Metropolitan prepares for a tough year

Richard Stovin-Bradford

Richard Stovin-Bradford

Metropolitan Holdings, which provides financial services mainly to the low-income segment, delivered June interim results yesterday that highlighted its resilience in tumultuous investment markets and an economic downturn that has squeezed consumers' disposable income.

The group's current financial year could yet prove to be a year of two very different halves. Chief executive Wilhelm van Zyl admits Metropolitan will not escape fallout from the markets and the downturn "forever" but says: "A particular highlight is the way we've been able to contain the impact of the current environment.

"Our persistency has held up well," he said, as a result of a concerted effort by his team to ensure policyholders do not allow policies to lapse.

Van Zyl knows that his target market is less interest-rate sensitive than the middle-income market and that salary increases have helped offset the rising cost of living for some customers, but is nevertheless preparing for at least 12 months of "fighting in the trenches".