Issue: June - Aug 2013

Financial protection, one worker at a time

It is well known that the majority of South African employees do not save as much towards retirement as we should. Although it is impossible to know exactly how many of us are at risk of not being able to retire financially independent, research has indicated that the proportion of South Africans that are able to achieve financial security at retirement could be as low as 6%.

Of course, saving for retirement is just one form of financial protection that we all need. The need for financial protection may be more immediate.

What happens to an employee and her family when she loses her job, or is involved in an accident? What happens to an employee’s family should she pass away? This need for financial protection implies that there is a minimum level of financial provision that all of us require.

Loots . . . exciting new product on its way

This minimum level applies to us regardless of our individual needs, preferences and circumstances.

Why do so few of us consider this need for protection? The reasons include our attitude towards savings and insurance benefits (“I will worry about it later”); our possible lack of understanding of various product options (“It seems complicated”), and the inability for many of us to access cost-effective options (“I think it is for the wealthy only”).

An occupational retirement solution that addresses these needs would therefore go a long way to assist more employees to achieve financial protection, both before and at retirement. Such a solution needs to meet the following requirements:

  1. It needs to be as simple as possible to enable both employees and employers to understand how it works. This makes it possible for employers to ensure that their employees are able to provide for their retirement, and in turn ensures that employees know how much they are putting away towards their goals.
  2. In striving for simplicity, the solution needs to offer an investment vehicle that is appropriate for a variety of employees at different ages and in different industries.
  3. Simplicity offers the opportunity to ensure that the solution is presented as a cost effective package, maximising the amount that employees are able to put away to savings every month.
  4. Cost efficiency needs to extend to any death and disability benefits offered, in order to maximise the amount available for savings. This needs to be balanced to meet the financial need of the majority of workers, should any unforeseen tragedy occur.

Liberty Corporate is excited to announce that exactly such a retirement fund solution is on its way.

Willem Loots, head of Umbrella Fund Solutions at Liberty Corporate, explains: “This new product will be an ideal solution, specifically for those businesses that desire simplicity in providing retirement and risk benefits to their employees. This bundled product will therefore be simple for employers to implement and easy to maintain, to the benefit of their employees.”

In doing so, Liberty Corporate aims to raise the bar for occupational retirement fund provision in South Africa, while empowering employees to take the first step towards financial protection.