Glacier by Sanlam

Glacier CEO World-Class Vision

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Khanyi Nzukuma is the new CEO of Glacier by Sanlam – a leading provider of investment solutions. Synonymous with visionary leadership and best business practices, he’s steering Glacier towards a bright future with a strategy that’s tech-led and innovation-focused. Deciding to return to the 100-year-old Sanlamgroup 10 months ago was an easydecision for Khanyi, who says he’s excited to be back with a business that’s always felt like family.“I started my career as a Sanlam financial adviser in1994 and have always felt a strong affinity with the group.

Glacier is a big company with an entrepreneurial feel, comprising under 800 people managing around R280-billion in assets (as at August 2018). Our culture allows us to work together like a family and make decisions quickly,with speedy execution that allows for ongoing nimbleness. ”Khanyi calls Glacier’s people and culture its “most significant assets”. His leadership style emphasises the importance of talent retention and communicating a clear vision for his team to get behind, “I think success is premised on providing a plan that can implement outcomes; not pretty speeches.” This is certainly evident in the results he achieved as CEO of Metropolitan Retail, and also of Momentum Retail. He says the biggest lesson he carries to Glacier is the ability to balance expectations from all stakeholders – clients, staff and shareholders. He believes that in just 20 years, Glacier’s intermediated model has already achieved that balance. A success he plans to build on by championing channel and product diversification and leveraging the platform’s existing market segment while expanding into new territory.

Khanyi’s vision for Glacier

Breaking into new market segments:

Developing new distribution channels and products is another ongoing focus. “Glacier is a leading investment platform in the country. Going forward, we need to diversify our audience profile through the creation of new products that appeal to the middle market segment and younger consumers who are accumulating wealth. Of course, we will continue to look after our traditional affluent and mature market, which has also changed considerably in demographic profile over the years.” There’s a lot of opportunity in the middle market, including developing products and channels aimed mainly at millennials. Research shows Gen X prefers a tech-led, self-directed approach to most money matters. A mistrust of financial institutions means millennials are often averse to seeking advice. Which feeds into Khanyi’s aim to launch products with lower required investment minimums and also to ramp up the tech-side of the offering.

A technology-led approach:

A rapidly changing world is demanding flexible products that meet the needs of multiple market sectors. With the Fourth Industrial Revolution looming, technology is imperative to success and a key component of Khanyi’s strategy for Glacier. He says, “Tech drops the cost of doing business and makes for a better experience. It gives us a competitive edge. Our people are our primary asset, followed by our technologies. These two factors are our biggest differentiators.”

“I think success is premised on providing a plan that can implement outcomes; not pretty speeches.”

Khanyi sees tech as complementing face-to-face advice – never as a replacement for this. With the rise of roboadvice,

he believes there’s a bigger role than ever for intermediaries who assume the role of ‘life coaches’, building real, lasting relationships with clients, based on mutual trust. He believes investment platforms are the best place for this hybrid to happily co-exist. 

“Investment platforms are home to online tools and calculators which, along with guidance and advice from an adviser, help to  shape a client’s investment strategy and portfolio selection. Our ICE (Investment Construction and Evaluation) tool, for example, allows for seamless portfolio construction. This provides a holistic approach aligned with a client’s particular affinity or aversion to being either more or less conservative in their investment approach.

Using investment platforms to save SA’s savings culture:

An investment platform lets clients invest in a wide range of Collective Investment Scheme (CIS) or unit trust portfolios, from different asset managers, all under one roof. He believes platformbased savings products are the future and have the potential to help turn SA’s poor savings culture around, because of their flexibility. Platforms allow people to stop contributions for a while if their personal circumstances have changed, without making it punitive to do so.

Here are five other reasons to invest via a platform:

  1. It’s secure: the platform never owns investors’ money; client funds are deposited into a separate account or the retirement fund’s account. Investments in Glacier’s Investment-Linked Living Annuities (a post-retirement income product) are backed by the larger Sanlam group for added reassurance.
  2. It’s managed by a single administrator which provides a single view of all investments and simplified paperwork.
  3. It’s efficient and cost-effective - you can switch easily between portfolios, although advice is recommended before doing so.
  4. It’s transparent, with law requiring all costs to be disclosed to clients before they invest.
  5. It’s innovative: New offerings are continuously being driven by changing investor needs, plus evolving legislation and technology – such as the new retirement income solutions with income guarantees.

In addition to its platform investments, Glacier also offers a number of guarantee-type solutions for the more cautious investor looking for some certainty. The life investment products are underwritten by Sanlam Life.

Expanding across Africa:

The final part of Khanyi’s vision is pan-African expansion, “Sanlam’s position as the non-banking financial services company with the largest pan-African footprint across 33 countries presents unprecedented opportunity for Glacier. It gives us credibility with individuals who work for the multinationals across the continent. It provides the perfect opportunity for scalability and expansion into other emerging markets. Africa is being heralded as ‘the next China’. It’s a continent of unrivalled potential that we’re proud to call home. Sanlam has been here for the last 100 years and will be for the next 100 and more.”

Glacier by Sanlam

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Issue 83


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