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Sanlam Limited
Public company
Traded asJSE: SLM
IndustryInsurance, asset management, wealth management, investments
Founded1918; 101 years ago (1918)[1]
HeadquartersBellville, Western Cape, South Africa[2]
Key people
Ian Kirk, CEO

Heinie Werth, CFO

Johan van Zyl, Chairman
RevenueUSD[3] 87.60 billion (2017)
USD921 millions (2017)
Number of employees
~21 000 (2018)

Sanlam is a South African financial services group headquartered in Bellville, Western Cape,[2] and listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the Namibian Stock Exchange and the A2X.

Established in 1918 as a life insurance company,[4] Sanlam Group has developed over time into a diversified financial services business. Its five business clusters comprise Sanlam Personal Finance, Sanlam Emerging Markets, Sanlam Investments, Sanlam Corporate and Santam.

The group's areas of expertise include insurance (life and general), financial planning, retirement, annuities, trusts, wills, short-term insurance, asset management, risk management and capital market activities, investments and wealth. The group operates in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mauritius, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, India, Malaysia and the UK, and has business interests in the US, Australia, Burundi, Lesotho and the Philippines.

It's 2018 acquisition of SAHAM Finances has made it Africa's biggest non-banking financial services player and has given it exposure to Morocco, Angola, Algeria, Tunisia, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cote D'lvoire, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.


The Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Trust en Assuransie Maatskappij Beperk (South African National Trust and Assurance Company Limited), Santam, was registered on 28 March 1918. It was then decided to convert the life assurance department into a separate company, and the Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Lewens Assuransie Maatskappij Beperk (South African National Life Assurance Company Limited), Sanlam, was registered on 8 June 1918. Sanlam, the subsidiary, later became the spearhead of the operation, while Santam remained focused on short-term insurance.

Sanlam showed a small profit at the end of its first year, declared a bonus, and continued to grow consistently from there.

Santam remained the controlling shareholder until 1954 when Sanlam became an independent mutual life assurance company, as well as the largest single shareholder in Santam.

Over the years, Sanlam's focus gradually shifted from traditional life insurance to providing a broader range of financial products and services. In 1998 Sanlam demutualised, listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) Ltd and the Namibian Stock Exchange. This changed Sanlam from a mutual entity into a public company with a share capital, namely Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd. At the same time a separate company, Sanlam Ltd, was installed as the parent company of the Sanlam group of businesses. The group was also restructured into several independent businesses within a federal business structure.

Today, Sanlam is a diversified financial services provider with an extensive product offering catering for all market segments. The group has consistently grown its local as well as an international footprint – it now has a presence in 33 African countries and also India, Malaysia, the UK and Ireland, the USA, Australia and the Philippines.

In mid-January 2017, a 20-year-old controversy involving Sanlam resurfaced due to a preliminary report compiled by Busisiwe Mkhwebane, Public Protector of South Africa.[5] Mkhwebane's report is based on the 1997–1999 Ciex investigation, according to which Sanlam embezzled state funds during the Apartheid era in a multilayered transaction that included Absa, Rembrandt (Richmont), Nedbank and the First National Bank of South Africa. The Ciex investigation summary claims Sanlam should pay R3.8 billion for its role in the illegal transaction.[6]

In 2018, Sanlam concluded its $1.1 billion acquisition of SAHAM Finances.[7][8][9][10] Additionally, the group announced details of its R11 billion BEE deal,[11][12][13] which will see it increasing its direct black shareholding to 18% and black economic ownership to 35%.

Economic empowerment[edit]

Sanlam has since 1993 contributed to broad-based black economic empowerment (B-BBEE) through the group’s partnership with Ubuntu-Botho Investments.[14]

The Ubuntu-Botho B-BBEE partnership resulted in a broad-based black empowerment consortium buying a 10% shareholding in Sanlam[15] in what was to become one of the most far-reaching black empowerment transactions in South Africa to date.

In December 2013, the initial 10-year contractual period of the transaction with Ubuntu-Botho[16] ended, with a final total of 66.5 million deferred shares qualifying for conversion to ordinary shares. The deal created value of about R15 billion. In 2014, an agreement was reached[17] to extend the partnership with Ubuntu-Botho into the future.

In 2018, Sanlam announced details of BEE transactions, which will increase its direct black shareholding to 18% and black economic ownership to 35%. The Group will sell 5% of its issued shares to new and existing B-BBEE shareholders, creating a master trust that caters to 80% of the intended beneficiaries, with Ubuntu-Botho benefitting from the other 20%.  


The corporate office of the Sanlam Group is responsible for centralised functions that include strategic direction, group financial and risk management, group marketing and communications, group human resources and information technology, group sustainability management, corporate social investment and general group services.

In addition, the Sanlam group operations are managed through five operating clusters:

  • Sanlam Personal Finance
  • Sanlam Emerging Markets
  • Sanlam Investments
  • Sanlam Corporate
  • Santam

The core businesses within each cluster are as follows (wholly owned unless otherwise indicated):

Sanlam Personal Finance[edit]

The largest business in the Sanlam Group of companies, with 11 363 employees and assets worth R477, 287 million under management.

  • Sanlam Sky Solutions: Financial services for individuals and groups in the entry-level market
  • Sanlam Individual Life: Financial services to the middle-income, professional and business-owner markets
  • Glacier: Wealth management and investment solutions

Strategic business development consists of the following diversified financial services: Sanlam Trust (estate and trust services), Multi-Data (electronic money-transfer activities), Sanlam Healthcare Management (medical scheme administration services), Sanlam Personal Loans (70%) (personal loans joint venture), Reality (loyalty programme) and Anglo African Finance (55%) (trade and bridging finance).

Sanlam Emerging Markets[edit]

The Sanlam Emerging Markets cluster is responsible for Sanlam’s financial business services (life insurance, general insurance, banking, retail credit, health, bancassurance, asset management and specialist general insurance products) in emerging markets outside South Africa:

  • Botswana Life, Botswana – 60% via Botswana Insurance Holdings Limited[18] (BIHL)
  • Sanlam Life, Namibia – 100%
  • Sanlam Namibia Holdings, Namibia – 59%
  • NICO Life, Malawi – 62%
  • Sanlam Life Insurance, Kenya – 57% via Sanlam Kenya Group
  • Sanlam Life Insurance, Tanzania – 64%
  • Sanlam Life Insurance, Zambia – 70%
  • Sanlam Life Insurance, Uganda – 100%
  • FBN Insurance, Nigeria – 35%
  • Shriram Life Insurance, India – 42% via Shriram Capital
  • Soras Vie, Rwanda – 100%
  • MCIS Insurance, Malaysia – 51%
  • Sanlam Life Insurance, Mozambique – 51%
  • Zimnat Life Assurance, Zimbabwe - 40%

Credit and banking:

  • Letshego, operating in a number of African countries – 14% via BIHL
  • NBS Bank, Malawi – 13% via NICO Holdings
  • Shriram Transport Finance Company, India 10% (3% direct and 7% via Shriram Capital)
  • Shriram City Union Finance – 9% via Shriram Capital

Investment management:

  • Sanlam Investments, East Africa, Kenya & Uganda – 56%
  • Sanlam Investments, Namibia – 86%
  • Botswana Insurance Fund Management – 60% via BIHL

General insurance: Jointly responsible in partnership with Santam for managing general insurance business through:

  • NICO Malawi – 62% (direct 49% and 13% indirect via NICO Holdings)
  • Sanlam General Insurance Tanzania[19] – 52% (direct 47% and 5% indirect via NICO Holdings)
  • Sanlam General Insurance Uganda – 84%(direct 79%and 5% indirect via NICO Holdings)
  • NICO Zambia – 62% (direct 49% and 13% indirect via NICO Holdings)
  • Shriram General Insurance, India – 43% via Shriram Capital
  • Pacific & Orient, Malaysia – 49%
  • Legal Guard, Botswana – 60% via BIHL
  • Soras AG, Rwanda – 100%
  • Santam Namibia – 37%
  • Sanlam General Insurance, Kenya – 39%
  • FBN Insurance, Nigeria – 35%
  • Zimnat Lion Insurance, Zimbabwe – 40%

Sanlam Investment Group[edit]

The Sanlam Investment Group is one of the largest, most diversified investment management firms in South Africa, with various market-leading and award-winning investment capabilities. Their assets under management are over R900 billion across conventional active management, index tracking and smart beta, alternative investment solutions, property asset management, specialised finance, private client wealth management and multi-management. Their local and offshore clients span retail investors, high-net-worth individuals, trusts, companies, public institutions and retirement funds.

The Sanlam Investment Group consists of Sanlam Investments, Sanlam Specialised Finance, Sanlam UK and Sanlam Private Wealth.

The Sanlam Investment Group’s proudly South African heritage is uniquely complemented by their investment capabilities in the USA, UK, and Australia and in the Sanlam Emerging Markets footprint across the African continent, Malaysia and India.

Sanlam Investments: Authorities on Portfolio Construction

As one of the largest multi-specialist investment teams in South Africa, Sanlam Investments are authorities on portfolio construction across active, index tracking, alternative and multi-managed investments. Using in-house portfolio construction tools and finely-tuned research and insights, they blend a select range of investment strategies to customise unique client solutions.

Sanlam Investments consists of the following businesses:

Active Management[edit]

Sanlam Investment Management (SIM) is the traditional single active manager of the business, and manages institutional client portfolios and retail collective investment (unit trust) funds.


Sanlam’s Multi Manager blends and combines a range of carefully selected asset managers to enhance returns and diversify and minimise risk. Asset managers are selected following a stringent manager research process to find the most skilful managers believed to add significant alpha over the long term, considering their expanded opportunity set and skill.

Alternative Investments[edit]

Sanlam Alternative Investments offers access to a diverse range of non-conventional investment strategies to enhance returns. Alternative investments are a powerful lever for clients to diversify, spread their risk, and earn less volatile but inflation-beating returns. This includes private equity, unlisted (direct) property, unlisted credit (rated, unrated, socially responsible (SRI) credit and infrastructure debt), Africa investments and hedge funds.

Passive Investments[edit]

Index tracking solutions by Satrix [20] combine individual indexation strategies and factors to create diversified solutions. Satrix offers a range of index tracking solutions, with smart beta, across their balanced multi asset and multi index ranges.

Satrix has been managing factor-based, smart beta solutions for investors since 2007.

International Investments[edit]

Sanlam UK provides easy access to a wide range of global investment solutions based on clients’ specific needs.  By partnering with specialist international asset management businesses, such as Sanlam FOUR, Denker Capital and Cameron Hume, they give clients access to an extended universe of well-diversified solutions.

Sanlam Corporate[edit]

Sanlam Corporate, a recently formed business, targets chosen corporate clients and offers financial solutions underpinned by:

  • Employee benefits (providing risk and investment solutions and administration services to institutions and retirement funds)
  • Health solutions and products
  • Institutional offerings sourced from other clusters


Santam is a South African short-term insurer with a market share of more than 22%. Sanlam has an effective 62% interest in Santam, which in turn operates through the following businesses:

  • Santam Insurance – traditional and specialist lines intermediated business
  • Santam Specialist
  • MiWay [21] and Centriq[22]– short-term insurance to clients through a direct distribution channel
  • Santam Re – reinsurance in emerging markets

Sanlam Group Executive[edit]

  • Ian Kirk, Group Chief Executive Officer, Sanlam Group
  • Heinie Werth, Financial Director, Sanlam Group
  • Temba Mvusi, Chief Executive, Sanlam Market Development
  • Jurie Strydom, Chief Executive, Sanlam Personal Finance
  • Robert Roux, Chief Executive, Sanlam Investments[23]
  • Junior John Ngulube, Chief Executive, Sanlam Emerging Markets[24]
  • Lizé Lambrechts, Chief Executive, Santam
  • Anton Gildenhuys, Chief Actuary and Group Risk Officer

Responsible business[edit]

Sanlam Foundation

The Blue Ladder Schools project is a Sanlam Foundation initiative to tackle the maths problem in South Africa by partnering with disadvantaged schools countrywide to improve maths competency and create supportive learning spaces. As part of this process, the project focuses on improving amenities, sanitation and water at the schools, as well as nutrition, playgrounds and school leadership.

Ordinary South Africans can play a role towards creating supportive learning spaces in Blue Ladder Schools by donating towards the essentials that schools need. By using Snapscan on Shop for Good to donate towards a specific category of essentials, all donations go towards making a difference.


  • Sanlam Cape Town Marathon – this race (42.2km) is a prestigious global city marathon
  • Handmade Contemporary Fair – a design, food and wine fair that showcases the work of top emerging creatives
  • Sanlam Awards for Excellence in Financial Journalism – an awards event recognising and rewarding exceptional business journalism since 1974
  • Sanlam Cancer Challenge – an amateur golf tournament that is a partnership between Sanlam and the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA)

Recent news[edit]

2018 sees Sanlam turn 100 and the year also marks 20 years since Sanlam’s listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).   

Sanlam’s 100% acquisition of SAHAM Finances[25] was concluded in 2018, thereby deepening Sanlam’s direct presence in 33 countries stretching from the Cape to the Maghreb and East and West Africa. This acquisition transforms the Group into a leading financial services player in Africa.

In October 2018, Sanlam also announced details of its forthcoming BEE transactions[13][26] to increase its direct black shareholding to 18% and black economic ownership, which combines direct and indirect holdings, to 35%.

For the six months to June 2018,[27][28] Sanlam reported a decline in new business volumes of 1% to R110 billion (in line with 2017 in constant currency). The net result from financial services increased by 8% to R4.4 billion (up 10% in constant currency). The annualised Return on Group Equity Value (RoGEV) per share of 18.2% exceeded the target of 13%.[29] RoGEV is the group's primary performance target for measuring shareholder value creation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Sanlam. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  2. ^ a b "Contact Us". Sanlam. Retrieved 2016-07-28.
  3. ^ Retrieved 2018-12-10. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ "Sanlam – Hot or Not". Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  5. ^ Wet, Athandiwe Saba, Phillip de. "Absa may have to pay back apartheid-era bailout billions". The M&G Online. Retrieved 2017-01-19.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Sanlam seals $1bn deal for Morocco's SAHAM | IOL Business Report". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  8. ^ "Sanlam to acquire Saham Finances for $1.1bn". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  9. ^ "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  10. ^ "Sanlam makes largest investment in its entire 100-year-old history". 702. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  11. ^ "UPDATE 2-S.Africa's Sanlam to sell $583 mln stake to black..." Reuters. 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  12. ^ "S.Africa's Sanlam plans up to $588 mln stake sale to black investors, employees". 2018-10-31. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  13. ^ a b Richardson, Paul; December 2018, Bloomberg / 9 (2018-10-31). "Sanlam announces BEE transactions worth R11 billion". Moneyweb. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  14. ^ "Ubuntu-Botho/Sanlam BEE deal". Financial Mail. Retrieved 2015-10-19.
  15. ^ "BRIEF-Santam sells 76 pct of Indwe to UBI and Sanlam". Reuters. 30 September 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  16. ^ "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  17. ^ "Bloomberg - Are you a robot?". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  18. ^ "BIHL goes on a shopping spree | Botswana Gazette". Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  19. ^ "Sanlam to unlock insurance potential". Retrieved 2015-11-18.
  20. ^ "How to start investing in Satrix". Fin24. 2013-07-24. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  21. ^ "Santam buys the rest of MiWay". Moneyweb. Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  22. ^ "Professionals: Short-term » Press Room > Santam acquires 100% shareholding in Centriq". Retrieved 2015-10-30.
  23. ^ "Van der Merwe steps down as Sanlam boss". Business Day Live. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  24. ^ "BRIEF-Sanlam appoints CEO of corporate business unit". Reuters India. Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  25. ^ "Sanlam buys out Saham | IOL Business Report". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  26. ^ "WATCH: Inside Sanlam's new BBBEE deal". Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  27. ^ "Sanlam delivers 'acceptable operational performance' in interim results". Fin24. 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  28. ^ Africa, CNBC (2018-09-06). "Sanlam reports headline earnings increase in tough operating environment". CNBC Africa. Retrieved 2018-12-10.
  29. ^ Ltd, Sharenet (Pty) (2018-06-09). "SLM - SANLAM LIMITED - Interim Results for the six months ended 30 June 2018 - 06/09/2018". SHARENET - Your Key To Investing on The JSE Securities Exchange - South Africa. Retrieved 2018-12-10.