27 Nov SwissFin Newsletter December 2012
It is this time of the year again – Christmas and the summer holidays are just around the corner. Our team wishes you a great time with your family, friends and all the best for 2013. Make sure you travel safely on our busy roads during the festive season.
This is the last newsletter for 2012 and we trust you find the information we want to share with you useful.
As usual, this newsletter can be viewed under https://www.swissfin.co.za/swissfin-newsletter-december-2012/
Enjoy the reading, with best regards,
Your SwissFin – Team
- Interest rates: Bank deposits, insurance plans, tax-free investment amounts and our offshore model portfolios
- Moody’s downgrades South Africa
- BoE Private Bank and Fairbairn folded into Nedbank Private Wealth
- UK incentive investment scheme in return for residency permits
2. SWISS BANKING
- Swiss asset managers have to refund clients’ fund fees
- Switzerland – UK bank clients told to make their choice
- Swiss Life closes offices
3. SHORT-TERM INSURANCE
- GolfEstateSure is growing
- Recent strikes – are you covered for damages?
- Increased theft of Toyotas
- Update on international driving licences
- Is your property unoccupied for more than 60 days per year?
- Discovery Insure fined by the Financial Services Board (FSB)
4. HEALTH CARE COVER
7. SWISSFIN INTERNAL MATTERS
- Personnel changes at SwissFin
- Our office hours over the festive season
- SwissFin has a new website
- We value your comments
SwissFin offers the following rates as of November 2012:
Bank Deposits ››
- Money Market
- 12 Months
Please contact our office for more information. Conditions apply.
Insurance Plans: “Guaranteed growth plans” (5 year term) ››
- Gross Yield
- Taxes Payable
Tax-free interest income – maximum investment amounts ››
R 1’367’000 each for taxpayer under the age of 65
R 2’103’000 each for taxpayer between the age of 65 and 75
R 2’287’000 each for taxpayer over the age of 75
Underlying assumptions: 6.0% effective interest. Couples married in community of property can double these amounts.
SwissFin offshore model portfolios ››
The annualized performance (before costs) of our balanced portfolios is as follows:
- GBP STERLING
- 1 Year
- 8.71% p.a.
- 5.60% p.a.
- 0.84% p.a.
- 1.21% p.a.
- 3 Years
- 4.14% p.a.
- 8.13% p.a.
- 9.69% p.a.
- 9.59% p.a.
- 8 Years
- 3.97% p.a.
- 5.54% p.a.
- 7.40% p.a.
- 5.92% p.a.
Moody’s downgrades South Africa ››
At the beginning of October, the investor service company downgraded all major SA banks to Baa1. This did not come as a surprise, following the recent downgrade of the country’s rating.
The reason for the downgrade are concerns over the government’s ability to spur economic growth, reduce unemployment, boost competitiveness and stem rising discontent amongst the poor. It is the country’s first downgrade since 1994 and will increase the costs of borrowing for South Africa.
Lost production in the mining sector alone is going to cost the State approx. R 5.0 Bn. This excludes the costs of the strikes in the transport and agricultural sector. The budget deficit – the gap between revenue and expenditure – has now widened to 4.8% of GDP. This is far more than the 3% that was budgeted for. The shortfall has to be funded by debt, which will come in very expensive.
Moody’s outlook is negative, which implies further downgrades to come.
The downgrade should serve as a wake-up call for the ANC to put the economy on a sustainable footing. It is to be hoped that the ANC puts plans forward to handle the current economic situation at their annual conference in Mangaung in December.
BoE Private Bank and Fairbairn folded into Nedbank Private Wealth ››
Nedbank Group, which is owned by Old Mutual, has restructured the group’s high net worth client entities.
Fairbairn will be known as Nedgroup Trust. The subsidiary BoE Private Bank has been renamed Nedbank Private Wealth. Their fixed income fund is now Nedbank Private Wealth Income Portfolio.
Please note that the above are only name changes.
UK incentive investment scheme in return for residency permits ››
Throughout the world, governments are seeking to promote economic development, investment and job creation through individual investors and entrepreneurs. The United Kingdom has now also started to increase the number of Investors Entrepreneurs.
The investor must be able to show that he has at least £1,000,000 in money of his own, under his control, which is disposable in the UK or £2,000,000 in personal assets and £1,000,000 which has been loaned to him by a UK regulated financial institution; and he will invest at least £750,000 in UK Government bonds, or share or loan capital of UK registered companies.
This investment must be maintained at this minimum level to qualify for the extension of stay and ultimately for indefinite leave to remain.
Please contact Tony R. Hug for further information or to book an appointment.
2. SWISS BANKING
Swiss asset managers have to refund clients fund fees ››
After a top court ordered UBS to return management fees, Swiss asset managers may have to repay a chunk of at least 7 Billion Swiss Francs earned in commissions (“retrocessions”) and other kickbacks to clients.
The Swiss Supreme Court’s ruling last month paves the way for clients to reclaim commission payments charged without their permission, and is another blow to the country’s asset managers.
The ruling by the Court is welcomed and will eliminate conflicts of interest in managing client’s funds.
Switzerland – UK bank clients told to make their choice ››
Swiss banks have begun writing to their UK account holders concerning the effect of the UK-Switzerland withholding tax agreement, which is now certain to come into force in January, 2013.
Account holders must decide whether to authorize the bank to disclose their assets to HM Revenue and Customs via the Swiss authorities, or to retain their anonymity by paying a one-off regularization charge plus withholding taxes on future income and gains.
Swiss Life closes offices ››
The international insurance company closed its Dubai office in October as it focuses on operations in Luxembourg and Singapore.
The office in Liechtenstein will be servicing existing clients but is closed for new business. The company said it had to adapt its model to the requirements in the economic and regulatory environment.
3. SHORT-TERM INSURANCE
GolfEstateSure is growing ››
More clients are seeing the benefits of the policy for residents on golf estates and are changing their policies.
We recently added the following benefits:
- No more tracker requirements on vehicles if you live on a golf estate.
- If you hire a golf cart on another golf estate and you cause damage, your GolfEstateSure policy will give you liability cover (free of charge).
- All Risk items like cellphones and laptops no longer have to be specified and fall under the General All Risk section, subject to an excess of R 1,000.
- There are 3 choices of theft on the contents section: theft excluded, limited theft or full theft cover.
The policy is on average 25% less expensive than conventional policies and the benefits are unique to the South African insurance market.
Recent strikes – are you covered for damages? ››
Striking action is on the increase – which in most cases is followed by malicious damage. Please make sure that you have Sasria cover on your policy. Whilst this is automatically included on all domestic policies, it has to be taken out separately on commercial policies.
Increased theft of Toyotas ››
We have been advised by Cross Country Insurance that they are experiencing a noticeable increase in thefts of Toyota Hilux’s, Fortuners and Landcruisers, particularly in, but not limited to, the Gauteng and KZN areas. Clients who drive Toyota’s must be extra vigilant and more importantly should check that their tracking devices are in working order.
Update on international driving licences ››
If you are not a South African Citizen (no ID book) or not a permanent resident (formal application for permanent residency) then an International Driving Licence is valid as per the licence – it should be in English or have an English translation.
If you are or become a South African resident / citizen you now have 5 years (used to be one year) to convert your licence to a South African licence from when you return to live/become a permanent resident in South Africa.
Is your property unoccupied for more than 60 days per year? ››
Please note that all insurance companies have limitations and/or additional excesses should you not live permanently in your SA home. In order to avoid problems with claims, please notify our short term department (Amanda or Aileen) if the above applies to you.
Discovery Insure fined by the Financial Services Board (FSB) ››
The short-term insurer had to pay a fine of R 50’000 for contravening the Short-Term Insurance Act.
According to the FSB the travel and cash card benefits constituted an inducement for a client to enter into a contract. The benefits were not directly part of the policy contract and therefore illegal.
Discovery has already removed the contravening benefits and restructured the Vitality Drive program.
4. HEALTH CARE COVER
Discovery Health changes for 2013 ››
The largest open health insurer has announced the following:
- The average premium increase for next year is 10.9%
- A new plan, the Classic Comprehensive with no savings account, is introduced. This is to assist plan holders with large accumulated savings balances.
- A new Key care access plan is introduced, aiming at the lower income market earning less than R 3900 p.m.
- There is a 25% cash back at DisChem for chronic medication
- Ipad and Android tablet users can download the Discovery App, which enables a much faster claims handling process, access to data etc.
- From 2014 no Vitality points are carried over and the balance starts at “0” every year.
- Woolworths is a new partner, but only for members on the Classic comprehensive, saver and priority plans. One has to choose if the healthy food discount does apply to Woolworths or Pick n’ Pay – both of them together is unfortunately not possible.
- Vitality Mobile together with CellC is launched – Discovery members on this network can phone each other free of charge.
- Discovery Card is introducing the following new partners as from 2013: Builders Warehouse, Sunglass Hut and Incredible connection.
- The medical savings booster is replaced with the new Health Wallet.
For more information or plan changes, which need to take place by the 7th December, please contact Discovery Health on 0860 998877 or go to www.discoveryhealth.co.za
New tax law in Denmark ››
As of the 1st January 2013 the current stamp duty will be replaced by an insurance premium tax of 1.1%.
This will apply to all o IHI Single Travel and Schengen policies and will be clearly stated as a separate item on the premium notices and payment schedules.
Department of Home Affairs ignores court order ››
The Director General of the Department, Mr. Mkuseli Apleni, finds himself in the court’s docks these days. The Department is facing three lawsuits at the High Courts in Pretoria and Cape Town, after ignoring a court order to process 1000s of long outstanding applications.
The Department is currently in absolute shambles:
- There are only 9 permanent residence adjudicators in South Africa that process 18 applications a day. This is proof of sheer inefficiency that an employee processes two applications per day! The department currently receives 40 new applications per day.
- Missing paperwork is piled up in boxes at the head office in Pretoria after the Department moved. Nobody knows how to sort all the paperwork.
- About 50% of all applications go missing or are misplaced.
- This has resulted in a permit delay of about three years.
The above comes on top of another pending court case, where the Department is accused of unduly delaying the visa application for the Dalai Lama in October last year. The Department could not give any reasonable explanation and the matter is still being heard.
The SA economy is losing Billions of Rands as skilled labour cannot enter the country and investment projects are therefore withdrawn.
We are permanently in contact with the Department to follow up on outstanding applications and are submitting copies of applications. For some clients we have done this 6 times! Unfortunately, some of the offices are not rendering correct information which makes it difficult to establish the application status.
Results from the National Census ››
Herewith some interesting figures:
- The SA population grew by 7 Mio to 51.7 Mio compared to a decade ago.
- Nearly 80% are black, 9% coloured, 9% white and 2% Asian.
- Population growth was the highest in the Western Cape with 29% since 1996.
- The Western Cape has 5.8 Mio inhabitants, of which 48.8% are coloured, 32.9% black and 15.7% white people.
- There are 3.7 Mio people living in the Cape Town area.
- Between 2001 and 2011 there was an inflow of 432’000 people to the Western Cape, compared to an outflow of 129’000.
- 26% of the newcomers were from outside South Africa. The balance is from other provinces, most of them from the Eastern Cape (170’000).
- The unemployment rate in the Western Cape is 22% and 29% for the youth (age 20 to 29), compared to a national average of 29%.
Where do rich people in Cape Town live? ››
The London based consultancy Wealth Insight released a world study on where ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) live. To qualify as such, you need at least a net worth of USD 30 Mio. There are 261 individuals in Johannesburg and 108 in Cape Town. Those in Cape Town live in Higgovale, Green Point, Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof and at the Waterfront Marina.
Places like Clifton or Camps Bay do not feature, because many of these homes are owned by non-residents, which may have been accounted for as UHNWIS in their country of origin.
Did you know…? ››
According to the Greek Finance Ministry, Greeks are estimated to have stashed away Euro 50 bn. in cash at their homes!! Less surprisingly, the increase of house burglaries has gone up by 700% in the last two years….
7. SWISSFIN MATTERS
Personnel changes at SwissFin ››
Ms Jacqueline Oester no longer works for our company as she has found a new challenge in her home country, Switzerland. Mrs Evelyn Roberts will be joining our short-term insurance team as from December and will assist with all administrative matters.
Ms Amanda Rasch is responsible for all domestic clients A-F as well as all commercial accounts including their domestic policies. Mrs Aileen Lawrence will be looking after all domestic clients with the surname letters G-Z.
Ms Virasha Maharaj, our Bupa Broker Consultant, will be joining our branch in Johannesburg as from January 2013.
Our office hours over the festive season ››
Please note that we are open on normal working days from 08.30 to 16.30. However, our offices will be closed on the 24th and 31st December. Please make sure that you have your short-term insurers emergency numbers saved on your cellphone in the event of an emergency.
Herewith some emergency numbers:
- AIG (Chartis): 0861 244353
- BnB Sure: 0800 556677
- Execuline: 0860 103434
- HIC: 011 455 5271
- MUA: 0861 000 682
- Mutual & Federal: 0860 247365
- Santam: 0860 505911
- Vantage: 083 628 3442
- Bupa Global: +44 (0) 1273 323 563
SwissFin has a new website ››
Our new website has been up and running since the beginning of November. Please have a look and let us know if we can improve it for you?
We value your comment ››
Do you want to know about something, share something with us or comment? Please feel free to send us an e-mail so that we can assist.