Month: March 2017

While you were sleeping …

This morning, the nation awoke to the shocking, though not wholly unexpected, news that the finance minister and his deputy, among others, had been ousted, in a ‘cabinet reshuffle’.

Reaction has been almost unanimous in its condemnation of this move: threats to impeach have been repeated, the DA is circulating a #noconfidence petition, and social media is ablaze with comments: from economic and political pundits to your average citizen (one asserting that “only thieves and scoundrels do deals at night”).

Political analyst, Daniel Silke, says that the newly appointed Finance Minister, Malusi Gigaba, will be hard pressed to reassure rating agencies, who will be unnerved by the axing of Gordhan and Jonas.

Whether a downgrade will become a reality or not, investment managers have been anticipating it for some time, given our uncertain economic environment. Portfolio managers have been making adjustments in anticipation of just such depreciation of the rand … and will continue to do so as they watch the market shifts. We have always recommended a diversified portfolio to weather such political and economic changes, and reiterate our commitment to you.

Here is a summary of the cabinet changes from EWN, for those interested in the detail.

We will see much more of the unfolding of these changes next week, following the cabinet meetings scheduled over the weekend with the new ministers, and after the markets have absorbed the impact of the President’s decision.

What is always reassuring to me is that we are all in this together. We all want a thriving economy that results from ethical and responsible leadership.

Warm regards
John Campbell

Demystifying tax implications of retirement funds

And drawing an income one day …

Whilst we are still working and earning a monthly income, we put away money towards our retirement. This is so that, one day, we no longer have to work and can start drawing an income from our retirement savings. That is the plan, but I find that many of my clients are confused regarding how their different investments come together at retirement in order to provide them with this income.

Minding your Ps and RAs

The main retirement savings vehicles are Pension and Provident Funds, and Retirement Annuities. The main difference between these different vehicles is that the former are employer provided funds, whereas the latter are typically used by self-employed individuals, or those people who want to increase their retirement savings.

In addition to these retirement savings vehicles there are also discretionary investments such as unit trusts, shares, tax-free savings accounts, properties, which supplement your retirement savings.

In terms of the Income Tax you are allowed to contribute up to 27.5% of your income towards retirement savings vehicles (Pension and Provident Funds, and Retirement Annuities), and to obtain tax relief on these contributions. You do not receive any tax relief on contributions made to your discretionary investments.

When you reach retirement and wish to retire from your retirement fund investments, there are certain tax concessions that you are entitled to. For Pension Funds and Retirement Annuities you are entitled to take, in Cash, up to one-third of these savings. The first R500,000 of this Cash amount is tax-free, and the balance is taxed according to the following tax table:

  • R500,001 – R700,000 @ 18%
  • R700,001 – R1,050,000 @ 27%
  • Amounts in excess of R1,050,001 @ 36%

The balance of two-thirds needs to be invested in an annuity (pension), which will pay you an income in retirement. As you were entitled to claim your contribution towards these funds as a tax deduction in the build up to retirement, when you start drawing an income from your annuity (pension), this income is taxable in your hands according to the South African Revenue Service published tax tables.

The rules for Provident Fund members are slightly different. Previously they were entitled to cash in their full Provident Fund savings, which amount would be subject to the tax tables mentioned above (first R500,000 tax free, etc.).

However legislation changed on 1 March 2016 whereby, going forward, members of Provident Funds would be subject to the same rules as those members on Pension Funds and Retirement Annuities, whereby they could only take one-third of the value of their fund in Cash, and the balance of two-thirds must be used to provide them with an annuity (pension) in retirement. There are certain exemptions to this requirement:

  • Anyone over the age of 55 on 1 March 2016, who was a member of a Provident Fund, would not be subject to these new regulations
  • In addition, if the fund balance of a member’s Provident Fund is less than R247,500, they will not be forced to buy an annuity with two-thirds of their Provident Fund savings.

In addition to your retirement fund savings, it is important that you also have discretionary savings which can be used to top up your monthly annuity (pension), and to pay for lump sum expenses such as holidays and new vehicles.

The plus of unit trusts

With a unit trust it is a simple matter to draw additional income or lump sums. Units in the unit trust can be sold for this purpose. It is a little more difficult to draw monthly income from a share portfolio as shares normally need to be sold in order to do this. With a property that is rented out, you will receive the rental income on a monthly basis. Where a problem may arise is when you do not have a tenant for your property, or the tenant refuses to pay and you struggle to evict them.

A Certified Financial Planner can assist you to navigate through these various decisions, and advise you on how your retirement savings should be structured, so as to take advantage of any tax concessions you may be entitled to, and ensure that you will have sufficient income in retirement.

Live and Learn

I met Dori Mintzer in Boston in 2014, when I went over to the USA. I had read the book that she and Roberta Taylor had written. The Couple’s Retirement Puzzle is a guide for couples as they navigate retirement together and after reading it, I wanted to meet its author.

I love the impact Dori has made in both the retirement and relationship spaces and I include her principles in the work I do in life-planning meetings with my clients. Underpinning so much of what defines Dori’s contribution is the importance of couples having courageous conversations with each other. In fact, her book’s subtitle is exactly that: “Ten must-have conversations for transitioning to the second half of life”.

In the work that I do, a life-planning meeting is often one of the first times couples tackle some of the serious issues they’ve been too afraid to talk about. A life-planning session can often be the very first time that they have a “must-have” talk.

Those crucial conversations – sometimes decades in the waiting – require courage. And they are hardly ever easy. But what I’ve seen over the years is that those conversations, which sometimes even involve confrontation, generally result in connection.

Right: Dori and i sharing our passion for all things Retirement.

One plus one equals three

I’ve been thinking about what happens behind the scenes of this invisible equation. How does a conversation end up equalling closeness and connection? I think it’s because somewhere, somehow, something profound happens. Between the discomfort and the connection, there is learning.

Learning is the multiplier effect, the fabulous formula that takes a couple from talking to feeling a sense of togetherness. Learning has everything to do with coming across something – or even someone – we didn’t know before.

Have you ever discovered something about your partner at a dinner party, something that you didn’t know before? Someone else asked your wife a question and her answer teaches you something new? When we see something through new eyes, even if it’s a situation or scenario that isn’t of our choosing, we open ourselves to learning. And learning can happen without us even realising it.

Have you ever been retrenched from a job, worked through the humiliation, the having to make ends meet, the needing to change tack mid-career because your situation demanded that of you – and then then ended up thinking that it was the best thing that ever happened to you? Or had a health scare that forced you and your partner to rethink your lifestyle, so much so that you live a better life now than the one you lived before and wouldn’t have it any other way? We have to be open to change, to learning how to do different things – or at the very least, to doing the same thing differently – because not only is that how we survive. It’s how we live.

My challenge to you is simple: don’t be closed to conversation. Discomfort sounds, well, uncomfortable. That’s because it is. But there’s a lot of truth in the adage: “No pain, no gain.” What if you chose to welcome such a conversation? What if it’s just one courageous conversation that stands between you and something magical?

Dori and her husband visited South Africa for the first time a couple of weeks ago and they came to dinner at my home. We didn’t just share dinner though. We shared wine; we shared stories. Dori was travelling with her husband, David – now in his eighties. Together, they opened themselves to exploring Africa. They talk, they travel – and they laugh and learn together. Their learning is their living. Let’s aim for the same.

Click here to access this months Inflight Newsletter in which Kathy Lithgow for sharing her journey of learning with us, thank you Kathy. We love to share stories from our clients.

Best wishes

“Be unpredictable, be real, be interesting … and tell a good story!”

So says author, James Dashner. And you may be forgiven for believing that he was commenting on the state of the global political and economic landscape – now and in 2016. His view is supported by the two presentations by economic gurus, Andrew Salmon and Jeremy Gardiner, hosted at Chartered House in February and March.

Be interesting

Investec’s erudite Jeremy Gardiner accompanied us to our client functions in various parts of the country to update clients on both Chartered’s news and the economy.

Jeremy’s brilliant presentation shares Investec’s views on the global and domestic economies. We love the fact that Jeremy engages his audience through telling a story and using thought-provoking pictures rather than the usual technical graphs. Some key takeaways are in Jeremy’s article which you can read by target=”_blank”>clicking here.

Be unpredictable

A year ago, with where South Africa was, one would never have anticipated such a recovery in the rand. In January last year one dollar was R17 and now it is R13, the pound was R23 and now it is R16. That is between 30 and 40% difference. It was quite something to see much of our returns being diminished by a strengthening rand! And the year got off to a great start with Markets doing more in January than they did the whole of last year. The lesson is to have a balanced portfolio with a spread of asset classes and not to do anything extreme either way.

Be real
In my last newsletter, I took the opportunity to share Budget Speech highlights. Notable changes were the increase in Wealth taxes; we have seen dividend tax increasing from 15 to 20% and the top marginal tax rate increasing from 41% to 45% for anyone earning more than R1.5mill pa. There are also quite severe tax consequences where you have loaned money to a Trust that has not yet been repaid. You are welcome to chat to your financial planner for clarity on any of the changes.

The Davis Committee was mentioned. It is still looking into changing Estate Duty and circumstances under which this will be payable. We will alert you to any changes that may affect you, but are not expecting any more news on this until late August.

We also shared with our clients some of the post migration issues of the Acsis administration moving to Old Mutual Wealth in August last year. We are well aware that the communications out of Old Mutual Wealth have not been ideal, and are working closely with them to ensure that our clients receive statements of a better standard. It is important to note that if you had money invested with Acsis it is now invested with Old Mutual: there are two Old Mutual businesses involved. Andrew Salmon who was the Chief Investment Officer at Acsis is now the CIO at Old Mutual Multi Managers and we are very comfortable that they are managing your funds as well as, if not better than, they were being managed at Acsis. The administration is being done by Old Mutual Wealth, the business that houses the Living Annuities and Tailored Portfolios and we have had some difficulty with them. They are doing a system upgrade in August 2017 and I have been assured that at this point they will be able to offer us a much better service.

Tell a good story
Lastly, I mentioned some of the amazing articles that our clients have written in our various newsletters and social media. We are so grateful for many inspiring stories and articles. On our travels we were impressed by how many people all over South Africa have been inspired by these articles and in many cases made changes in their lives to live and enjoy more enriching experiences.

Kind regards
John Campbell

Jeremy Gardiner’s A to Z

Investec’s erudite Jeremy Gardiner accompanied the Chartered executives to their client functions in various parts of the country to update clients on both Chartered’s news and the economy.

Jeremy’s brilliant presentation shares Investec’s views on the global and domestic economies. We love the fact that Jeremy engages his audience through telling a story and using thought-provoking pictures rather than the usual technical graphs. Some key takeaways are in Jeremy’s article:

Anti-establishment vote
The silent majority. They don’t always know what they want, but they do know what they don’t, and what they don’t want is the status quo: more Clintons, Bushes…or Camerons for that matter. Americans and Brits aren’t alone – also watch France, Italy and Holland this year.

Brexit
Pound nearing 35-year lows, growth holding up so far. Full impact will only be felt over the next five to ten years when corporate leases are up for renewal. Will they stay or will they go? So far, UBS, Goldman Sachs and HSBC plan to move staff.

Cyril
Or Kgalema, or Zweli, or even Pravin. With candidates like these, hopefully we will get it right this time.

Drought
By no means over, but decent rains mean this year’s crops will be much better than last, and that’s reason to celebrate.

France
Three significant terror attacks in the last 18 months – far right led by Marine Le Pen on the rise, fuelled by Brexit and Trump.

Emerging markets
Out of favour since 2009, were just perking up last year when Trump was elected. Hopefully, the recovery can continue. Commodity demand, improved growth and fundamentals, a search for yield and increased developed market political risk should stimulate further recovery.

Germany
A year ago, with Obama, Cameron and European leaders behind her, Angela Merkel was one of the most powerful leaders in the world. A year on, post Brexit and Trump, she finds herself increasingly isolated. If Germany goes nationalist, where does that leave Europe?

Hlaudi
Outrageous. How do our parastatals get to this point? Would be funny if it wasn’t your money.

Italy
Italy’s banks remain a risk. As does its politics. George Soros described Italy as too big to fail but also too big to save. Hopefully, the government’s €20bn rescue fund will be sufficient to revive the ailing banking sector.

Junk
We came so close! Slightly improved growth this year might save us. The rating agencies like our finance minister and they trust him to do what he says he will do. Could those hell bent on removing him for personal gain, please stop?

Killed
Fifty-one South Africans were murdered every day in 2015. As were over a thousand rhino (up from 13 in 2007), totally unacceptable in a civilised society.

Load-shedding
None last year and none going forward. In fact we now have so much electricity, that we’re set to have a surplus by 2022. Indeed, we apparently don’t need the independent power producers, which would be a shame as the sector has attracted R200bn in investment over the past five years.

Malema and Maimane
Whether or not you’d like to see either of them as president is irrelevant. What is relevant is that our democracy is robust and strong, and now more than ever, capable of keeping government in check.

Nuclear
No load-shedding, an electricity surplus and no need for renewables all make the current rush for nuclear and the secrecy around it, seem suspicious/smell slightly. Bottom line is we don’t need it, can’t afford it, and whilst there is nothing wrong with nuclear per se, one can’t help feeling
that those pushing for it, don’t have the country’s energy needs at heart.

Oil
Up double from what it was, but still less than half of what it also once was. Improving growth and producing country cooperation should see firmer, yet still affordable prices.

Pravin Gordhan
Deserves a medal. Simply doing the right thing should not incur such harassment. Fortunately, good does seem to be triumphing over evil, although sometimes only just. What would we have done in 2016 without him?

Quantitative easing
Still going, after all these years. It’s eight years on from the global financial collapse, and so much of the world is still reliant on economic life support. Beware of the day the public loses faith in quantitative easing.

Rand
A stronger rand makes the price we pay for oil cheaper, which brings down the petrol price and therefore transport costs, which brings down food prices and therefore inflation, and therefore interest rates, which makes the newspaper headlines better, and generally consumers happier. Expect a slightly firmer currency this year thanks to commodities and improved growth, assuming our leaders don’t do anything stupid.

Standard & Poor’s, Fitch and Moody’s
Love them or hate them, but they’ll be back in June (around the ANC five-year policy conference) and in December (around the ANC leadership conference). We
survived last year and should survive this year as well – once again, assuming we don’t do anything stupid.

Trump
So far he’s successfully alienated America’s allies, and embraced their enemies and that’s before he even became president. We’ll miss Obama.

US dollar
Strong as an ox in anticipation of Trump driving growth and profits. Promises to be the currency of the year, although Trump’s complaining it’s too strong, which could induce some weakness.

Vladimir Putin
Traditional foe of the West, and unlikely friend of Trump. Not sure who’s playing who, but given the individuals involved, this relationship could still end in tears.

Water restrictions
Get used to them. In force and here to stay, in some form or another. Nasa says 2016 was the hottest year on record. Isn’t this what global warming experts predicted
would start happening?

Xchange controls
Surely it’s time to put this Apartheid relic behind us? Way too many resources spent on enforcing it, plus sends a very negative investment message. If South Africans can’t be trusted to keep their money in the country, why should anyone else invest here?

Yellen
Chair of the US Federal Reserve – the market anticipates two US rate hikes in 2017, not good news for emerging markets like South Africa.

Zuma
Nkandla, Nenegate, Guptas, 783 charges, spy charges – all bets off the table. Anything is possible – impossible to predict.

Some of the Chartered Wealth Solutions clients who joined us for lunch with Jeremy.

Connect with Chartered

Telephone: +27 11 502 2800
Fax: +27 11 502 2812

Email: info@charteredwealth.co.za

Chartered Wealth Solutions is an authorised financial services provider

Chartered House, 2 North Road, Dunkeld West, Johannesburg