Unified investment group launched

Tamlyn Stewart

Tamlyn Stewart

A new savings and investment industry group plans to help shift South Africans' "if you've got it, spend it" attitude.

The Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (Asisa), launched yesterday, represents most of the country's asset managers, collective investment scheme management companies, linked investment service providers, multi-managers and life insurance companies.

Asisa chief executive Leon Campher said the unified body would be able to spend more time on consumer education and communicate more effectively with government on issues like retirement fund reform. It would also improve disclosure within the industry by making products more comparable in terms of costs versus benefits.

Previously, four separate industry bodies existed - the Association of Collective Investments, the Life Offices' Association, the Investment Management Association of South Africa and the Linked Investment Service Providers' Association.

Campher said: "There was a huge overlap, it was becoming clumsy."

Regulators and policy makers had to engage with four separate lobby groups, often about the same issues. "Asisa is the single body government was looking for to engage with on policy issues," Campher explained.

"Investors need not be concerned about their money. Your investment remains your investment with the institution of your choice," said Campher.

What will change though is the efficiencies of institutions as their representatives will no longer be bogged down in numerous repetitive meetings.

South Africa is only the second country to follow this approach modelled on the Australian system, which has been successful in mobilising the industry and speaking with one voice.