strike action.

The Bills will now be placed before a plenary sitting of the National Council of Provinces. If adopted, the Bills will be sent to the President of the Republic of South Africa for final assent and signature. Once signed by the president, the bills will become law.

Below CDH broke down the most important aspects of each Bill.

National Minimum Wage Bill

The National Minimum Wage Bill, together with the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, proposes that the national minimum wage is increased as follows:

R3,900 per month for full-time workers (who work 45 hours per week); or

R3,500 per month for full-time workers (who work 40 hours per week); or

R800 per week; or

R20 per hour.

This bill also introduces different hourly wage rates for agricultural workers (R18 per hour) and domestic workers (R15 per hour).

The bill creates and establishes a National Minimum Wage Commission who will be responsible for annually reviewing the national minimum wage. In deciding on the annual adjustment, the following factors will be considered:

Cost of living;

Minimum living levels;

Alleviation of poverty;

Wage differentials and inequality;

Conditions of employment;

Health, safety and welfare of workers;

Employment levels;


Gross Domestic Product growth;

State of collective bargaining.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill will include provisions of the National Minimum Wage Bill.

Labour Relations Amendment Bill

This bill makes various changes to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995. These changes mainly concern collective bargaining. The bill provides for the following:

Extension of bargaining council agreements to non-parties by the Minister of Labour;

Extension of funding agreements of bargaining councils;

Picketing through collective agreement or through prescribed picketing rules;

Extension of the meaning of ballot for a strike or lock-out to include a secret vote;

Creation of an advisory arbitration panel.

“The advisory arbitration panel has been established to resolve strikes (or lockouts) that are obstinate or violent,” CDH explained.

“The panel may also intervene if there is potential for the strike (or lockout) to cause a local or national crisis.

“The panel will have the power to investigate the cause and circumstances of the strike (or lockout) and release an advisory arbitration award to assist the parties in resolving the dispute. The panel may only be established if this is directed by the Minister of Labour or Labour Court.”

Labour Laws Amendment Bill

The bill aims to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997. The bill creates parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave to employees as follows:

An employee, who is a parent of a child, is entitled to ten consecutive days of parental leave;

An employee, who is an adoptive parent of a child below the age of two, is entitled to:

Adoption leave of at least ten consecutive weeks; or

At least ten consecutive days of parental leave.

An employee, who is a commissioning parent in a surrogacy agreement, is entitled to:

Commissioning parental leave of ten consecutive weeks; or

At least ten consecutive days of parental leave.


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