TURNS 80 - A milestone in
    any person’s life
    and no less so in
    that of a company

    A milestone in any person’s life and no less so in that of company. READ MORE...

    MULTI-CARRIER – 1973

    A new retirement fund platform
    Alexander Forbes developed the world’s first multi-carrier facility in 1973. This has since become common practice worldwide. At a time of significant corporate mergers and acquisitions, we negotiated lower termination penalties when insured retirement funds were merged by allowing affected insurers to retain some of their business. Placing investments and other functions with various insurers on merit enabled us to achieve the best outcome for our clients.

    Greater market share
    Our fund management capacity, along with recruiting our first actuary in 1973, also enabled us to extend our market position by managing various self-administered funds, a sector hitherto closed to us.


    Giving workers a voice
    The retirement funds industry in South Africa was at a crossroad in the early eighties as workers who were unhappy about possible mandatory preservation and the then-statutory requirement that 50% of a fund’s assets had to be invested in so-called prescribed assets in racially segregated institutions, threatened to withdraw from the system. After consultation, Alexander Forbes pioneered worker participation in retirement funds in South Africa in 1983.

    Establishing negotiated benefits Half the trustees of Alexander Forbes funds had to be member representatives, a provision which only became law in South Africa in 1998. We educated worker representatives about the responsibilities of trustees and established a dedicated Black-managed ‘negotiated benefits division.

    – 1990s

    Managing escalating health costs, minimising risk In the early nineties Alexander Forbes started advising employers, members and medical schemes on improving health and managing escalating health costs. This evolved to include an Aids intervention programme (later sold), as well as employee wellness programmes and disability claims management. We established a dedicated health management unit to assist clients in managing health-related risks, including absenteeism and disability claims assessment.

    Keeping stakeholders informed Alexander Forbes’s healthcare services extend to advising employers and employees as well as providing actuarial services to medical schemes. We keep stakeholders in touch with market and legislative developments through an annual benchmarking industry report.

    – 1996

    Empowering previously disadvantaged stakeholders At group level, Alexander Forbes brought in Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) shareholders (namely Worldwide Africa, Malesela Holdings and Women’s Investment) along with their representation on our board in 1996. This was well before the Financial Sector Code, which provides a framework and principles for the implementation of B-BBEE in the financial sector, came into effect in January 2004. These investors realised their respective holdings at a profit. In 2003, we brought in other B-BBEE shareholders in the form of Shanduka (which later profitably realised its investment), Community Trust and an Employee Trust.

    – 1990

    Securing more than the financial well-being of minors Alexander Forbes saw a need to support beneficiaries of deceased members of retirement funds and group life schemes who needed expert guidance to manage relatively large benefit payouts. Many beneficiaries needed protection against imprudent investing in a field to which they had little exposure. In 1990 we established the Alexander Forbes Trust & Beneficiary Fund Services division to look after the interests of minor dependants of deceased members.

    Helping youngsters grow to their full potential An added challenge is that many of the beneficiaries are orphans. This often calls for demanding individual and sensitive engagement. The members of the division see this as a calling, helping minors to grow to their full potential.


    Investing in research and product development Alexander Forbes has had an established legal services unit, experts in retirement fund legislation, since the early 1970s. However, the changing retirement funds landscape as well as developments in technology, have led to increased investment in our Research and Product Development division. Besides assessing changing client needs, the division has also developed tools like the Alexander Forbes Pensions Index to help fund members understand how much they need for a comfortable retirement.

    Research as an employee benefits tool The Alexander Forbes Research Institute serves a vital role in monitoring market developments and in challenging thinking in a changing environment. Every year the institute produces a comprehensive employee benefits thought leadership publication to help employers and the industry ensure the financial well-being of employees.

    Taking compliance to
    the next level

    Alexander Forbes is committed to a higher purpose to secure the financial wellbeing of clients and having a consistently positive impact on their lives. We want to do business in a way that is ethically and morally above reproach. One way to we do this is by embedding and living by the principles of Treating Customers Fairly (TCF). TCF is a Financial Services Board (FSB) initiative to ensure financial services companies put customer needs first. It is based on six principles of fairness, also known as six fair outcomes.

    – 2012

    The Alexander Forbes head office in Sandton, Johannesburg, represents a commitment to our people – a place that is designed to allow us to deliver service with a positive impact. It is a stimulating, comfortable and healthy environment. It provides a magnificent platform from which to ensure we continue to have a positive impact on the financial well-being, quality of life and peace of mind of all stakeholders.

    Accredited with a 4-star Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of South Africa, 115 West is both energy and resource efficient. It is environmentally responsible – incorporating design, construction and operational practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of development on the environment and the users of the building.