A short overview of 2019 performance
As Southern Africans we have had an unprecedented year, on the one hand we won the Rugby World Cup, we officially have the most beautiful women in the world with our second Miss Universe in 3 years (and 3 in top two in 3 years!), we have our first Michelin star chef opening 2 new restaurants in SA, we had 3 peaceful national elections with almost no issues (which is an exception in Africa), a huge magnitude of people stood openly together against violence towards women and it seems the severe drought is being broken in many areas in time for Christmas!
On the other hand we did have major violence against women and our murder and rape rate is still one of the highest in the world, we are in permanent trouble with the ratings agencies, SOE’s are in trouble all around and to top it off Eskom seems broken by now, with major load shedding currently underway, to name a few.
A different perspective on the negative news
Obviously our economy is struggling to handle all these negative issues and news, but we are still standing, albeit maybe hesitantly, and there are some positive signs, like new infrastructure tenders slowly coming online, very good Black Friday sales, construction in certain areas is still going strong and the weak Rand is supporting our export producers.
We have major issues with crime, but as a people we also stand together when it matters in this regard and our police force do have many successes as well, which we do not hear about enough in the media.
We have very few politicians that are worth mentioning and our biggest political parties are in shambles, but at least there are still some politicians in most, if not all, parties that are really trying to work for the people, standing strong against corruption and not being power hungry.
We have severe climate problems, but there are also very good signs of this improving, in many areas.
Our electricity problems is a major worry for our people, economy and businesses, but we also see strong signals that government is more willing to look at alternative energy (with a lot of producers standing ready to assist) and is trying to improve Eskom’s situation by splitting it up, appointing a new more professional CEO etc.
Our SOE’s are in trouble, but at least weak boards are being suspended and put under administration and even one of our holiest cows, SAA, has been put in a business rescue process (that took some courage!).
Although the process is very drawn out, corruption is being tackled piece by piece, in some of our respective countries strong action has been taken and it seems as if more and more cases will be taken to court in the new year.
- Do you realise how strong our economy actually is? It has stayed upright, bending here and there by now, through all of this, with billions of rands being siphoned out of the country.
- Do you realise how well our normal people actually get along? The scenes with the Rugby World Cup tour through the country, the major marches against violence towards women and also other crimes, by people from all over the country and the celebrations from all corners by Southern Africans (not only in Southern Africa), with the announcement of our new miss Universe, are just some examples!
- Do you realise what a difficult job our country’s leaders actually have? In spite of infighting and backstabbing in their own ranks increasing, an economy that is not growing and that has major issues, as mentioned, with new revelations about corruption, SOE’s failures etc almost weekly; they do stay committed, do make some positive decisions that does have long term effects and at the very least seem to be trying to improve the daily lives of Southern Africans.
- Do you realise how resilient our people actually are? Just one example of this is how quickly Southern Africans from all walks of life can joke, produce meme’s etc. in even the worst times, the past week with the load shedding and floods and the reactions online being a good example!
None of this is to dismiss the real issues that we are constantly facing, but there are solid reasons to adopt a positive outlook and to believe we will work our way through the current challenges. We are here in Southern Africa and we have to make the best of it, for the benefit of all of us.
Some thoughts for the period ahead
We live in unprecedented times where the world is unpredictable and in constant flux, it is not business as usual, which requires an adjustment to our thinking, especially about our financial future. The key to success in these turbulent financial times lies in the ability to make quick adjustments on a regular basis. The various aspects within our financial world are all inter-connected and therefore impacts on one another more and more.
As businesses and business owners we will need to seize the opportunities that are definitely becoming more and more available in these tough times and to be able to do this we need to prepare for this, ensure we have the best advisors and be ready to take tough, but also brave decisions.
What this means for you, our valued client
Having outlined the reasons that I’m positive for the season ahead, I recognize that 2020 seems like a particularly uncertain time. Over the last few years DLR has worked hard to position itself to provide advisory services in order to enable our clients to respond quickly and effectively to future market threats and opportunities. To help you navigate through that, here are the three core pillars that we build on in helping you construct a roadmap for your success:
Pillar 1 Hindsight: compliance services
It is common for businesses to rely on accounting data, competitor sales figures, information from financial statements, market share figures, and consumer research in order to plan for near-term supply needs, production schedules, or staffing. While these data are accurate and valuable, we caution that the past can be an unreliable predictor of the future.
Pillar 2 Insight: strategic services
Building up layers of insight into a client’s lifestyle and decision making is crucial in constructing a picture of their financial viability, life stage, and spending and investment behaviour. In this way we and them are more equipped to avoid compliance concerns and develop a greater platform for making decisions about their future. We value personal relationships with our clients above everything else, not just because it makes sense in our industry, but we can only give the best advice when we really know our clients on a variety of levels, like their legacy, their dreams and thoughts for the future and their vision for their businesses and their families and their children.
Pillar 3 Foresight: performance-oriented services
Foresight involves future-oriented awareness and planning. This is where the real value for our clients are to be found. The opportunities that are being created in chaos are those that real entrepreneurs can grab and make a success of, but then you need to be ready and have the correct advisors at your side.
All of this puts DLR in a unique position to offer value-added advisory services to our clients, having a variety of advantages, for example:
• Broadens choice of product and services
• Offers convenience through one-stop shopping, flexibility, consolidated billing
• Holistic financial advice – unique view of client’s position
• Expert advice in every field
• Increased customer satisfaction and peace of mind
• Personalized client service from our dedicated relationship manager
• Lower overall cost for client
What makes DLR most unique in a world of financial confusion and options, are these key distinguishing factors:
- Many of our clients are facing a new crossroad in life or are in a challenging life transition. These are very potent and important times in life, requiring a particularly holistic and integrated financial picture and plan in order to create and empower a life that is truly yours.
- We focus on building a trust relationship with our clients. We support and expect an independent financial plan to be the foundation upon which we structure, populate, and manage your financial wellbeing.
- The client and his wellbeing are our focus. We work uniquely from a conscious level of personal growth. In other words, when you become a client of DLR, we work together from the heart of the matter up, in order to help you identify and grow from your current situation into a future that is based on all aspects of health, happiness and wealth.
How clients should position themselves to take advantage of the above and what you can expect from DLR in 2020
• Expect an increase in the value of DLR advisory services- we will deepen client relationships, including actual improved communication between us.
- DLR’s focus (and drive) is to close the client-advisor gap in order to position clients to take advantage of the future.
- Be ready to grasp opportunities and to have the ability to receive our advice on those.
I wish you a merry and blessed Christmas, rest well in the time off, enjoy the time with your family and friends and give yourself enough time to think about your particular scenario and your plans for 2020!
From the desk of Pieter Esterhuizen, CA(SA) TEP RA
12 December 2019
Group Chief Executive Officer