Jurgens Group staff conference took place at a venue east of
Pretoria in February. The Conference content was most enlightening
and inspiring. The many challenging and fun activities generated a
true sense of team spirit!
Welcome to the THIRD month of 2016! The incredibly hot summer season not only provided all of us with a wonderful summer holiday; it has unfortunately brought about a severe drought that has devastated farmers and will create food inflation costs in the months to follow.
Amongst all this gloomy news, it really was uplifting to witness communities pull together and fill trucks with animal feed and bottles of water to bring temporary relief to those most drastically affected. The nation never fails to surprise!
South African, as well as overseas markets, have experienced market volatility over the last few months with very little positive investment return. When markets pull back and fluctuate as such, this does provide a window for good portfolio managers’ to purchase shares at lower prices.
It is also a time when those investors who invest on a monthly debit order basis are able to benefit.
With low demand for natural resources, the mining sector of the JSE continues to struggle. The extremely low share prices in these sectors provide opportunities for patient investors.
Based on the delicate environment, the Finance Minister announced a reasonably well-balanced budget. Some positive aspects include tax relief for lower and middle-income earners. Provident fund members are now eligible for deductions in respect of their contributions; and as yet, there are no significant changes to Trusts.
Despite the presently unstable political climate as well as the heightened student disruptions, I believe the voice of the people will result in positive change. I am sure you have read the saying “you cannot live a positive life with a negative mind”. I strongly believe a positive attitude is what is presently required.
As I close off, I bring your attention to our cover picture. We have a GREAT team who are feeling motivated and proactive – we trust this will reflect in our service!
Employee Benefits from Estelle Susanna
Retirement Fund Tax Reform – T Day Effective 1 March 2016
The following tax reforms have become effective 1 March 2016:
- The tax deduction of contributions across all Retirement products, Pension Fund, Provident Fund & Retirement Annuities, will increase to 27.5% of remuneration, up to a cap of R350 000 per annum.
- Company contributions on behalf of members will incur Fringe Benefit tax should the contributions exceed the deductible 27.5% or cap.
- The minimum threshold required for annuitisation of Pension and Retirement Annuity funds will still increase from R75 000 to R247,500.
The annuitisation of Provident Funds has been postponed to March 2018, but will be strongly reviewed during this time-frame. Should the annuitisation of Provident Funds be scrapped, the tax deductibility of Provident Fund contributions will be reviewed at March 2018.
The tax-free transfer from Pension to Provident fund will also be delayed to March 2018.
NB: A note to all Employee Benefits Employers: It’s quite common for Employers to find out after many years that their Employees have been employed under a false Identity Document. This has become more apparent lately, due to members being forced to apply for a tax number when exiting a Pension or Provident fund. It is our responsibility as the financial advisors, to report these irregularities. Please ensure that you apply for a tax number for all staff, regardless of their earnings, so that these anomalies can be picked up and sorted out upfront.
Short Term News from Greg Brits
The year started off with a bang and I can’t believe it’s March already.
With the Rand hovering around R15.68 to the US Dollar, who knows where it will be once you read this newsletter?
President Zuma sacked Finance Minister Nene and replaced him with the unknown back bencher, Des David Van Rooyen, which sent the Rand into free-fall, touching on 17.99/USD. Fortunately, with pressure from government and business, Pravin Gordhan came to the rescue. With the possibility of junk status still looming, this will further impact our economy and the Rand.
Why am I telling you all of this and what does this have to do with your short term insurance policy?
At a meeting with one of the larger motor assessing companies last year in September, it was announced that their basket of parts, compared year on year, had increased by 15% – and this was without any real increase in labour costs.
It was purely driven by the effect of the exchange rate on vehicle part prices – and that was when the Rand was at R13.38 / USD!
What this means, is that currency depreciation, now approximately 15% weaker than when the assessment was made in September 2015, inevitably causes an increase in the basket cost of vehicle parts.
Fortunately we have a good book of business with our insurers which enables us to curb any significant increases on your insurance policy. Any potential increases we would try to keep within the 6% inflationary range.
Another consideration of the effect of a depreciated Rand, is the cost of replacing imported goods. The prices of cell phones, iPads, TV’s and computers for example, increase and the insurer is unable to replace these at the increased value. Our clients then end up paying in the difference. With such a volatile currency, it’s very difficult to price items accurately to ensure that clients are neither over-or-under insured.
The above scenario also applies to House Contents and Building Sums Insured.
We have noticed on many client policies, that building sums insured are inadequate. We have recently partnered with a company, GRIP, who will charge as little as R500 for an accurate valuation to be done to ensure adequate cover. Please contact our office should you wish to make use of this service.
For our business clients who run fleets of vehicles, please ensure that your drivers inspect the vehicles and report faults such as smooth tyres or roadworthy issues. Especially for those vehicles not often available for inspection or that are at other branches. Should an accident be caused or aggravated by an un-roadworthy vehicle, the insurer has the right to reject such claim.
Another important point to remember is that fire equipment needs be checked on an ongoing basis to ensure that in an emergency, all such equipment is in working order. Remember too, to ensure that all electrical work done, meets with a Certificate of Compliance.
We are hopeful of an improved economy and exchange rate this year.
Bridgette van der Merwe receiving her Award from Mark Jurgens,
for 19 years’ service with Jurgens Group. Bridgette’s highly valued
and respected work ethic and commitment is commended by all
who know her. A great achievement!