11 March 2021
Sanlam today reported solid annual financial results for the 12 months ended 31 December 2020. This reflects the diversity and underlying resilience of the Group’s businesses, which remained financially strong throughout the unprecedented health, economic and market challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic Sanlam was guided by its purpose: Empowering Generations to be Financially Confident, Secure and Prosperous. The Group rolled out technology and support to ensure that clients could be provided with appropriate advice to deal with the financial impacts of the pandemic. Premium relief was provided to clients and financial support to intermediaries. Sanlam also committed R2,25 billion to seed three impact funds named the Investors’ Legacy range, with the core objective of preserving and creating jobs. Santam made relief payments of R1bn to clients in the hospitality and leisure sector and set up a provision of R3bn to settle all the Contingent Business Interruption claims. In association with key partners, Sanlam also supported communities across Africa with over R1bn of direct Covid-19 relief. The Group also paid an unusually high number of death claims.
Sanlam continued to manage its operations across the Group prudently, while continuing to implement its long term strategic plans. As a result the Group remained strongly capitalised despite stock and bond market turbulence. Group solvency cover ratio was 191% at 31 December 2020, which is at the top end of the target range set and is indicative of the security provided to customers.
Net result from financial services, the Group’s key measure of operating earnings performance, declined by 13%, affected by several factors owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. These included the downturn in equity markets across most markets where the Group operates, an increase in doubtful debt provisions regarding the Group’s institutional and retail credit books, Santam’s CBI claims experience, higher mortality claims from the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as substantial Covid-19-related relief offered to clients and intermediaries.
New business volumes increased by 25% to R311 billion exceeding R300 billion for the first time, supported by strong investment business sales. The Capitec partnership continued to deliver positive growth, reflecting the mutually beneficial partnerships Sanlam seeks to build.
The Group achieved overall net fund inflows of R62 billion, an increase of 8% on the prior year, a particularly satisfactory performance in the challenging economic conditions of 2020.
Key 2020 performance indicators relative to 2019 were:
Group Equity Value
To mitigate the impact of Covid-19 across operations, the Group implemented alternative ways of working, with the bulk of employees working remotely, while maintaining service levels to clients and advisers. The business assisted clients, intermediaries and partners weather the storm and adjust their financial plans accordingly. This was done through various measures, including unprecedented levels of client communication and review of clients’ financial plans where required, premium holidays, and direct financial support.
Sanlam Group Chief Executive Officer Paul Hanratty said, “Covid-19 caused pain for our employees, clients and communities. We lost loved ones, friends and colleagues. Many people remain concerned about their financial situation, their employment and health. Sanlam has been there to provide support and advice. We are satisfied with our financial position which remained strong throughout 2020 as we implemented our strategy, while helping clients and other stakeholders to ensure a resilient future.”
Group net result from financial services of R8,4 billion declined by 13% in 2020 but increased by 17% excluding the Covid-19 impact. Net operational earnings declined by 23% but increased by 14% excluding the impact of Covid-19.
New business volumes increased by 25%, with the Sanlam Emerging Markets and Sanlam Investments Group clusters in particular recording strong growth. Life insurance volumes increased by 4% relative to the 2019 financial year and general insurance volumes improved by 3%. Investment business was the key driver of overall volume growth, increasing by 37%.
The Group has made solid progress formulating and implementing its revised strategy. The Group’s business in Africa (excluding South Africa) made strong progress with improvements in operational performance while posting strong growth. The underwriting margin increased from 2% in 2019 to 6.1% in 2020. Within South Africa, the Group concluded one transaction with Ubuntu-Botho (UB) / African Rainbow Capital (ARC) aimed at strengthening the Group’s competitiveness and earnings in institutional asset management. Together with its partners, Sanlam has established South Africa’s largest black owned asset manager. Sanlam is in the process of concluding another transaction with Ubuntu-Botho / ARC which enhances exposure to health insurance and employee benefit segment income streams for Sanlam. Progress continued at pace on digitalisation of the business to improve customer outcomes and to improve operational efficiency.
Group Equity Value amounted to R131,8 billion at 31 December 2020. Including the dividend of 334 cents per share paid. RoGEV per share for 2020 amounted to a negative 2,8%. This is lower than the 13,3% target for 2020, largely attributable to the various impacts of Covid-19 on both operating outcomes and valuations, as well as weak investment markets.
The Group is focused on the judicious allocation of capital and slightly improved the overall discretionary capital over the course of 2020. The Group’s discretionary capital balance was R636 million at 31 December 2020.
All the major life insurance businesses within the Group were sufficiently capitalised at 31 December 2020. The Group’s solvency capital cover ratio remained at a healthy level of 191%.
Sanlam expects a slow recovery of real GDP across our markets and that there will continue to be impacts from further waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We continue to proactively manage the consequences of Covid-19. Despite a tough 2020 and realisation that we have much to do going forward, we are optimistic about what we can achieve in 2021. The environment will continue to be extremely difficult but we have a strategy, committed people and some momentum behind our strategic plans,” said Mr. Hanratty.