1.         Aims


The “Black Sanlam” National Investment Initiative (Natvest) aims to facilitate the establishment of a major black owned financial institution as a vehicle for Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, Growth, Investment and Transformation.



2.         History


The initiative has been developed since 1995 and has been discussed with a number of key stakeholders including  Mbhazima Shilowa as General Secretary of Cosatu in 1995, Cyril Ramaphosa Chairperson of the Black Economic Empowerment Commission in 2000, the Black Business Council Summit in 2002, Nafcoc in 2003, as well as with members of Nactu, Fedusa, Government and other stakeholders. The proposals have been welcomed in principle and now require coordinated action by stakeholders further development and implementation. 



3.         Background


Union Retirement Funds are owned by their members and are under the control in principle of Trustees. In practice, the majority of these Funds are managed, controlled and invested by the large financial institutions, in various assets including mainly listed and unlisted shares and strategic investments as well as property and government stock.  The financial institutions thus control the majority of the wealth of the country, using and profiting from retirement funds owned by members!



4.         Proposal


The Proposed “Black Sanlam” would transform the financial services industry by placing Union Funds under the effective control of their members and Trustees in a new black-owned and controlled national financial institution, with the necessary expertise and support structures, ensuring full accountability and fiduciary custodianship. The required structures could be established in a short time framework, with the necessary consultation and mandates from stakeholders.  The Proposal is aligned with and builds on the Presidential Growth and Development Summit (GDS), the National Empowerment Fund (NEF) and initiatives by the Public Investment Commission (PIC).


1st Floor Everite House 20 de Korte Street Braamfontein South Africa;

PO Box 890695 Lyndhurst 2106; Tel: 27 11 403-5483/4/5; Fax: 27 11 403-3237;

Email:;; Web:

Coordinators: Eric Stillerman B SocSc BAHons MA CA(SA) CEO, Desmond Golding MA LLM Lon SA Res Bank, Chris Hart BCom HDE ABSA, Given Kakambi BSc MBA, Elaine Maroos CTH, Princess Mavundla MBM, Cynthia Dladla CIT, Michael Masalesa NDA, Lisanias Mupambireyi AMD Zim, Artie Phatlane NDE. Non-exec: Dr Colin Lawrence UK, Themba Kirro Kinana Office of the Presidency; In assoc with London School of Business SA


5.         Expertise and Structures


The necessary expertise and support structures are available, to be engaged by the proposed Investment Company eg. on an outsourcing or strategic alliance basis, in parallel with the necessary skills transfer mechanisms, including education and training programmes. The key functions would include investment management, corporate governance, administration and insurance underwriting.


6.         Existing Structures


Existing Investment Companies and BEE structures have generally been limited in their scope to specific investments which require Special Purpose Vehicles (SPVs) and debt funding. With the decline in share prices, many of these investments and structures have been significantly diminished or discontinued. In addition, the size of investments has not always allowed for majority black ownership and management of strategic investments. The proposed Black Sanlam would significantly increase the size of investments, control and management participation, as well as reducing or eliminating the need for SPVs and debt.


7.         Process


The process requires a coordinated plan of action by stakeholders on the full range of issues and alternative structures, in the best interests of members of retirement funds as owners and beneficiaries. It is proposed that a task team be set up to take the process forward, in cooperation with other related initiatives.


8.         Strategic Issues


Strategic issues include defining the Vision, Aims, Structure, Membership, Strategies, Investment Policies, relationships to existing structures, legal requirements and mandates.


9.         Structural issues


Structural issues include formation of a mutual fund or company; the critical mass of participation required; the relationship to Unions, Retirement Funds, Boards of Trustees and Investment Companies.


10.      Operational issues


Operational issues include strategic alliances, outsourcing, skills transfers, training and other mechanisms to ensure the necessary levels of corporate governance, executive management, asset management, risk management, underwriting and administration.


11.     Natgrowth offers its services on a professional basis to facilitate the process, contributing its proposals and expertise, as initiators of the process.  Natgrowth is an independent professional initiative facilitating Integrated Sustainable Development, Growth, Investment and Employment at all levels. Natgrowth made submissions to the GDS and WSSD and serves as a strategic resource to government and stakeholders (See



The Black Sanlam is a major national initiative whose time has now come. The Proposals are available for further discussion with stakeholders towards the setting up of a task team to take the process forward.  Please contact the writer to discuss the initiative and proposals further.





Chief Executive Officer

Updated 12/08/2003