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Understanding our business

Sanlam is a diversified financial services group, headquartered in South Africa, operating across a number of selected global markets.

We use a decentralised operational model, managed through tight principles set at a Group level, to execute on our strategy. This model is a key part of our ability to differentiate ourselves from our peers in strategic execution.

We offer the following products and services:

Risk solutions provide monetary benefits to compensate for the financial impact of unexpected events such as death, disability, trauma and retrenchment

Investment solutions facilitate wealth accumulation and provide for income at retirement through a full range of investment options that offer varying levels of investment guarantees

Insurance solutions provide monetary benefit to compensate for the loss of physical property, loss of trading income or liability incurred. It includes motor, property, aviation, crop, engineering, guarantee, liability, accident, transportation and alternative risk transfer insurance

Retail client solutions offer savings options that create wealth through a range of collective investment schemes and wealth management solutions, including stockbroking

Institutional client solutions offer wealth creation through traditional and specialist asset management in South Africa and abroad

Retail client solutions offer access to personal loans and traditional banking to create long-term financial prosperity

Institutional client solutions provide asset-based financing, debt origination and structuring, asset-liability management, equity and interest rate derivatives, and collateralised lending in support of business activity and economic growth

Long-term financial resilience and prosperity is created through individual and organisational financial needs analysis and advice (including estate planning, trusts, wills), health management and retirement fund administration

Sanlam’s financial and risk solutions support wealth creation and protection for individuals and organisational clients. The nature of these solutions often have a positive impact beyond the client, as it supports systemic resilience for businesses, families and communities, such as in the case of death, disability or fires and floods.

We offer these products and services through businesses managed in five clusters:

The external operating environment has a significant impact on our ability to create value for our stakeholders. This environment was marked by major change in recent years, which we continue to monitor, evaluate and respond to as appropriate.

Sanlam depends on the following key resources to create sustainable shared value:

  • A strong capital base to ensure our solvency over the long term (financial capital)
  • Specialised financial, actuarial, investment, risk management and administration skills (human capital)
  • Mature and efficient operational, financial and risk management processes (intellectual capital)
  • Information technology and data transfer infrastructure (manufactured capital)
  • A trusted relationship with our clients, business partners, regulators and society (social and relationship capital)
  • A sustainable environment in support of a healthy and prosperous society (natural capital)

Read more about our shared value creation

Our primary operational activities

Sanlam provides financial solutions to individuals and organisations through a network of channels and partnerships in 45 countries. We deliver these client-centric products and services through the following five primary operational activities:

Product development

Develop innovative wealth creation, management and protection products and services, including appropriate distribution channels and branding

Distribution and client support

Manage our various distribution channels

Provide client support services, including administration, actuarial, human resources and information technology

Product management

Investment management of client and shareholder funds

Asset-liability matching in line with clients’ needs and preferences

Conduct experience analyses to identify emerging trends as input to product pricing and claims management Governance of participating products

Business support

Provide business support services including financial management, accounting, actuarial valuations, regulatory reporting, human resources and information technology

Capital and risk management

Deploy discretionary capital

Optimally allocate financial capital to clusters

Financial and actuarial risk management

Regulatory compliance

The key trade-offs that we manage for sustainable shared value creation:

  • How profitable products are vs what is appropriate for our client
  • Balancing profitability against investment in our employees
  • Weighing the cost of investment in innovation against long-term efficiencies
  • The level of investment of shareholder profit in transformation initiatives
  • Considering the potential impact of responsible investment practices on the investment return we generate for our clients
  • Optimising the level of shareholder capital to retain while ensuring our sustained solvency

Sanlam's current distribution channels:

We follow an omni-channel distribution approach to ensure that clients are reached and serviced through their preferred channel. The distribution model is continually adapted to changing client preferences, with increased focus being placed on further developing Sanlam’s digital capability. Sanlam’s current distribution channels are broadly classified into four categories:

Advisers service our retail clients via two categories: those who are only accredited to sell Sanlam products, and those accredited to sell a wider product range. Where an adviser is accredited to sell a wider product range, limits apply to the proportion of business that can be placed at competitors. Adviser channels are typically managed according to market segment (lower income/entry-level, middle income, affluent and professional/small business). This ensures appropriate focus on the specific needs of the various segments in line with our client-centric business philosophy.

Brokers service retail and institutional clients across market segments and are supported by dedicated broker support units. Brokers are an important distribution channel, especially in the South African affluent market, where the majority of new business is written through brokers, and in the Rest of Africa, where most institutional general insurance business is placed by brokers. Given their independence to distribute all competitor products, establishing and maintaining superior support and relationships with this channel are key focus areas of the broker support units.

Direct units distribute Sanlam products directly to retail and institutional clients using technology-based channels such as outbound call centres, online platforms and mobile communication. Direct distribution contributes a major portion of Santam’s general insurance premiums through MiWay, but the contribution to life and investment business volumes is still relatively small. However, this is expected to change over time as the use of technology to buy financial services becomes more prevalent. The development of our digital capability as part of the omni-channel approach is therefore receiving particular emphasis.

Affinity groups focus on distribution through groupings of retail clients, for example, employer and church groups. The affinity group partner is typically responsible for administration at an individual member level, and Sanlam provides the relevant products.

Sanlam has relationships with a number of banks and telecommunications companies across Africa through which we distribute insurance and investment products to their client bases.

Affinity groups, bancassurance and telecommunications relationships offer us access to large client bases through single entry points. This is a key benefit for start-up operations to gain economies of scale significantly faster than through traditional retail intermediaries. It also forms a critical part of our omni-channel distribution approach and promotes financial access in under-serviced low income segments due to the lower distribution cost.

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
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