Women’s Day is celebrated every year on the 9th of August in South Africa. The whole month is dedicated to the women in commemoration of those that marched to the Union Buildings in 1956, to protest against the extension of Pass Laws. Standard Bank was prompted to start a conversation with one of our inspiring women, Funeka Montjane (Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking), to discuss the change of corporate leadership.
“There is a social script that says success, power and leadership is male and white”, this statement describes one of the thought patterns within work places. There is a significant influence of this mentality from senior leaders, who should try to be highlighting female narratives in corporate environments. Many women, like Montjane, simply just need to stay in order for the repetition of their decisions to be seen and noticed. When women show up everyday, it will begin to alter the narrative around power and success in the workplace.
Women in business often have to overcome the prejudice of stereotyping, such as being ‘emotional’ or controlling’, which is something that even Montjane, at this senior point in her career had to deal with. However, when men are “conscious and whole” they have such a “platform to not only mentor but sponsor people’s careers”. Sponsoring is about opening doors, creating opportunities and believing in the success of women. Montjane’s manager Peter Schlebusch’s chose to sponsor her and actively supported and helped to build confidence, which enables people to thrive!
Montjane is now at the helm of a division at Standard Bank that employs around 20,000 people and services over 11 million customers. She continues to be committed to building the future for women in leadership. By women simply showing up each day to work the “social script” to will continue changing.
Even with corporate culture is changing, Montjane still worries that the pace is not going to match the adequate expectations of women. Standard Bank has been trying to instill the value and impact of women in through multiple different initiatives over the years. One of them being Top Women, which celebrates South African organisations in public and private sectors that that prioritise women empowerment in their business strategies. Another initiative has been to host a showcase of over 50 women who are a part of successful entrepreneurship programmes.
Standard Bank is proud to have a women like Montjane, a successful and encouraging CEO on board to pioneer the way for many more women to change the script.
Over the past couple of years South African investors have had their fair share of dodgy investment scams disguised as unique investment opportunities. Recently, someone posted on the community under the talk section, asking for clarity on what seemed like advice on a cryptocurrency scheme('Financial advice and bitcoin trading'). It made me think about the case involving one Steve Twain and the ‘$50-million cryptocurrency scam’ that left some South African investors in financial disarray. In Australia, cryptocurrencies have become the second most common investment scam. Not to say there's anything inherently wrong with crytocurrencies - however, they're fast becoming an easy vehicle for scammers to take advantage of people simply because they, much like forex, remain incredibly difficult to understand for the man on the street.
Whether we're talking equity, forex or bitcoin scams, when it comes to trading or investing schemes or platforms, be sure to look out the following signs:
For those of you with a particular interest in crypto scams, you can also check out this great article on Investopedia on How to Identify Cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offering Scams.
While the FSB can’t regulate sites domiciled overseas or keep tabs on each and every single scam out there, bringing such cases to their attention can help them spread awareness. The internet has made it very easy for people anywhere in the world to run elaborate schemes and by-pass regulators. After all, the FSB and Reserve Bank can’t regulate which sites South African consumers choose to visit.
The most that you as an investor can do, is arm yourself with as much information as possible.
Want to learn how to avoid forex scams? Check out the podcasts below:
Every Action sets something in motion.
We fund education because we believe that investing in the youth is investing in Africa, our home.
As part of our #Mandela100 initiative, we’re creating educational materials for primary schools in different communities.
We encourage you to get involved and help a local school in your area too.
Here’s to moving forward.
At around midnight, Lindiwe Maxolo sang the last song of her first of two shows at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival in Grahamstown. We were all gathered at her feet in the Standard Bank Jazz Café a few hours following Nduduzo Makhathini’s twilight time gig at DSG Hall. The two wove a web of a wonderful theme to celebrate jazz as existence music.
Maxolo presented songs from her much anticipated record accompanied by a power house rhythm section of Sphelelo Mazibuko on drums, Nhlanhla Radebe on bass and Wandile Molefe on keys. Trumpeter, Sthembiso Bhengu was there as a sole horns man. Watched by an awestruck audience of music lovers, Maxolo issued with a brand of elegance that celebrates the sure divinity of human sensuality. Her songs about love dared never to be soapy. Maxolo delved dexterously into her mature melody and message all the while Molefe managing to churn a colourful cluster of cords on the keys to match Mazibuko’s explosive voice. Radebe locked the time to hold everyone’s passion together while Bhengu’s horn defied the physical effort one must master to make such beautiful music, but is this not the meaning of virtuosity? To master the senses in the service of great art! In a way this was the meaning of Maxolo’s gig. The human body as the source and site of life edifying beauty.
Earlier in the day, Makhathini had declared his gig to be to a kind of communion commemorating the comradery shared amongst his band mates. Makhathini and Ayanda Sikade share a music partnership that goes back almost two decades. He has also been playing with Linda Sikhakhane at least since his debut record, Mother Tongue.
The on-stage hearty exchanges shared with Makhathini, drummer Sikade and Radebe on bass made for rich enough rhythmic context for saxophonist, Sikhakhane to take audiences into other realms. Apart from tunes from his latest record, Ikhambi, which won a SAMA for Best Jazz Album, they played music charts from Listening to The Ground and some treatments of music from his forthcoming record, Modes of Communication.
The band played with a kind of passion that turned the bandstand into a portal, a space to connect and converse on an otherworldly level. Their long and languid notes, along with their open and often cyclical phrases sounded as charged as an episcopal benediction or the transformative ritual of healer turning hurt to hallowed hope. Makhathini’s music was decidedly interested in the spiritual.
Moxolo and Makhathini perform again tonight at DSG Hall at 20h30 and the Standard Bank Jazz Cafe at 22h30 respectively.
Saving for your dream holiday or honeymoon is easier with our goals-based financial planning philosophy; we match investment goals with the right strategies to get you there, rather than the more simplistic approach of merely placing your money in a product that seeks the highest possible returns for a given risk profile.
Errol Meyer, Head of Advisory Services at Standard Bank Financial Consultants, says the first step in planning your savings strategy for your dream holiday or honeymoon is to define the investment horizon. This will be short-term, so products focused on long-term investment, such as RAs, shouldn’t be considered.
“For a short-term savings goal with an investment term of around three to five years, a unit trust or tax-free investment vehicle may be your best option,” says Mr Meyer. “It would be far better suited to such a strategy, as they provide the necessary diversification in asset classes, and the funds can be accessed once the investment term has ended.”
Once you have defined the term of your investment and chosen the solution for your needs, choose where you plan to holiday and how much it will cost. Assuming your destination is local with a current cost of R100 000, factor in the inflation rate anticipated over the investment term. If inflation is expected to average 5% over the five-year investment term, your after-tax returns must amount to R27 628 just to cover the impact of rising prices over the investment course.
In the above scenario, you’ll need to contribute at least R19 000 each year with an expected return of inflation-plus-5% to reach your goal. If this contribution won’t get you to your long-term goal, consider contributing a little more each year, say R20 000. Keep the investment in a moderate inflation-plus-3% product, rather than exposing a smaller amount to a more aggressive portfolio.
“Trying to make up returns by going more aggressive isn’t always a good strategy in a short-term investment horizon, as you have less time to recover from any potential sell-offs,” says Mr Meyer. “You want to stick to a goals-based financial planning strategy in which you are focused on how to achieve a specific goal, rather than merely chasing the biggest possible return, which can come with more risk.”
If you’re planning a foreign holiday or honeymoon, consider an investment portfolio denominated in the currency you will be spending at your destination. This will ensure that any possible sell-offs in the rand don’t erode your investment returns.
“An offshore investment in a currency like the US dollar or euros will likely have a lower inflation plus objective to meet, but it will remove the concern of a currency sell-off. It’s always possible that the rand can move in your favour, but if you’re planning something like a honeymoon, then that’s not a chance you want to take. If the rand moves the other way, you might end up spoiling your honeymoon.”
Errol Meyer, Head of Advisory Services at Standard Bank Financial Consultants, says most people start their financial planning by looking for a product that will give them the best expected returns over a particular time. But, he says, it’s better to start with your end-goal in mind and then match that with the best products.
If your goal is short-term, like saving for a child’s education, a tax-free investment vehicle could be your best option. You can invest R33 000 a year, and ‘cash out’ at the end of your investment period without incurring any exit tax. The growth build up is also tax free, complementing the compound-growth principle.
The trick here is not simply to invest in the product that offers the best anticipated return to maximise your potential capital amount; you should define how much you need over the investment term, then choose a suitable return profile to get you there.
“If an inflation-plus-3% strategy will get you to your investment goal without exposing you to undue risk, there’s no point in putting your money in a more aggressive product,” says Mr Meyer. This is pertinent when your goal is short-term in nature, as short-term market fluctuations could wipe out your returns.
If an inflation-plus-3% strategy is not aggressive enough to get to your final goal, but is important to not miss that goal at the end of the term, contribute a slightly larger amount to a product with a more moderate returns profile, rather than targeting a more aggressive solution. For example, if you’ve calculated that you need to invest R15 000 a year in an inflation-plus-3% product for your child’s education but your expected return after the four-year term isn’t what you require, put away R16 000 a year into the same product rather than exposing your R15 000 to a more aggressive one.
If your investment goal is long-term, like wanting to retire at 65, you can afford to be relatively more aggressive, because you have time to recover from short-term market volatility, assuming you’re not nearing retirement age. For example, if you earn an annual salary of R600 000 and you want to maximise your retirement savings potential, take the full 27.5% tax-break allocation that you can place in an RA. This will leave you with R435 000 from which you’ll pay R90 408 in tax (after rebates), leaving you with a final sum of R344 592. From this, allocate a portion to a tax-free investment with an aggressive strategy, allowing for a relatively high equity weighting.
“The nice thing about this option is that the amount you apportion to the tax-free vehicle is exempt from Regulation 28, as the contributions are coming from after-tax income,” says Mr Meyer. “This allows you to adopt a far more aggressive strategy than you would in your RA and benefit from the tax-savings as well.”
Two shows at the Standard Bank Jazz Festival, one in the day, the other at night showcased two generations of South African jazz at the DSG campus. Whilst the school’s big band performances held at the auditorium pointed to a lush future thanks to the school kids, the Blue Notes Tribute Orchestra (BNTO) who played at the DSG Hall invoked our living jazz heritage with a view to demonstrate how vibrant futures are made too.
The schools’ band sessions comprised of ensembles from a number of schools in the Eastern and Western Cape, Gauteng and some players from other parts of South Africa.
SACS Big Band stood as the swinging pride of Cape Town while Stirling Big Band raised the flag for Port Elizabeth. Then there was a taste teaser performance from the newly formed Standard Bank National Schools Big Band.
Constituted by high school age musicians with big dreams in their hearts, the bands played a variety of arrangements of some notable jazz classics. Evergreen tunes like The Lady is a Tramp which was composed by Richard Rodgers and later made famous by giants like Frank Sinatra came rolling rhythmically off of the mouths of babes. Hope had a sound and the youthful jazz players were eager to give it voice. Once the kids had made their statements with bold innocence, it was the turn of the night people to enjoy a bit of jazz.
Discerning audiences made up of youthful record collectors and other enthusiasts, gathered musicians and revellers in town for the weekend, many from nearby cities filled the hall with eager anticipation. The BNTO gig was clearly one of the festival’s most anticipated performances. The band presented music by the historic band, the Blue Notes who left South Africa in 1964 for exile. Led by trumpeter Marcus Wyatt, the BNTO played a sea of ten hot numbers. For two of these they invited a rising singing power house, Titi Luzipo on to the stage. She lent her voice to a soaring tune called Dear Africa. From the belt of the first note, it was clear the band was intent on making it a gig to remember.
Then they took on the great jazz standard, Lakutshoni Langa based on an arrangement that was originally devised by Blue Notes drummer, Louis Moholo-Moholo. This tune kicks off with all the hallmarks of the familiar classic. Luzipo registers the melodic lyric, leading a harmonic chorus before the horns lift of into a rapturous cadenza. It became a festival of lifts and falls, construction and explosions, calls and responses.
Lakutshoni Langa is a ballad everybody tends to think they know. This version breaks with all that sense of comfort. Luzipo sang it with just the kind of force and passion one should expect from the Blue Notes or any band bent on channelling their spirit as the tribute orchestra does. It is unsettling. In this mode, the ballad that is often delivered with a romantic touch speaks to the terrifying urgency of loves lost to the tyranny of a repressive state, not a lover who simply goes missing due to the innocent run of the mill flow of life.
In the end, as the last note was delivered and the audiences rose up to applaud, the SBJF had managed to deliver a message of history’s relevance and the fervour of an impending future.
Painter, writer and art historian Dr Same Mdluli has been appointed as curator at the Standard Bank Gallery. She is excited about the opportunities presented at the helm of the gallery. As someone steeped in a love of art from an early age, it’s no surprise that Same’s art credentials are extensive. She graduated from the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein and completed her PhD in art history at Wits University in 2015. Aside from teaching art and time spent working at The Goodman Gallery in both Cape Town and Johannesburg, she co-founded a gallery in Melville, the Sosesame Gallery. “It was really an initiative for young artists to give them a space where they could exhibit professionally, because they can’t walk into the Goodman Gallery, for example. What do they do after their degree? They get thrown into a world where there aren’t any spaces or studios where they can practice, so that was really what drove that,” she says of the venture.
Now it’s onwards to a far greater platform. “It’s, of course, a much bigger role. The impact is a lot more. I think one of the challenges that the art community and the art market faces is how to draw in the corporates, and I think Standard Bank has been really successful in finding that balance, across the National Arts Festival, this space of the gallery and the Joy of Jazz. In terms of the cultural landscape, it’s quite prominent – and has been for a long time. This gallery was established in 1990, so in 2020 it will be 30 years,” she comments.
Currently, the exhibition “I am because you are: A search for Ubuntu with permission to dream” is on show at the gallery. “The timing is when we’re at a very interesting time in the country. What I’m most excited about with this show is how it is focused and directed at getting a sense of the audience’s reception and interaction with it. If we can try to have a lot more shows that are centred around that offering, people who come to the gallery are not just going to come and look, but come and have an experience,” says Same.
Drawing a younger audience into galleries is a topic of discussion. “I think it’s about homing in on what they are really interested in. So, for instance, a platform like Instagram, if you can tap into that and link it somehow to an activity here at the gallery,” says Same. “I saw how, for instance, during the Andy Warhol show at WAM (Wits Art Museum), everyone was posting selfies next to the art, because it feeds into that whole pool and language of imagery. While we want to put together intellectually stimulating shows, we also want to not come across as too intimidating, because already art is thought of as a very elitist kind of thing. It’s really about showing sensitivity and thinking about what it is that young people want to see, what do they want to experience, and what you can expose them to,” she says.
One of the challenges galleries are grappling with is how to incorporate performance art, installations and conceptual experiences, and the Standard Bank Gallery is no different. For Same, it’s about, “taking a little bit of a risk and going with experimental things like installation art, exhibitions that are going to become about experiences.”
As to the intriguing challenge of balancing the heritage of the collection and its legacy within African art with the need to progress and move forward and explore, Same says, “I think the material is already there. What’s key is to understand that I don’t have to go very far to reach for content. It’s about keeping on par, keeping in mind the trends, and not just what’s happening in the art world, but what’s happening in visual culture, which is totally different. What visual culture encourages more is this interdisciplinary merging and blurring of different approaches, so it’s about the balance.”
She’s keen to reach out to the parts of Africa where the bank has a presence. “One of the things I have advocated for is to invite a lot more African curators. They’re doing amazing things, so tapping into those networks and seeing what kind of collaborations and exchanges can come out of that. Giving voices to younger curators, I think they will bring fresh ideas and unconventional approaches that will encourage a new way of looking at art,” she comments.
Her role includes playing a part of the acquisitions team. “I am excited about it because I think, sometimes, because the art world depends a lot on provenance, certain artists get overlooked – and it does not mean that they are not important artists. I think it’s one of the challenges, particularly in the South African and African context. There’s an opportunity to elevate those voices.”
Visit the gallery
The Standard Bank Gallery is located on the corner of Simmonds and Frederick streets in central Johannesburg and offers free, safe undercover parking on the corner of Harrison and Frederick streets. Gallery hours: Mondays to Fridays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm, and Saturdays from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Entrance is free.
Or find the gallery on Instagram by searching the hashtag #standardbankgallery.