FINANCE

 
THE CENTRAL BANK OF SWAZILAND
The bank of issue within the country’s financial structure was established as the monetary authority in April 1974 under the Monetary Authority Order of that year, empowering CBS to monitor, regulate and develop Swaziland’s financial infrastructure. The Authority took on the function of a central bank in 1978 when the name was changed under the Monetary Authority (Amendment) Act of 1979 and additional powers were granted through amendments to the Acts in 1982 and 1986. Legislative amendments to the Order of 1974 provide the legal framework that enables the bank to adapt to the changing global environment and to incorporate new developments and financial supervision. The bank issues the national currency, advises government, manages the country’s official reserves and deals in foreign
exchange markets, activities which involve spot trading and dealings in the forwards market. The commercial banks may manage limited sums of forex, reverting to the Central Bank if necessary. The CBS also provides central clearing facilities for the commercial banks and operates. Under its Development Finance Division, the bank operates The Small Scale Enterprise Loan Guarantee and Export Credit Guarantee Schemes, as well as the Public Enterprise Loan Guarantee Fund, which provides guarantees to the commercial banks when granting finance to Category A public enterprises. The Swaziland Government has a capital fund which is administered by the Central Bank and into which surpluses are deposited to cater for future projects. The bank operates the Swaziland Automated Electronic Clearing House. The Balance of Payments reporting system links authorised dealers to a database at the CBS where all foreign exchange transactions are reported. The commercial banks advise on individual allowances, which vary depending on circumstances. The CBS allows the movement outside the country of up to E500,000 per annum by individual permanent residents from personal accounts for gifts, maintenance, travel and other purposes.
www.centralbank.org.sz

 

THE NATIONAL CURRENCY
The Lilangeni (plural Emalangeni) was issued as th national currency in September 1974 on a par with
the South African Rand (ZAR), under the Common Monetary Agreement. South African bank notes, but not coins, are legal tender in Swaziland. The currency has tended to fluctuate quite significantly. Towards the end of 2012 it was trading at around E8.7/$US1, E14/UK Sterling and E11.3/Euro, having dropped from E8/$US; E12.7/Stirling and E11.2/ Euro a year earlier.

THE COMMON MONETARY AREA & EXCHANGE CONTROL
Swaziland is one of the four members of the CMA, a monetary arrangement with South Africa, which also includes Lesotho and Namibia. This dates back to when these countries used British Sterling as their currency and was formalised in December 1974 with the signing of the Rand Monetary Area (RMA) Agreement which became the Common Monetary Area (CMA) in 1986. The CMA provides for the free flow of funds between the member countries with no exchange controls, which facilitates easy trade with minimal transaction costs. Fairly liberal regulations apply to the rest of the world.

MONETARY DEVELOPMENTS
Monetary policy, both globally and the southern Africa region has been to balance risks to economic growth and price stability. Prospects have been hampered by the continued Euro-zone crisis and specifically in Swaziland by the fiscal crisis. The Central Bank again pursued an accommodative monetary policy and low interest rates were maintained. Credit to the private sector continued at double digits in the face of lower borrowing costs. The business
sector recorded the highest increase in credit, followed by household lending. However, there was a drop in credit demand from the construction, transport and communications sectors. Broad money supply growth remained at 3.4% due to reduced net foreign assets, which continued to decline but at a lower rate than the previous year. This was mainly due to increased SACU receipts and the depreciation of the local currency. Foreign exchange rates also fell but again, at a lower rate than last year, although the import cover of the reserves
remained below the internationally recommended three months. Domestic liquid assets in the banking system again increased, with banks investing in Government securities.18.9%. Credit to industries went up by 33.1%, to households by 20.6% and to public enterprises by
20.5%, all attributed to attractive interest rates. For further detailed data on Swaziland’s Economic and Monetary issues, please refer to the Central Bank of Swaziland’s Annual Report. Contact the Research Department on +268 2404 2000 or go to www.centralbank.org.sz

 

THE COMMERCIAL BANKS
First National Bank has operated in Swaziland since 1995. Its headquarters are at the Swazi Plaza in Mbabane and there are four main branches and seven agencies throughout the country. FNB has the largest ATM network in Swaziland with 55 full ATMs countrywide and six mini ATMs in small towns. FNB also provides the VISA Electron Debit Card for its consumers and business clients, which allows the withdrawal of cash at over one millions ATMs worldwide, and payment for goods and services at point-of-sale terminals globally. The bank offers a variety of other products, including cheque, transmission and savings accounts, home and property loans, plus vehicle and asset finance; credit cards, business and corporate banking, on- line banking, inContact (free SMS messaging) and Speedpoint (point-of-sale terminals). FNB is a market leader in providing innovative solutions to its customers with on-line banking, which facilitates payments and receipts and has full cross-border functionality with all South African banks. Customers also have easy access to their daily account balances, transaction history and statements, while Cell Phone Banking allows access
to their accounts anywhere at any time. Customers are also able to purchase prepaid airtime and electricity using these electronic platforms. FNB’s Business and Corporate Divisions provide working capital term funding structures for both business and commercial/corporate operations throughout Swaziland, while the Treasury Department caters for all local and foreign market transactions, offering expert international banking advice and information.
Wesbank, with dealership representation in Mbabane and Manzini, is FNB’s leasing arm specialising in competitive leasing services for vehicles, machinery and equipment. It is a key provider of asset-based finance, catering for corporate and individual clients and placing emphasis on quick response times and high service levels. It provides customer service facilities at most dealer outlets where financial assistance and advice are available. FNB’s commitment to corporate social investment is focused on addressing society’s needs at grass roots level and is highlighted in the bank’s brand promise of How can we help you?
For more information please visit any FNB branch, phone the call centre on (+268)2518 4637 or visit www.fnbswaziland.co.sz.

Nedbank (Swaziland) Limited
A leading bank in Swaziland that is part of the international Nedbank group, Nedbank gained
presence in the country following the then Nedcor’s acquisition of Standard Chartered Bank’s local majority shareholding in January 1997. The bank focuses on using the right people and processes to deliver customised solutions to its clients while managing risk as an enabler.
Being client-centred means being good at listening, understanding clients’ needs and delivering, which are at the heart of Nedbank Swaziland’s strategy. Providing excellent customer service and delighting clients are key to sustainability. For this reason the bank endeavours to deliver customised financial solutions with Corporate and Business Banking,
Retail and SME banking functions, through which a wide range of products and services are offered. These include lending, deposit-taking, transactional banking, asset-based finance, investment, global trade and treasury services to our clients.

The bank is led by a proficient and dynamic executive management team under the leadership of the Managing Director. At the heart of the employee value proposition (EVP) is the belief that ‘Great Things Begin with Great People’ and that it is ‘through our people’ that Nedbank is able to ‘Make Things Happen’. The bank takes great pride in its company culture and embraces it as one of its fundamental strength, recognizing that the single differentiating factor for competitive advantage is the prevailing culture of the organisation. This culture encourages the iteration of ideas to engage with staff and better understand their needs, directing efforts to creating ‘a great place to work’ with their input in mind. The vision of ‘a great place to work’ is pursued by listening to and understanding staff needs through different diagnostic methods. Nedbank is strongly aware of its responsibility to make things happen and make a positive contribution to the people and communities in which it operates. This is achieved through accessible Corporate Social
Investment (CSI) programmes that encourage staff involvement and strive to deliver sustainable life changing benefits to those it touches. The CSI programme falls under the six pillars of Economic Development, HIV/AIDS Initiatives, Community Development, Education, Sports and Arts. Nedbank sponsors the Business Woman of the Year Award; Employer/Business Leader of the Year Awards; Swaziland Sugar Association Annual Smallholder Sugarcane Growers Competition; Komati Downstream Development Project Farmers Day and Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE), whose main aim is to recognise and develop entrepreneurship in Swaziland. The bank also sponsors the Swaziland AIDS Support Organisation (SASO), Hospice at Home and Hope House, which all implement HIV/ AIDS projects in the communities. A significant part of the sponsorship budget is allocated to community and economic development. For more information on Nedbank’s products and services please visit www.nedbank.co.sz

 

Standard Bank Swaziland
Standard Bank Swaziland, which has been operating since 1988, is the largest commercial bank in the country in terms of capital and assets. It is a member of the Standard Bank Group, which has an international presence throughout the world, while its Stanbic Africa Division has representation in 18 African countries and 21 countries outside Africa. In Swaziland, Standard Bank provides a wide range of products and services to both its retail and commercial customer base. These include foreign exchange transactions, trade finance, leasing, investments and asset management. Specialised services, such as project finance, structured lending, derivatives and risk hedges are readily available through the support of Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank and Standard Bank London. Through its group presence and expertise, Standard Bank Swaziland is positioned to offer innovative and cost
efficient financial solutions tailored to meet customer needs.


The bank operates the first Maestro debit card which has grown in popularity in Swaziland. This enables customers to shop anywhere in the world and to draw cash from the 850,000 ATMs world-wide that display the Maestro or Cirrus signs. Standard Bank also has its own credit card, which includes a budget option and provides for a garage card for vehicle running expenses. The credit card offering provides up to 55 days interest free debit balances accrued from specific Point of Sale transactions. With 12 points of representation and 48 ATMs throughout the country, Standard Bank has a large retail customer base. The goal is to expand its presence in Swaziland and to provide secure, simple and affordable banking to an increasing number of communities by continually developing the electronic
service delivery channels. Year on year Standard Bank continues to show strong signs of growth despite the economic down turns. Standard Bank has recently rolled out the SME Quick loans. This is an innovative product that has revolutionized SME financing and contributed immensely to Swaziland’s economy. Standard Bank has also become a force
to reckon with in the agricultural sector, providing finance and solutions to farmers nationwide. Standard Bank is also upgrading its SMS notifications, Internet banking and core banking platforms, all in a bid to attract and retain the more technologically inclined customers and businesses. Standard Bank plays an important role in contributing to the economic, business and social development of the country and supports a number of charities,sporting bodies and development schemes through
a vigorous Corporate Social Investment policy.

Standard Bank sponsors and donates to a variety of organisations within its five pillars of responsibility. These are: Education, Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development, Wellness and Health, Arts and Culture, Sport. It is not always easy to maintain high levels of commitment during financial hardships and at 150 years of age Standard Bank has weathered the storms and is set to continue its contributions to society in the light of prevailing economic circumstances. Noble Expression Corporate Social Investment Awards have officially recognised the role of Standard Bank in growing and developing the communities it operates in and the nation at large. www.standardbank.co.sz

 

Swaziland Development & Savings Bank (SwaziBank)
SwaziBank is a fast growing Development Finance
Institution (DFI) with 12 branches comprising Mbabane and Mbabane Commercial, Matsapha, Manzini, Pigg’s Peak, Simunye, Matata, Nhlangano, Siteki, Siphofaneni Agency, Ezulwini Gables and Manzini Hub. There are over 30 ATMs across the country. As a development bank and a commercial entity, SwaziBank is involved in financing all sectors of the economy, including industrial, commercial, agriculture, SMEs, health and tourism. The Ezulwini Gables Branch is the first ever bank in Swaziland to open on Sundays, from 08:30a.m to 11:30a.m, in the heart of the Ezulwini Valley, a fast growing area with prime business and residential
land as well as exclusive shopping malls and high- end hotels.
SwaziBank offers numerous banking solutions such as Savings, Investment, Corporate Accounts and VIP Accounts, as well as Foreign Exchange and loan facilities for housing, vehicle finance and business. It is also a socially responsible corporate citizen that
ploughs back into the nation and invests millions of Emalangeni annually in its social responsibility programme. The Bank sponsors the prestigious annual knock-out SwaziBank Cup Tournament, sponsorship for which has increased from SZL500,000 in 2004 to E1.65 million in 2012. SwaziBank also sponsors the annual Schools Choral Music Competition. As part of its social responsibility programme, SwaziBank also contributes towards noble initiatives aimed at improving the lives of the needy or destitute in the country and has contributed towards the construction of schools, churches, major workshops and conferences, entertainment events, health institutions, and entrepreneurship organisations.

On its success path, SwaziBank has received numerous awards for, among others, its performance, professionalism, leadership qualities and customer care. The most recent of these are: 2012 Global Trade Leaders’ Club Award - Business Excellence; 2012 Europe Business Assembly Award - Best Enterprises; Association of African Development Finance
Institutions (AADFI) Award 2012 - Best Performing African DFI; European Award for Best Practices 2011; Business Initiative Directions (BID) International Star 2010: Diamond Award – Leadership Quality In addition, the Managing Director has received personal recognition for his contribution to steering the financial institution to greater heights since his appointment in December 2000. These comprise: 2012 Europe Business Assembly Award – Best Manager of the Year; PMR 2009: Diamond Arrow Award – Most Admired Business Person in Swaziland; and Professional Management Review (PMR) 2008: Diamond Arrow Award – Highest rated official in the category known as “Business Persons Deserving Special Recognition for Outstanding Service and Contributions Over The Past 12 Months”. www.swazibank.co.sz



OTHER FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The Liberty Group Since its inception 50 years ago, Liberty has become one of South Africa’s leading insurance and investment groups. Among its stakeholders are over 2 million individual policy holders, more than 386,450 Pension Funds and some 9,066 shareholders. In 2008, Liberty collected R14.8 billion in insurance premiums, and by June 2009 managed total assets of E330 billion. The asset manager STANLIB, manages assets of R291 billion, and is the largest unit trust manager. Liberty is also the largest property developer in South Africa. Liberty was the first life company to list on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange; it launched the first retirement annuity in South Africa; co-founded the first unit trusts (mutual funds) in South Africa; counderwrote the first dreaded disease cover; was the first to combine occupational disability and impairment and the first to revolutionise the medical insurance industry with “Medical Lifestyle”. Other firsts include introducing “Nurses on the Road”, umbrella funds for the corporate pensions market, a formal Financial Needs Analysis process, without revolutionary “Blueprint” software – and again taking financial planning to a new level, with the introduction of “Wealth Connexion”. Liberty was also the first company to drive higher professional standards by introducing compulsory product accreditation for financial advisers; to respond to market demands for revised commission structures, and to recognise the strategic value of real estate investment. The future success of the family of specialised wealth brands and partnerships lies in the continued ability lever both the power of specialisation and the collective strength of the group, and to execute strategy through enlisting, mobilising, and partnering with outstanding people. STANLIB has managed assets in Africa since 1993, when it set up its first office in Namibia. It now has companies in Botswana, Lesotho, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland and Uganda, and manages mandates in Mozambique and Sudan. It has been in Swaziland for 10 years, managing retirement funds for all sizes and types of organizations, as well as individual investment portfolios. Liberty Life Swaziland was officially launched in July 2008 and has significant benefits to the economy, presently posting a GDP growth rate of 2.8%. A further benefit of the new regulatory regime is the reduction of unethical practices. Liberty Life Swaziland is run and staffed by Swazis and while the company is initially held by Liberty Group South Africa, at least 25% of equity will be transferred to local residents and key staff. Products include Credit and Group Life, as well as Funeral Benefits, aimed at government and corporate markets for their employees. It is planned to expand into property, healthcare and general insurance. Liberty and STANLIB can tap into its parent company Standard Bank’s experience in Africa and other emerging markets, and the wealth of knowledge obtained in 18 African countries of operation. Additional resources are being committed to Swaziland with skills transferred to local people, enabling them to meaningfully contribute to economic growth.

Swaziland Building Society
With over 50 years of “Creating Wealth for the Swazi Nation through Housing Finance”, the SBS is the country’s major provider of long-term mortgage lending and loan finance for the purchase of vacant land, complete property and the construction of affordable housing. The Society has unsurpassed knowledge of the local mortgage bond market and keeps up with client demand, including below prime mortgage loans for residential property, repayment
holidays, and bond re-advances and rescheduling. SBS also offers commercial mortgage loans to assist the business community obtain and develop commercial property. This is linked to the Bond Re- Advance facility that enables businesses to secure loans within 24 hours to finance working capital requirements against bonded property. Products for individuals include Sipatji Advances for salaried clients; Insurance Policy Loans for holders of eligible policies issued by the Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation (SRIC); and the Guaranteed
Car Loan Scheme for staff of reputable employers. Other products include short-term loans against investments and deposits, and tailor-made housing schemes under Homeplan that enable borrowers to build on Swazi Nation Land by utilising pension funds as collateral. Some of the features of mortgage portfolios include extended repayment terms and a loan rescheduling option to assist in times of financial hardship and high interest rates. Other products include investments, savings such as Gold Accounts, payroll and transmission accounts, prime-linked deposits, special call accounts and group savings schemes. Investments and deposits are accepted at highly competitive interest rates in recognition of investor demand. Collection accounts allow the Society to act as an agent for entities such as schools, cooperatives and municipalities. Through the SBS/Swazimed Medical Plan, clients may join the medical aid scheme as individuals. The Swaziland Building Society is committed to financing developers and end users under the Urban Development Projects and offers finance at rates as low as 1% below prime, making repayments more affordable. Training is the main focus in terms of personal development and improvement of delivery, and apart from the pension scheme, there is a savings plan to encourage staff and inculcate a culture of saving. Challenging economic conditions continued during 2011/12, which had adverse effects on the servicing of loans and the Society continued to engage its clients in an effort to assist them mitigate the negative effects of the difficult economic environment. For its customers’ convenience the Society has ATMs at all its branches in Mbabane, Manzini, Nhlangano and Siteki, and at the strategic points of Pigg’s Peak, Ezulwini, Matsapha and Big Bend. Projects for the near future include account-opening facilities at Piggs Peak and Matata on selected days of the week. The Society is striving towards delivering a holistic suite of financial services within its facilities.

During the financial year ended March 2012, SBS’s assets increased by 9.4% to E1.3 billion while loans and advances were up by 20% to E1.1 billion. Shares and deposits were up by 9% to E1.1 billion, while the after-tax profit stood at E44.7 million. SBS maintains its commitment to Social Responsibility with donations to deserving causes.
www.sbs.co.sz

 

FIRST FINANCE COMPANY
First Finance Company is an authorized financial services provider, duly licensed by the Central Bank of Swaziland, offering general purpose finance to salaried employees of the civil service, parastatals and selected private organisations. The vision is to be the most reliable and preferred provider of general purpose finance to a wide range of customers. First Finance Company was officially launched in January 2010 and has been well received by the market.

Business has grown significantly to the extent that the company has broadened its product base to meet the dynamic financial needs of its clients, which include educational, medical, emergency, home improvements, rural housing and debt consolidation. These are met by short, medium and long-term loan products. The services of First Finance Company are relevant to both consumers and also to entrepreneurs. In March 2012 it launched yet another product: Invoice Discounting, which appeals to small and medium enterprises. First Finance Company accepts discounted invoices, which are less than 90 days old, from reputable companies and makes cash available instantly to meet immediate business needs, such as
paying wages and purchasing stock. First Finance Company is determined to improve the
livelihoods of its clients through the provision of a wide range of general purpose financial services in the most prudent, ethical and responsible manner. As a socially responsible credit provider it offers financial planning and debt counseling to its clients and prides itself in offering innovative and timely financial services to customers, processing transactions with minimal paperwork and with a commitment to demonstrating absolute transparency and openness in credit dealings. Feedback received from the market indicates that the financial services offered by First Finance Company are generally considered to be the most attractive among the non- banking financial institutions in Swaziland. Email: first@firstfinance.co.sz

 

INSURANCE AND BROKERS
Since the recent opening up of the Insurance Sector in Swaziland, when the SRIC monopoly fell away, several new players have entered the market, giving clients at all levels, from corporate to individual, a wider range of options.

 

The Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation
SRIC was established in 1973 by the Orderin- Council of King Sobhuza II under founding legislation No. 32/1973. The objective is to provide adequate and proper insurance business of all classes, including short and long term insurance, in accordance with the conditions appropriate to the normal and proper conduct of insurance business. The Corporation began writing business on 1st January 1974 and has lived up to its founding principle, acting fairly and impartially to all persons, and providing adequate and proper insurance business. It has grown and improved to become a solid and reputable insurer, contributing to a stable domestic insurance environment that has benefited the Swaziland economy as evidenced by the significant claims it has paid over the years. Since its inception SRIC has provided cover to individuals and all sizes and types of industries, which have been the stronghold of Swaziland’s economy. It serves its clients by providing a full range of insurance products, as required by the founding legislation. The Corporation has matured in the local industry and this status is confirmed by a solid balance sheet, proper operational infrastructure, well trained staff and committed shareholders. The shareholding comprises the Swaziland Government – 41%; Munich Reinsurance Company of Africa and Mutual and Federal Insurance Company - both 16%; Swiss Reinsurance Africa - 11%; Zurich Insurance Company SA - 9%; South African Mutual Life Assurance – 5% and Swiss Reinsurance (Life and Health) – 2%. Apart from the Swaziland Government, this shareholding testifies to a solid backing and the progressive infusion of current insurance practices. Some of these shareholders provide reinsurance support.

Prior to SRIC’s establishment, several foreign insurers operated in Swaziland. Government then entered into a joint venture with the various companies and while SRIC operated alone, the association with and shareholding of these companies ensured the continued transfer of skills and upholding of modern practices. An effective intermediary service enables good outreach for SRIC’s products. There are at least four major brokers in Swaziland and an efficient network of agents, particularly for life insurance. This ensures that the transfer of risk to the insurer is readily accessible. There have been serious disasters over the years that could have challenged weaker companies. The corporation met all its obligations thereby testifying to its solid backing. The ongoing training of staff ensures skilful and knowledgeable personnel, while service delivery is key to SRIC’s operations. With the advent of competition through new legislation, service delivery will be the determining factor for continued profitability. Product development will also be very relevant to SRIC’s continued success.

Lidwala Insurance Company
Lidwala officially opened its doors to the Swaziland insuring public on 2nd November 2009 as the second operating insurance company in the Kingdom. Following the enactment of the Insurance Act of 2005 that opened the insurance market to more players, Lidwala became an added innovation in the insurance and finance industry. Prior to this, there was only one insurance company operating in Swaziland for over 31 years. As the name implies, Lidwala Insurance comes as the backdrop of a strong capital and technical background with a philosophy deeply rooted in offering custom-made Alternative Risk Transfer Solutions (ART) for the various insuring customers. This is achieved through a wide range of Risk Transfer Solutions that includes conventional insurance, enterprise risk management and Rent-a-captive options. Through these various solutions, Lidwala offers a wide spectrum of products that are designed to meet each customer’s specific needs. The company has introduced Rent-acaptive, a self-insurance product targeted to large corporate organizations that wish to retain part or all of their risk. Under Renta- captive, Lidwala assesses the customer’s risk and establishes the exposure at hand. A safe retention level is scientifically determined depending on the customer’s risk anatomy and this portion of the risk is selffunded through Lidwala. The balance of the risk is further reinsured to cater for catastrophic losses so that there will always be cover even if the fund has been exhausted by claims. If at the end of the insurance period there is money in the fund after payment of claims and administration fees, that money remains in the customer’s fund and is reusable for the next insurance period. Lidwala offers a wide range of insurance products that are designed to meet customers’ needs on both conventional and Rent-a-captive basis. The company offers Personal Lines products that provide cover for all Domestic Insurance needs. These include home buildings, contents, personal all risks, personal liability, personal accident and golfers’ cover. The products also offer cover for motor combined policies, private and commercial vehicles, and trailers if owned by individuals for private domestic use. The major corporate insurance products offered include assets all risks, money cover, goods in transit, corporate motor fleet, fidelity guarantee, group personal accident, public liability, engineering, machinery breakdown, erection all risks, electronic equipment, and contractors’ all risks covers.

Commercial insurance covers include the Multimark Policy, fire, office comprehensive cover, business interruption, motor traders combined cover, and credit insurance. Lidwala Insurance also offers a comprehensive agricultural package for the farming community that covers private dwellings, contents, commercial all risks, fire damage to crops, farm buildings, implements and contents, livestock, theft, transit, business all risks and many others. In addition, Lidwala offers specialized covers, including directors’ and officers’ liability, professional indemnity bonds and guarantees, umbrella liability, marine, environmental liability, and difference in condition cover.


Aon Swaziland
Aon, which employs 46,000 people in 550 offices across 125 countries, is a family of companies specialising in insurance broking, various areas of insurance and consultancy services. Clients are served through the global distribution network by professional staff, who offer a wide range of specialist services, providing innovative ideas in risk management, insurance and consulting. These clients include commercial and industrial concerns, financial institutions, insurers, municipalities, governments and individuals. Together they comprise a significant proportion of risks in the Kingdom. Aon operates a Four Keys of Service system: Aon Risk Services is an insurance broker while the Aon Speciality Group focuses on speciality products. Aon Re Worldwide is an international insurance broker and Aon Consulting Worldwide provides integrated services in human resources and employee benefit risks. The local arm of the organisation was established in the Kingdom as Swaziland Insurance Brokers in 1970. In 1996 it was purchased by Aon Holdings, the world’s largest broking house and this was followed by a merger with Bowring and Minet Swaziland in 1998, resulting in the change of name to Aon Swaziland. The shareholders comprise the Aon Corporation, Swaziland Government, SIDC and the Aon Swaziland Staff Share Ownership Trust In June 2009, Aon made a global announcement that the group had entered into a once-in-a-lifetime partnership and brand sponsorship agreement with Manchester United Football Club, known as Aon United in 2012

Impilo Yami Insurance Brokers
As a registered, licensed broker under the Insurance Act, Impilo Yami offers integrated long and short-term insurance products to both the business sector and private individuals in Swaziland. The company was established in 1992 and has grown to become the largest Swazi-owned brokerage in the country, employing 20 staff members, seven of whom are qualified specialists in the various categories of insurance broking. The corporate philosophy is to provide costeffective, professional services with commitment to excellence and efficiency. This objective has paid off with income, which is mainly based on commissions, more than doubling over the past decade and the company is now set to implement its future growth plan. This includes diversifying to incorporate a financial services wing and investing in education and further training for the staff, most of whom are already highly qualified in the various fields relating to finance and insurance. There is also a drive to increase corporate business, thereby contributing to both the insurance industry and the local economy.

Metropolitan Life Swaziland
Metropolitan, founded in South Africa in 1898, is the largest long-term financial services group focusing on the lower to middle income market. The vision is to create prosperity by providing affordable products that create financial growth and security. Metropolitan is a fully fledged financial services group providing life assurance, employee benefits, asset management, property and collective investment management and medical aid administration. The brand is well known in South Africa and has a proven track record of offering accessible, affordable financial solutions to its clients. The group brand slogan of together we can underpins the company’s belief that it cannot deliver on its vision alone and requires collaboration and partnerships at both grassroots and corporate level. Metropolitan Life Swaziland is a whollyowned subsidiary of Metropolitan Holdings. It was established in March 2008 and aims to provide affordable financial solutions to the local corporate and retail sector. Metropolitan has invested substantial capital in setting up the business in the Kingdom and has created employment for ten Swazi citizens. It is seeking influential local partners to take a meaningful shareholding in the business, a strategy that will both secure local knowledge to assist in growing the business and, align the local company with the group’s objectives of empowering the communities in which business is conducted. Prior to the enactment of the Insurance and Retirement Act 2005, only one insurance company was able to operate in the country. The consequence of this previously closed market was low penetration of life insurance products and services but now there are excellent growth opportunities for Metropolitan Life Swaziland. The stable political and economic situation in the country and the dependable legal framework created by the Insurance and Retirement Fund Act 2005 contribute to a favourable operating environment.

Registrar of Insurance & Retirement Funds
The main function of the RIRF is to supervise and exercise control over the activities of insurers and retirement funds. A sound regulatory and supervisory system is essential in order to maintain an efficient, safe, fair and stable insurance industry and to promote growth and competition in the sector. This is particularly relevant since the falling way of the monopoly status previously held by the Swaziland Royal Insurance Corporation, enabling more players to enter the local market.

TAXATION
The following information is a guide only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for detailed professional advice.

Legislation
The present Income Tax Act came into effect on 1 July 2003. It rules that any benefits received by employees, including housing, cars, education and utilities, are taxed. Initially, this tax applied to 20% of the value of the benefits and gradually increased to 100% for certain categories of benefits over a five-year period. Amendments to the Income Tax Act are designed to bring commercial activities on Swazi nation land into the tax net, put in place a branch profit tax of 37.5% for branches of foreign companies operating in Swaziland. The tax free level for retrenchments and terminal benefits is E60,000.

Corporate Tax
This category is set at a flat rate of 30%, in line with other SADC states. There is a 15% withholding tax for royalties and nonresident management fees, and a withholding tax of 10% on interest paid to residents. New concerns that are establishing categories of business not previously in existence in Swaziland may apply for a Development Order to qualify them for tax at 10% flat rate. NGOs are exempt from tax. Allowances for the depreciation of machinery, vehicles and equipment apply and percentages vary depending on the nature of the item. Provisional tax is payable by companies and this is subject to various rulings.

Personal Taxation
Annual incomes of up to E36,000 are tax exempt with deductions starting at 20% for up to E60,000 pa. (In effect, tax payers receive a rebate of E7200 with an extra rebate of E2000 for people aged over 60 years). Income earned between E60,000 and E80,000 is taxed at 20%, thereafter up to E100,000 is taxed at 25% and any amount over E100,000 is taxed at 33%. Expenses deemed to be incurred in the course of generating an income may be tax deductible, provided they are of a recurrent and not a capital nature. Married women must submit separate tax returns from their husbands and provisional tax applies to individuals such as the selfemployed and those who are not regularly employed.

Tax Administration
Arrangements for payment of provisional tax may be granted to companies and selfemployed individuals. The Swaziland tax year runs from 1 July to 30 June. Individuals and companies are given 30 days and four months respectively to complete tax returns. The Income Tax and Customs and Excise Departments are in the process of being merged to form the Revenue Authority. The Authority is expected to phase out General Sales Tax and introduce Value Added Tax within two years of its establishment.

General Sales Tax
This is payable on most goods and services and is charged on imported items, with the exception of food, at the point of entry. The flat rate is 14% but luxury goods, such as tobacco products and alcoholic drinks are taxed at 25%. The Sales Tax Amendment Bill seeks to replace sales tax with VAT as noted above. This move is expected to close loopholes and generate additional income by taxing more services.

Other Taxes
These include graded tax - which may be phased out, transfers, stamps, customs and excise duties, and municipal rates.