Edward Kieswetter - Alexander Forbes

Alexander Forbes offers an integrated value proposition, delivering market-leading employee and risk benefits consulting, retirement and investment solutions to clients, with a leading presence in sub-Saharan Africa. It relisted on the JSE on 24 July 2014. Our roots are firmly in Africa, but our reach is global. Our primary operations are based in Africa and the United Kingdom. A significant additional partner network ensures we provide an outstanding level of service to our global clients, particularly in Africa and Europe.

Its main services are retirement funds and asset consulting, actuarial consulting, investment and administration services, employee risk benefits and healthcare consulting, multimanager investment and platform solutions, individual financial advice, and personal lines insurance.
The group’s primary clients comprise both the private and public sector market segments, including employers, retirement funds, investment and other special purpose funds on the institutional side, and individual members and beneficiaries of these retirement funds, as well as the wider individual market, on the retail side. Alexander Forbes’ principal geographic focus is South Africa, where it has been in operation since 1935 and is a market leader in its core businesses.

The company is also present in Sub-Saharan Africa, the UK, and other selected jurisdictions which have employee benefits legislative frameworks similar to South Africa. Alexander Forbes, through Alexander Forbes Financial Services Proprietary Limited (“AFF”), is a leading employee benefits consulting, actuarial, investment and administration services provider and retirement fund administrator, with retail assets under advisement of R52.3 billion as at 30 September 2014.

Its flagship umbrella retirement fund, the Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund (AFRF), remains one of the largest of its kind in the market measured by assets, and total umbrella fund assets under management were R60.6 billion as at 30 September 2014. Alexander Forbes, through Investment Solutions, is the largest multi-manager investment company in Sub-Saharan Africa, with assets under administration and management of R300 billion as at 30 September 2014 compared to 30 September 2013, of which R269 billion were assets under management.

Key strengths:

Alexander Forbes believes that the following competitive strengths contribute to its success and distinguish the company from its competitors: investments in its home market in South Africa and in other Sub-Saharan African countries.

  • creating shareholder value;
  • retail growth initiative;
  • and high customer retention rates;

Alexander Forbes intends to capitalise on its unique market position and improve the performance of its operations by continuing to grow its core institutional businesses and pursuing the retail, public sector, and Sub-Saharan Africa growth strategies. These growth strategies are group-wide initiatives focused on leveraging the core institutional client base and the group’s market positioning in its core businesses.


Historically, the group’s various retail businesses have functioned indepen- dently. In the last few years, as part of the group’s strategic intent, a conscious decision was taken to drive the retail growth strategy with greater focus, including the establishment of a dedicated retail cluster (Retail Cluster) under a single business leader.

The cornerstone of the retail growth strategy is to leverage off the group’s strong relationships with the institutional clients of the pension funds it administers, and build earlier and deeper relationships with the individual.


Alexander Forbes already has significant public sector business and, based on recent public sector market research, believes that there is further potential to grow its position by mapping its current integrated value offerings and providing innovative consulting and administration services and solutions in response to identified needs in both the institutional and retail segments.

Alexander Forbes established a dedicated team, the Public Sector Division, in order to focus resources on growing its public sector client base. This team’s focus is on setting the overarching public sector strategy and supporting the implementation thereof through effective engagement strategies in order to build lasting relationships with public sector clients and stakeholders and communicate Alexander Forbes’ holistic value proposition to both new and existing clients.


to high economic growth rates over the medium term. Financial services markets in a number of these countries are still at an early stage of development, which represents an opportunity for Alexander Forbes to grow into these relatively underdeveloped and underpenetrated markets, building on AfriNet’s success in Namibia, Botswana, Kenya and experience in developing businesses in Nigeria, Uganda, and Zambia. Pension and social security reforms are among the key criteria taken into account in connection with the group’s expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The group aims to take advantage of favourable legislative changes to expand its operations in the region in the short to medium term.

In expanding into new territories, AfriNet plans to continue to leverage off its institutional experience and expertise, replicating the successful South African business model, while adapting to the specific domestic commercial and regulatory environment in each country.

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