Author: John Campbell

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Reporting from the Helm March 2022

Staying calm during the Russia-Ukraine conflict

We enjoyed seeing all our clients who attended the Jeremy Gardiner events over the past month. It was wonderful to be back face-to-face, engaging and socialising, something which most of us have missed over the past two years. It’s hard to believe that after a positive start to 2022, we are now having to deal with another crisis. Far from home, the Russian -Ukraine crisis has been developing, and we are starting to feel the repercussions of this conflict. The most direct impact has been on the fuel price, which reached record highs at the beginning of the month, but far more significant has been the volatility we are witnessing in the investment markets.

It is well known that emotions drive financial markets. The uncertainty created by the conflict and the unpredictable future, and the steps taken to cut Russia off from the world, where they now have the most significant sanctions ever imposed on a country, leave the world markets in a fragile state. The South African market is also highly volatile, with the most significant impact being on Naspers, the largest company on the JSE. They have interests in Russian social media companies and high exposure to Asian tech businesses through its holdings in the Chinese tech giant Tencent. The technology sector has been the hardest hit across the globe. Naspers’ share price is down almost 40% since the start of the year, its lowest in two decades.

At this time, we believe it is prudent to remind you of our approach to investing and the importance of not panicking or making any irrational decisions. Our Investment Consultants, Morningstar, Portfoliometrix and Old Mutual Multi Managers draw on investment data from other significant historical events and work closely with their selected Fund Managers to ensure your investment strategy is well-positioned through this uncertainty, always knowing that markets inevitably correct themselves.

Our team at Chartered are here to discuss any concerns you may have through this uncertain time. As South Africans, we have learnt to be resilient, and these last two years have certainly tested this. Look after yourselves and make the most of the remaining few weeks of summer.

Warm regards,
John

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Reporting from the Helm February 2022

We are well into 2022, and there is no doubt that we have returned to a little more normality as the severity of Covid seems less threatening. For those of you who have children or grandchildren who attend university, after a long December break and welcome time with family, it was time to bid them farewell as they headed back to start university.

We are looking forward to hosting our client roadshows around the country. Our roadshow kicked off last week in Johannesburg with Jeremy Gardiner. During these roadshows, Jeremy will be sharing his insights into the local and global economic landscape. It is quite hard to believe that we have not held these events in person for the past two years, and we are excited to connect with you at the various regional sessions around the country.

At Chartered, we are all back in the office, and there is a renewed energy, something that we have not felt for a long time. Although vaccinations are of a very personal nature, I am pleased to report that all the staff working in our Chartered building and our regional offices are vaccinated. Based on the nature of our business and the age group of our clients, we felt that it would be prudent for all staff to be vaccinated.

We have always worked hard at Chartered to ensure we keep ahead and innovate and improve our advice process at every stage possible. We are 19 years old this year, and it’s interesting to reflect on the past and establish what we could have done differently. Capital gains tax was a new tax when we started the business and was a tax that didn’t seem too onerous back then. However, it has almost doubled since it was launched and has become a real hindrance to keeping clients invested in our recommended investment solutions. This is primarily due to clients not wanting to change anything in their investments as it will result in having to pay capital gains tax. Over the past few years, we have been working on a solution to ensure that any changes made to any investments that we recommend would not attract any capital gains tax. We are pleased to report that we will be launching this solution in the next couple of months. Through this exercise, the most crucial factor was to ensure that we don’t compromise our investment offering and continue using Investment Consultants like PMX and Morningstar. Our Retiremeant™ Specialists will be sharing details of this enhanced offering with you over the next few months, prior to the launch in the middle of the year.

I hope you enjoy reading this edition of The Beacon, which includes articles about wealth protection – how much is enough, the investment merits of Bitcoin, the pros and pitfalls when appointing your children as executors of your estate, and finally, tax deductions on your pension or annuity.

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Reporting from the Helm November 2021

The year is gradually drawing to a close, and I am sure the Christmas shopping and holiday preparations are well underway for many of you. Unfortunately, with the 4th wave upon us, many of you have had to change your plans and possibly won’t be seeing your loved ones due to international travel bans. Our thoughts and best wishes are with all of you. Thank you for your continued support this year. It has once again been a trying one as we continue to navigate through uncertain times.

We are taking all the necessary Covid precautions to keep our clients and staff safe. I am grateful to our team for playing their part in this and are currently 92% vaccinated. It is encouraging to note that as we plan for the year ahead, the focus of our conversations has been on opening up and moving forward rather than shutting off and preserving.

Our planning teams have spent much time reflecting on the year and taking our learnings into 2022. Although Chartered has specialised in retirement planning over the past eight years, and mainly due to positive engagements and feedback from our clients, we have included a few other services to enhance our advice offering. These have included Kerryn and her team at Chartered Legacy & Trust. We have seen a huge benefit to bringing your RetiremeantTM Specialist and our Legal Advisors in Legacy into your estate planning conversations and ensuring that the drafting of your Will and ultimately the execution of your Will are seamless. Subsequently, we included Charmaine and Chartered Tax into the business five years ago as we found that tax planning and submission had become quite onerous and complex. Taking this stress and uncertainty away from our clients has had many benefits. More than 400 clients are now enjoying this service, and in many cases, we can take care of all tax submissions without having to hound our clients for documents as we have access to most of these within the business. More recently, there has been merit in using Chartered Tax to do the estate late tax returns; this is still fairly new to SARS, and Charmaine has been complimented on her understanding of this specialist area of work.

We recently included Personal Share portfolio management into the Chartered Invest Service. It has been encouraging to see how many clients have appointed us to assist them in this area. The Local and Global investment universe has also become highly complex and not so easy to navigate alone. During the course of 2022, we are looking forward to rolling out an enhanced investment offering using our current Investment Consultants Morningstar and Portfoliometrix.

We look forward to a more positive year in 2022.

Warm regards,
John

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Reporting from the Helm September 2021

While the rapid development of vaccines against COVID‑19 is an extraordinary achievement, successfully vaccinating the global population presents many challenges. There has been much excitement at Chartered, and a little apprehension, as all our staff now have the opportunity to get vaccinated. Our President pleaded with the nation in his address on Sunday evening. If we all want our lives to return to some sense of normality, we all have a duty to get vaccinated. I know this topic can be controversial, but I am pleased to report that the take up has been exceptional as we all ensure that our work environment is safe and healthy. This ultimately benefits our colleagues, clients, our families, and the general population, and the benefits include not only possibly saving your life but someone else’s. When I heard mention of a 4th wave at the end of November, my heart sank, knowing the ongoing toll on human life, although I am comforted that we now can manage the severity of this wave by getting vaccinated

On a positive note, many of us are back in the office, and the corridors and meeting rooms are filled with the sounds we missed working from home. We have pencilled in an official return to the office day of 1 November, a date by which we should all be fully vaccinated. There has been much debate in business around the new hybrid work model, where there is a strong argument for allowing flexibility between working from home versus in the office. With the past 20 months to test this, and in line with global businesses, we have adopted this model where staff can enjoy more flexibility but will be in the office for a set number of hours per week. We are pleased to share that many more clients are visiting Chartered as their confidence grows following their vaccinations.

Other exciting news is that our Investment Committee has been working hard behind the scenes to refine and expand our investment offering. We introduced Morningstar to our business almost two years ago, and this partnership continues to grow along with that of Portfoliometrix. Outside of our unit trust investment strategy solutions, we have seen a growing need from select clients for a more bespoke and sophisticated offering focusing on local and global share portfolios. We have facilitated this through other providers for the past 14 years and are pleased to share that we have now brought this offering in-house under the Chartered Invest banner. We welcomed Robbie Goldsworthy to Chartered at the beginning of last year, and more recently, Glen Baker has joined us. Collectively they boast over 40 years of experience in the asset management industry with a significant tenure at HSBC, RMB Morgan Stanley, Cratos Asset Management and most recently Anchor Capital. They are already adding considerable value to Chartered, both on the due diligence process of providers, and in engaging with our clients on the more complex investment offerings.

Enjoy the following articles, and we look forward to seeing you back at Chartered in the weeks and months ahead.

Warm regards,
John

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Reporting from the Helm July 2021

I do not doubt that there was a collective gasp of disbelief as we all watched helplessly as chaos engulfed our country these past few days. None of us have been left unaffected by these events. Uncertainty, fear and vulnerability are sentiments we are hearing from our communities, family, friends and clients. Kim and I wanted to share our personal reflections of the last few days with you, and more importantly, to reassure you that we are here for you and here to assist you wherever we can.

Just when we thought we had enough to deal with, we have watched KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng descend into chaos. When news broke on Saturday morning that 38 trucks had been torched overnight in the vicinity of Mooi River and Howick, we had no idea that four days later we would be witnessing the total devastation that followed. Watching the news on tv, I can only recall one other occasion in my adult life where I could not believe my eyes and that was when the planes flew into the world trade centre in New York. Imprisoning Jacob Zuma last week has been blamed as the trigger of these events, although there seems to be far more at play that most of us have no understanding of.

When I turned on my phone on Tuesday morning, there was a message on our community WhatsApp group requesting any men with firearms to help man roadblocks. A second request followed for any ladies with nursing experience to please support our local hospital to assist patients as staff had not arrived at work. During these past few days, we have received many requests for help with feeding people on the front line, as no supplies are coming into town. Pietermaritzburg and Howick are almost totally destroyed, and we as a community in Hilton are doing everything we can to prevent our local shopping centre from being looted and destroyed. Our community groups have been the most active ever, with footage of the activities and carnage in surrounding areas. Most of the roads in the area are closed, and all the shops have been closed since Sunday. This evening, a local farmer kindly delivered a milk trailer to the top of our road, where residents gathered with containers to stock up.

Who would have ever thought we would find ourselves at the peak of a pandemic, with many people fighting for their lives and now having to contend with the chaos and disruption of the last few days and the genuine threats of looming food shortages.

And while the situation is dire and seemingly hopeless, I have to acknowledge how deeply moved I have been by the strong sense of community that has not only been displayed in my community of Hilton but through communities countrywide. These acts of kindness and community give me hope for the future of our country and our ability to rebuild what has been broken.

Please all take care and stay healthy in the days and weeks ahead as we navigate yet another very challenging time in our country. Our whole team is available and are here to support you.

Warm regards,
John

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Reporting from the Helm June 2021

I am sure you all enjoyed celebrating Father’s Day in some form. However, this was probably more strained than ever before as we all try and navigate this third wave that is proving to be far worse than anything we have experienced yet. Since my letter of two weeks ago when I shared that we would be closing the offices, Gauteng certainly has been hard hit, including many staff and their families. My son was sent home sick from boarding school; he had a negative test at school but then tested positive four days later, so we were all on tenterhooks. Unfortunately I tested positive on Tuesday. All six of our family have had Covid, and thankfully they all made a full recovery; I am hopeful that I will do the same.

Reflecting back on my 27-year career, we have been through a few extreme financial crises, which at the time seemed catastrophic, but nothing has been as far-reaching as this pandemic. As the number of deaths globally crossed the four million mark this past week, it really highlighted the horrific human toll and how our lives have been transformed. The one example that I experience every day is how we now work, and I often reflect on a day at my desk where I have had several hours of meetings on zoom without leaving my seat; who would have believed that this would ever be possible.

The consequences of the pandemic have been widespread. We have seen the tourism and hospitality industries probably taking the most significant knock as governments worldwide have been swift to limit people’s movement and prevent gatherings; other industries have flourished. We have all enjoyed the stock market recovery, which bodes well for growth as the pandemic subsides, yet the current situation remains one of economic devastation.

At Chartered, we soldier on, and although this third wave has had the most impact on our people, we are doing all we can to support them and their loved ones. The vaccines are gradually being rolled out, and I am sure we will all have benefitted from this programme by the end of the year. Most of our clients have now had the first vaccine and hopefully feeling a little more confident going up against this virus.

Lastly, many of you have also lost loved ones and have family members who are ill, and our thoughts are with all of you. Please keep us informed and let us know how we can support you during this fragile time.

On a positive note, a special thank you to all our clients for persevering through this challenging time. Without you all taking the time out to embrace technology and being so willing to learn how to use zoom and sign documents online, we would not have managed. We have really missed all our face-to-face client functions and are grateful that many of you take the time out to join us online occasionally. Please continue to give us feedback as to how we can improve our service to you.

Take care, warm regards
John

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Reporting from the Helm April 2021

Having just returned from a beautiful timeshare week at Sabie River Chalets, it was quite an adjustment getting used to the cooler winter evenings. With the Easter holidays behind us, we hope we have managed to avoid the third wave of Covid. Although it is still too early to tell, it is comforting to see the numbers keeping relatively low. I am sure that most of you who are over 60 have now registered for the vaccine and look forward to getting a little closer to putting this virus behind us.

Life at Chartered is gradually normalising as we have more staff in the office daily. The toll of working from home has been more extensive than most people have realised, and although working from home was novel, there is no doubt that we work more efficiently in the office. We have discussed our working model going forward and have agreed that a hybrid (work from the office and home) type arrangement has its benefits, although the bulk of our staff’s time will be in the office. This is very much role-specific, where support staff could spend more time working from home.

Something that challenges us on an ongoing basis is forever increasing regulation in our industry. At Chartered, we have embraced this and recognise the importance of protecting you and your personal information and ensuring that our business is protected. I know that our ongoing requests for updated proof of residence can be most frustrating for you, and we have been working on simplifying our process. The one snag with streamlining this process is that it requires increased technology skills, which many of our older clients struggle with. We will be sending you an email in the months ahead of where you can upload things like your ID and proof of residence directly onto our server, saving you having to print these and bring them in every year. We are also looking at ways to assist you with online signatures, saving you on printing costs. We will share more with you in the months ahead as we refine these opportunities.

Congratulations to our very passionate Kim on her new book Midlife Money Makeover. This book hit the shelves in all major bookstores at the beginning of April and has climbed the bestseller list in Exclusive books every day. Kim has been planning this book for the last few years, and lockdown became the perfect opportunity to complete it. Thank you to all of you who have shared your valuable stories inspiring Kim in her learnings and writings. I would encourage you, your family, and your friends to read this book filled with many inspiring and valuable money lessons.

Enjoy our latest newsletter where Tom, the Director in charge of our Cape Town office, shares some valuable insights on Provisional tax. Philene, our senior legal adviser in Chartered Legacy, continues her three-part series on a Will’s importance. Lastly, Wade, head of the Wealth Creation division, shares the importance of financial planning in your 20s and where one starts.

Look after yourselves and enjoy your warm homes as winter approaches.

Warm regards,
John

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Reporting From the Helm February 2021

January felt like a bit of a false start to 2021. February has arrived, and our President welcomed the month in with the good news that some of the more extreme level three lockdown measures have been relaxed. You can now enjoy a glass of wine with dinner and may even have enough time for a second glass as the alcohol ban has been lifted and the curfew changed from 9 pm to 11 pm. Along with many other parents we got to drop our two younger sons off at boarding school last week. We now eagerly await the matric results due out later this month, and hopefully will be sending our eldest son to join my daughter at university in Cape Town. All in all, a bit of a delayed start, but certainly good to have a little normality returning to our lives.

These last two months have been particularly concerning as we have seen the second wave of Covid affect many of our families and friends. It has been quite devastating to witness the impact of this pandemic, and I think for all of us it has come a little closer to home this time around. It is encouraging to see that the first vaccine delivery has arrived in SA, although the roll out has now been put on hold. As I mentioned in January, we had decided to keep the offices closed to prevent any further contagion. We will be relaxing this slightly in February and will hopefully be getting back into full swing in March. We can’t wait to welcome you all back to Chartered, but we will continue to be cautious and only recommend that clients come in where necessary, such as for the signing of documentation.

The good news from January was the significant upswing in the markets. The All-Share index finished 5.2% up for the month, which was primarily due to Naspers growing 15.2%. In the last quarter of 2020, we saw the best quarterly return in emerging markets in the past ten years—eventually a reward for our patience in the markets. Last year will still go down in history as one of the most volatile years on the JSE, with a low of 38000 points and a high of 59000. The same applied to the rand, which started the year at R14 to the dollar and went as high as R19.03. These short-term fluctuations in both the currency and the markets should not detract from the longer-term objectives of your financial plan.

Thank you to all of you our clients for persevering through a challenging ten months, your understanding has been appreciated as we have all been challenged with online meetings and client events. We will continue with our online events for the foreseeable future until it is safe for crowds to gather again at Chartered. Please keep in touch, let us know how you are doing and look after your health. We look forward to seeing you online soon.

Warm regards
John

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Reporting from the Helm January 2021

Wishing you a happy and healthy 2021.

Although the holidays and festive season was a little different to what we have experienced in the past, I am sure you all enjoyed some downtime with your family and friends.

Like many other families, we too had a wave of Covid pass through our family; fortunately, everyone got through it without getting too sick. This included my 80-year-old mother, who was fortunate to recover relatively unscathed. I somehow managed to avoid it while living with Ang and three children with Covid. 

We all witnessed our President pleading with the nation to exercise extreme caution as he introduced level 3 lockdown measures. Last night the UK was put into hard lockdown, and there are rumours that we could be following. Therefore, we have decided to be both prudent and cautious and not reopen the office on the 4 January as planned. We are all online and will continue to work as we did last year until the end of January. A few of our team are still on leave until the 11th; however, most of us are back and can be contacted via phone, email or zoom. We will continue to do our best to serve you.

Unfortunately, this is not the start that any of us wished for in 2021. You will all agree that our health comes first as we continue to navigate this dreaded virus. Please continue to exercise extreme caution and look after yourselves; we look forward to seeing you either online or in-person in the not too distant future.

Warm regards
John

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Reporting from the Helm December 2020

This year will undoubtedly be one for the history books; however, I have intentionally decided not to speak about Covid in this newsletter as we have all had a tough year and are coming to terms with this new normal. I prefer to highlight the positives of 2020.

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The Chartered Wealth Solutions Directors
From left to right: Kim Potgieter, Caroline Adams,
John Campbell, Barclay Hoar and James Carvalho

One of our goals at Chartered is to grow the Chartered Family. While we run numerous initiatives within the business, including a very successful Articled Planner programme, we seldom get an opportunity to benchmark ourselves against our peers. Over the past 13 years, we have entered several competitions run by the Financial Planning Institute (FPI). We have been the proud winners of the Financial Planner of the Year competition twice, and have been a runner up six times. This year the FPI introduced the FPI Approved Professional Practice of the Year Award. At a first attempt, we were proud to be awarded as a top three finalist. As the saying goes: if you are not learning, you are not growing, and in a fast-moving world if you are not growing, you are decaying. We use these competitions as a call to action to ensure that we continually futureproof the business and carry on being thought leaders and a prominent player in the financial planning industry.

In this past year, we have successfully opened our Cape Town office. Tom Brukman and his team have made good inroads into the Cape, especially considering the challenging year we have encountered. Part of our strategy has been opening offices in areas in South Africa where we have a significant client base.

We used to joke about people “semigrating” from Gauteng to the Cape, but unfortunately in the last few years this has changed, and we have witnessed a growing trend of people leaving South Africa. Included in this are an increasing number of clients and their families. Historically we have referred clients to other practices globally. However, as this trend is
likely to continue, we have decided to support the opening of a partner firm in Mauritius which can take care of the growing number of clients living abroad. From an estate planning perspective, this also simplifies leaving assets to children living in different parts of the world. We look forward to sharing the other exciting opportunities that this initiative creates in the new year.

Some more exciting news is the successful launch of Chartered Invest. This business has been in the making for the past four years. One of our roles as a Financial Planner is to take the complex world of finance and investing and make it simple and understandable to our clients. This was one of the primary drivers for this business. We can now house all your investments on one platform, using one administrator. This means you can get one statement from one company with all of your various investments, including Old Mutual Multi-Managers, PortfolioMetrix and any other unit trusts you may have. As a family, there is also a fee saving to having all your investments in one place. A few of our clients have moved onto this new platform, and again we look forward to discussing these benefits with you in 2021.

As the saying goes, never allow a crisis to go to waste. We have indeed found every opportunity to make the most of a tough year and have adapted well under the circumstances. Thank you to all our staff and clients for your unwavering support and contribution to Chartered this year. We are ready for 2021 and look forward to applying the learnings from this year into the future.

Warm regards
John

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