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SANLAM LIMITED - Operational Update - June 2020

Release Date: 10/06/2020 13:45
Code(s): SLM     PDF:  
 
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Operational Update - June 2020

Sanlam Limited
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
Registration number 1959/001562/06
JSE share code: SLM
A2X share code: SLM
NSX share code: SLA
ISIN: ZAE000070660
(“Sanlam” or “the Group”)

Operational Update – June 2020

The Group had a solid start to the 2020 financial year as communicated to shareholders
in the Covid-19 update released on the JSE Stock Exchange News Service in March
2020. Most of the operational trends experienced in the second half of 2019 persisted in
the first two months of 2020. The operating environment, however, deteriorated
substantially since the end of February 2020 as governments implemented strict
measures to control the spread of Covid-19. These included the declaration of states of
disaster and emergency in a number of countries where we operate, involving severe
limitations on people movement and preventing face-to-face sales in most of our
businesses. These were in line with similar measures implemented globally. Global
growth estimates were revised down sharply, driving significant volatility in investment
markets across the world.

Despite these headwinds, we achieved acceptable results for the four months to 30
April 2020, testimony to the resilience afforded by our diversified operations and the
skills and exemplary dedication of our employees under difficult conditions.

The Group responded rapidly to the lockdown enforced in South Africa, our largest
market, from midnight 26 March 2020 as well as the lockdowns and curfews
implemented around the same time in our other markets. Close to 90% of our office
staff were enabled to work effectively from home. We will continue to carefully manage
employees returning to work in line with the amendments to lockdown levels, with the
health and safety of our staff being the priority. Our aim is for the majority of our
employees to continue to work from home for the foreseeable future to reduce the risk
of infection and to prepare the business for a new way of work post Covid-19.

Our designation as an essential service in South Africa excludes our tied and
independent advisors in line with the measures in our other markets. As a result, new
business volumes were significantly impacted since the last week of March in the
absence of face-to-face sales. Our investment in digital businesses such as MiWay and
Sanlam Indie, as well as digital sales tools for our advisors, alleviated this pressure to
some extent. The available digital sales tools are, however, more targeted at the
middle-income and affluent market segments. The Sanlam Sky intermediated
distribution channel and many of our other emerging markets channels are still
predominantly based on personal interaction, with a commensurately more pronounced
negative impact on new business sales in these areas. Sanlam Personal Finance (SPF)
accelerated the development of digital tools for Sanlam Sky, which will be launched in
the near future. Accelerated digital enablement is also a key focus for Sanlam Emerging
                                                                                 
Markets (SEM). The slowdown in economic activity following the introduction of the
lockdowns places further pressure on new business growth potential.

The key investment markets where we operate followed global trends, recording
negative returns across the board. Long-term interest rates in South Africa increased
substantially, while reference interest rates in our other key markets were more stable.

                                                    April 2020       March 2020
                                                  year-to-date       year-to-date
    Equity markets – change in indices
    South Africa All Share                             -11.8%             -22.1%
    South Africa Swix                                  -13.9%             -23.8%
    MSCI World (in Rand)                                15.0%               0.8%
    India Sensex                                       -18.3%             -28.6%
    Botswana All Share                                  -0.9%              -0.1%
    Morocco All Share                                  -22.8%             -20.3%
    Cote d’Ivoire ICXCOMP                              -15.3%              -6.7%
    United Kingdom FTSE 100                            -21.8%             -24.8%

    Interest rates – Sanlam reference
    government bond yield
    South Africa 9 year (Dec 2019: 9.3%)                11.2%              11.8%
    Namibia – 7 year (Dec 2019: 8.6%)                    9.6%              11.9%
    Botswana (Dec 2019: 6.5%)                            6.5%               6.5%
    Morocco – 10 year (Dec 2019: 2.8%)                   2.9%               2.7%
    Cote d’Ivoire (Dec 2019: 6.5%)                       6.5%               6.5%
    India – 10 year (Dec 2019: 6.8%)                     6.1%               6.1%
    Malaysia – 10 year (Dec 2019: 3.3%)                  2.9%               3.4%
    UK – 15 year (Dec 2019: 1.2%)                        0.4%               0.5%

The investment market volatility impacted our financial results in four main areas:

•   Investment related fee income at Sanlam Investment Group (SIG) and SPF were
    suppressed by negative investment market returns and commensurately lower
    assets under management.
•   Increasing credit spreads and volatility in the share prices of listed preference
    shares are reflected in marked-to-market losses at Sanlam Specialised Finance
    (SanFin).
•   Credit risk is rising as a result of the deteriorating economic environment, requiring
    an increase in corporate credit provisioning at SanFin.
•   Investment return earned on insurance funds at SEM’s general insurance
    businesses in Africa was adversely affected by negative investment market returns.

Investment return earned on the Group’s capital portfolios were also affected, but this
was to a large extent alleviated by the hedging strategy in place in the South African life
insurance capital portfolio as well as foreign currency translation gains from the weaker
Rand exchange rate.
                                                                                   
The weaker average Rand exchange rates did not have an overall material impact on
the Group’s operational earnings for the four-month period due to offsetting positive and
negative foreign currency translation differences. The latter primarily relates to the
negative investment return on insurance funds in SEM and the weaker Angolan
Kwanza.

Results

All comparative information is for the 4 months ended 30 April 2019 unless otherwise
indicated. Information presented excluding the impact of investment market volatility
has been adjusted to remove those financial impacts separately identified in this
announcement.

The salient features of the Group’s performance for the four months to 30 April 2020
are presented in the table that follows. Growth in key performance indicators for the
three months to 31 March 2020 (compared to the first three months of 2019) is also
provided in the context of the significant impact that Covid-19 lockdowns and curfews
had on the Group’s new business sales from 26 March 2020 to the end of April 2020.

 Key performance indicator (% growth on comparable          April 2020   March 2020
 prior year period unless otherwise indicated)

 Earnings:
    - Net result from financial services                        -21%           -32%
       Excluding investment market impact                        13%            16%
    - Net operational earnings                                  -26%           -40%
       Excluding investment market impact                         2%             1%
    - Headline earnings                                          40%           123%
       Excluding investment market impact                       105%           308%
    - Diluted headline earnings per share                        44%           128%
       Excluding investment market impact                       111%           316%

 Business volumes:
   - New business volumes                                         33%            43%
   - Value of new life insurance business (VNB) -
      consistent economic basis                                  -18%             3%
   - VNB - actual economic basis                                 -22%           -12%
   - VNB margin (margin for the period) (April
      2019: 2,67%) - consistent economic basis                  2,02%          2,33%
   - VNB margin (margin for the period) (April
      2019: 2,67%) - actual economic basis                      1,96%          2,05%
   - Net fund flows                                              -17%           -38%

 Solvency – at end of period:
    - Sanlam Group (December 2019: 211%)                           n/a         201%
    - Sanlam Life Insurance Limited (December                      n/a         269%
       2019: 253%)
    - Sanlam Life internal management view                         n/a         194%
       (December 2019: 206%)

                                                                             
The lines of business most significantly impacted by the volatile investment market
conditions are reflected in the table that follows. These have been excluded in
determining the growth in key performance indicators excluding investment market
impacts in the table above.

                                              April      April    March        March
 R million                                    2020       2019      2020         2019

 SanFin: credit spreads                       (328)          -     (361)              -
   Gross movement in credit spreads           (912)          -   (1 003)              -
   Transfer to asset mismatch reserve           456          -       501              -
   Taxation                                     128          -       141              -
 SanFin: marked-to-market changes
 from listed preference shares                (100)        14      (120)          17
 SPF: Glacier participating fee income         (58)       135      (141)         104
 SEM: Africa General Insurance: net
 investment return on insurance funds         (304)       130      (277)          86
 Investment market impact on net result
 from financial services                      (790)       279      (899)         207

Earnings

Net result from financial services declined by 21% on the first four months of the 2019
financial year. Excluding the negative investment market impact highlighted above, net
result from financial services increased by a pleasing 13%.

o SPF’s net result from financial services declined by 13%. This is largely attributable
  to lower income from life investment products in Glacier where the business shares
  in the actual return earned on the underlying portfolios (refer table above). Excluding
  this, net result from financial services increased by 5%. Risk profits in the Recurring
  Premium business increased strongly, supported by growth in the size of the book
  as well as continued positive claims experience. No Covid-19 mortality claims have
  been received up to the end of April 2020. A small number of sickness benefit
  claims were lodged. The Glacier LISP platform also performed well, with the decline
  in investment markets more than offset by strong net fund inflows. Lower investment
  markets suppressed fee income in the Savings business, contributing to only
  marginal earnings growth. Sanlam Sky experienced a decline in net result from
  financial services, attributable to Covid-19 support to advisers, higher new business
  strain and negative expense assumption changes. The latter two relate to higher
  assumed acquisition and maintenance unit cost due to the negative impact of Covid-
  19 on new business volumes and expected in-force units at the end of 2020.
  Sanlam Personal Loans increased its bad debt provisions by some R50 million
  (Sanlam’s share after tax) to allow for increased credit risk under prevailing
  conditions.

o The decline in equity markets and lower valuations for unlisted properties in North
  West Africa adversely affected investment return earned on SEM’s general
  insurance funds in Africa (refer table above) due to the approximate 40% and 30%
  respective exposures to equities and properties in the portfolio. This more than
  offset an otherwise satisfactory performance. Net result from financial services                                                                               
   declined by 27% as a result. Excluding the general insurance float returns in Africa,
   net result from financial services increased by 29%. Life insurance earnings from the
   Africa portfolio declined slightly on 2019, with satisfactory growth in Botswana,
   Namibia and Nigeria countered by negative investment variances in North West
   Africa. The African general insurance portfolio had a good start to the year from an
   underwriting perspective, achieving a margin within the 5% to 9% target range. All
   key markets delivered improved performances compared to 2019. The negative
   return on insurance funds, however, contributed to an overall negative net insurance
   margin for the four-month period. The Other international region achieved overall
   strong growth. All major businesses in the region contributed to the performance,
   including continued strong profit growth from Shriram General Insurance. It should
   be noted that Sanlam reports the Shriram Capital results with a three-month lag.
   The impact of Covid-19 and regulations in India that allows credit clients a 6-month
   repayment holiday therefore does not yet reflect in these results.

o SIG’s contribution to net result from financial services decreased by 134% (up 19%
  excluding the impact of investment market volatility on SanFin as highlighted
  above). The asset management and wealth management businesses achieved
  sterling growth of 20% despite the pressure on assets under management (the
  average JSE/FTSE Swix index was 10% lower in the first four months of 2020
  compared to the same period in 2019). Earnings benefited from increased
  performance fees, strong net fund inflows at Sanlam Multi Manager and Satrix
  towards the end of 2019 and start of 2020, high demand for currency, equity
  protection and bond derivatives at Sanlam Structured Solutions, increased
  brokerage income at Sanlam Private Wealth and stringent expense management.
  SanFin experienced a decline in net result from financial services from R82 million in
  2019 to a loss of R350 million in 2020, due to rising credit spreads and marked-to-
  marked losses on listed preference shares (refer above), as well as additional credit-
  related provisions of R175 million after tax as credit risk rose in the wake of
  deteriorating economic conditions. The latter includes the first default of R100 million
  net of taxation. In terms of the Group’s accounting policies, 50% of the movement in
  credit spreads in 2020 was transferred to the asset mismatch reserve held in
  respect of non-participating policyholder business. This portion of the movement in
  spreads is attributed to changes in illiquidity premiums that should reverse over
  time. In line with the asset mismatch reserves held in respect of SPF and Sanlam
  Corporate, the SanFin asset mismatch reserve is recognised in future earnings at a
  rate of 16% per annum.

o Santam’s earnings for the period were also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. A
  number of claims for Events Cancellation and Travel Insurance were covered in
  terms of its policies and are in the process of being settled in line with the policy
  conditions. A small minority of commercial and corporate policyholders have cover
  that includes protection against contagious or infectious diseases. This cover is
  provided under either the Contingent Business Interruption (CBI) or the Cancellation
  of Bookings sections of their policies. CBI insurance covers the interruption of a
  business as a result of a localised outbreak of a contagious or infectious disease
  that has directly impacted the business’s operations and caused a loss. Losses as a
  result of governmental restrictions on activity, such as a national lockdown, or the
  existence of a global pandemic, are however not covered. This view is in line with
  the majority of counterparts and reinsurers in the general insurance industry, both                                                                                 
   locally and globally. Provisions for claims from these policies were raised based on
   best estimates of the exposures; however, given the lockdown and the complex
   nature of these claims, significant uncertainty exists over the quantum of the claims
   provisions.

   The lockdown resulted in an otherwise very subdued claims environment for the
   month of April 2020, notably impacting the motor class of business. Santam and
   MiWay respectively provided premium refunds and discounts on motor policies as
   well as other premium relief support to personal and commercial policyholders
   amounting to R327 million. Support of R42 million is also provided to SMME and
   other suppliers.

   Despite these discounts, pressure on top line growth in the current environment and
   the Covid-19 provisions, Santam’s conventional business still managed to achieve
   an underwriting margin at the midpoint of its 4% to 8% target range.

o The management actions implemented by Sanlam Corporate in the past 18 months
  in respect of the repricing of loss-making schemes and improved claims
  management continued to yield positive results, with Group Risk profit reflecting a
  major improvement on the comparable four-month period in 2019. Sanlam
  Corporate’s net result from financial services increased by a particularly satisfactory
  34% as a result.

Net operational earnings decreased by 26%. This is the combined effect of the 21%
decline in net result from financial services and a combined decrease in net investment
return and project expenses from R633 million in the first four months of 2019 to R320
million in 2020. As indicated above, net investment return on capital was shielded from
the full impact of the investment market downturn by hedging strategies applied to the
South African life capital portfolio and foreign currency translation gains.

Headline earnings increased by 40% (44% increase in diluted headline earnings per
share). The decrease in net operational earnings was more than offset by a low 2019
comparative base, which included the one-off accounting cost of R1.7 billion recognised
in terms of International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS) 2 in respect of the B-
BBEE share issuance. Excluding the IFRS 2 charge from the comparative base,
headline earnings declined by 22%.

Business volumes

New business volumes of R96 billion increased by 33% on the first four months of the
2019 financial year. The lockdowns and curfews imposed since the end of March 2020
and throughout April had a significant adverse impact on new business sales
performance. This is reflecting in the table below, which expresses new business sales
in April 2020 as a percentage of the average monthly new business written in the first
three months of 2020. At a Sanlam Group level, overall new business volumes in April
2020 were 12% lower than the average for the three months to 31 March 2020. Sanlam
Corporate was the most severely affected cluster as trustee activity largely stalled in the
first few weeks of the lockdown. The level of engagement and quotes found some
traction recently. The impact of the lockdowns and curfews are not yet fully reflecting in
these results due to timing differences between the writing and recognition of new                                                                                
business. New business production in April and May were in general between 50% and
70% lower than targets across many businesses. Sanlam Sky was more severely
impacted as highlighted before, with new business sales some 90% lower than target.

April 2020 new business volumes as a percentage
of average new business volumes for the 3 months
to 31 March 2020

Sanlam Personal Finance                            90%
 Life insurance                                    95%
 Investments                                       84%
Sanlam Emerging Markets                            85%
 Life insurance                                    82%
 General insurance                                 93%
 Investments                                       80%
Sanlam Investment Group                            93%
Sanlam Corporate                                   47%
 Life insurance                                    61%
 Investment                                        34%

Sanlam Group                                       88%

o   Overall new business volumes at SPF increased by a healthy 18% in the first four
    months of 2020.

    Sanlam Sky new business sales grew by 19%, supported by Capitec Bank funeral
    business, a good start to the year for group recurring business and R37 million of
    new business sales contributed by African Rainbow Life. The lockdown since the
    end of March 2020 had a severe impact on the traditional individual life
    intermediated channel, which is primarily focused on worksites and face-to-face
    sales. New business volumes through this channel declined by 5%, with a further
    deterioration expected in the months to follow.

    The Recurring Premium sub cluster, primarily focused on the middle-income market,
    reflects the pressure on disposable income in this market segment, aggravated by
    the Covid-19 lockdown. New business volumes increased by 1%, with strong growth
    at BrightRock, Sanlam Indie and MiWay Life largely offset by lower sales of
    traditional risk and savings solutions.

    Glacier grew its new business sales by 19%, benefiting from sound demand for
    traditional life annuities, living annuities and international products. Glacier’s money
    market fund also experienced favourable demand.

o   SEM recorded overall new business growth of 43%. The African general insurance
    portfolio exceeded its budget for the period, which allows for a more muted growth
    target as focus remains on the quality of new business. This includes the non-
    renewal of loss-making schemes that cannot be repriced appropriately. Life
    insurance and investment new business volumes in Africa increased markedly on
    2019, with the latter benefiting from large new mandates in Kenya and Namibia.
    North West and East Africa were the main contributors to the growth in new life                                                                                  
    business. The Other international region achieved double-digit growth in life and
    general insurance business, exceeding targets for the period. Shriram Life and
    General Insurance continued to contribute strong growth. Pacific&Orient achieved
    reasonable results under difficult circumstances, as was the case in Lebanon, where
    the country is facing major economic and political challenges. MCIS in Malaysia had
    a slow start to the year, with the mix of business also changing to lower margin
    group business.

o   New business volumes at SIG increased by 42%, with the value of new mandates
    awarded to the South African Investment Management business increasing by 33%,
    while Wealth Management delivered more than double the 2019 level of new
    business. New business at the International businesses exceeded expectations and
    rose by 59%.

o The lockdown and economic slowdown negatively impacted premium growth at
  Santam. Despite these conditions, satisfactory growth in gross written premium was
  achieved, excluding the premium relief noted above. The Santam Commercial and
  Personal intermediated business continued to experience strained growth in the
  current economic climate exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 on new business
  acquisition in April 2020. The Santam Specialist business reported strong growth in
  the corporate property and engineering businesses, while the growth in the travel
  insurance, aviation, transport and marine businesses were negatively impacted by
  Covid-19 in March and April 2020. MiWay maintained its positive growth momentum
  up to the start of the lockdown, after which new business growth was negatively
  affected. Santam Re continued to expand its third-party business and foreign
  currency premium growth benefited from the weakening Rand.

o   Sanlam Corporate achieved 68% growth in new business volumes for the four
    months to April 2020 despite a marked slowdown in April 2020 due to the Covid-19
    lockdown. Sales were, however, skewed towards low margin business.

o   Net VNB decreased by 22% (down 18% on a constant economic basis) largely due
    to lower new life business sales during the lockdown periods, with the higher margin
    businesses such as Sanlam Sky more severely affected. Lower forecasted volumes
    for the full-year increased allowance for acquisition and maintenance unit costs in
    the year-to-date VNB calculations. VNB margins declined commensurately.

o   Overall net fund inflows of R14 billion were 17% lower than the R16 billion achieved
    in the comparable four-month period in 2019. Net inflows at SIG declined due to
    some large client withdrawals, while all other clusters experienced higher net
    inflows.

o   No marked changes in persistency trends were experienced in the first four months
    of 2020.

Capital and solvency

The Group remains well capitalised. The Sanlam Group Solvency Capital Requirement
(SCR) cover ratio amounted to 201% on 31 March 2020 (Sanlam Life Insurance
Limited: 269%). The reduction in the Group cover level from 211% as at 31 December
                                                                                
2019 is largely reflective of the adverse investment market returns in 2020, which
depressed funding levels in the smoothed bonus and participating annuity portfolios.
Funding levels for the larger portfolios were between 84% and 94% at 31 March 2020
but has since recovered to between 92% and 101% in line with the recovery in global
investment markets.

Discretionary capital increased slightly from end-December 2019 to some R360 million,
with no significant movements in the first four months of the year. Future generation of
discretionary capital will be sufficient to fund any planned bolt-on acquisitions.
SEM announced at the beginning of June that it acquired the remaining stake in the
Nigerian insurance business FBN Insurance from its partner, FBN Holdings Plc
(FBNH). This gives the Group 100% ownership of FBN Insurance Limited (FBNI) and
its subsidiary, FBN General Insurance Limited. FBNH held 65% of FBN Insurance,
while Sanlam held 35%. The effective date for Sanlam taking full control of FBN
Insurance was 1 June 2020. The acquisition price was funded from available debt
capacity to further enhance the return on the investment. This is not a categorised
transaction in terms of the JSE Listings Requirements.

This transaction is in line with our business strategy to deepen our presence in our
existing markets and highlights and enhances our long-standing commitment to the
Nigerian market. Sanlam exercised its pre-emptive right to acquire the remaining
shareholding of FBNI and in line with our partnership philosophy that underpins our
business model, we will introduce local shareholding at an appropriate time in the
future. The transaction reflects our belief and confidence in the value and future of the
business as well as the skilled management team and staff. Moreover, we are
committed to Nigeria and view it as a key market on the continent. The African
continent as a whole remains important and an integral part of Sanlam’s future growth.

Outlook

We continue to actively manage the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. Our
priority remains the health and safety of our employees. We are also providing support
to our clients, intermediaries and vulnerable suppliers across our businesses.

The impact of the pandemic on the communities and economies where we operate can
only be managed effectively through concerted efforts between government, business
and labour organisations. We are actively providing our support through the relevant
business associations. In addition, we have to date contributed more than R200 million
to solidarity and other Covid-19 relief funds across our footprint.

We are well positioned to weather the headwinds with a robust balance sheet and
solvency position, diversification across geographies, lines of business and market
segments, and an admirable depth of skills in our businesses as well as at a Board
level. Paul Hanratty and Abigail Mukhuba joining Sanlam as Chief Executive and
Financial Director respectively will further add to the years of experience at an
executive level.
                                                                               
We are, however, cautious about prospects for the remainder of the 2020 financial year
given uncertainty around the eventual impact of Covid-19. The position remains fluid,
but the gradual lifting of lockdown requirements in a number of markets, including South
Africa, should provide some relief to economic activity. Average investment market
levels, credit spread movements, potential credit defaults, the relative strength of the
Rand exchange rate, the level of long-term interest rates and the level of new business
production are some of the key factors that may have an impact on the growth in net
result from financial services, headline earnings and Group Equity Value to be reported
for the six months to 30 June 2020 and the 2020 full year. Potentially lower valuations
of strategic investments at the end of June 2020 may also require impairment of
intangible assets in terms of IFRS.

o New business growth potential and persistency risk remain under pressure in the
  context of anticipated deep economic recessions in many markets as well as
  continued limitations on engagement opportunities for our advisors after the end of
  April 2020. The current level of new business growth is therefore not expected to
  continue with downside risk to VNB.

o Investment market volatility is also likely to persist that may, together with rising
  corporate and retail credit risk from the economic fallout, further suppress earnings.

o The eventual claims experience from Covid-19 also remains uncertain, both at
  Santam as well as our life insurance operations. Our pandemic reserve of some
  R760 million is available to absorb any increased claims due to Covid-19 at the life
  insurance businesses.

The information in this operational update has not been reviewed and reported on by
Sanlam's external auditors. Sanlam’s interim results for the six months ending 30 June
2020 are due to be released on 10 September 2020. Shareholders are advised that this
is not a trading statement as per paragraph 3.4(b) of the JSE Limited Listings
Requirements.

Conference call

A conference call for analysts, investors and the media will take place at 17h00 (South
African time) today. Investors and media who wish to participate in the conference call
should register as indicated below.

Audio dial-in facility

A dial-in facility will be available. Please register at
https://www.diamondpass.net/8462781 for the call. Registered participants will receive
their dial-in number upon registration. For assistance, please contact Sanlam Investor
Relations at +2721 947 8455.

Recorded playback will be available until 15 June 2020.

Access Numbers for Recorded Playback:

Access code for recorded playback: 10034921

                                                                             
 South Africa            010 500 4108
 USA and Canada          1 412 317 0088
 UK                      0 203 608 8021
 Other Countries         +27 10 500 4108

For further information on Sanlam, please visit our website at www.sanlam.com

Cape Town
10 June 2020

Sponsor
The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited
                                                                         

Date: 10-06-2020 01:45:00
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