Tell me about Sanlam’s vision in the UK, why now?
Giles Cross: Well Sanlam’s been in the UK for over 10 years by my reckoning. However, our great failing is whilst we’ve developed some degree of traction and have a reputation for quality and innovation, we’ve failed miserably in letting people know that we were here, especially those historic clients who have moved to the UK during the last 15 or so years.
In terms of our vision, Sanlam is a great brand globally, in real terms if you look at its market capitalisation, if it was to sit on the UK stock exchange, it would be a top 60 UK company. It has an outstanding global reputation for both execution and innovation, it has tremendous brand values, its return on share capital since 2008 has been outstanding.
The UK is a superb market, it’s only appropriate that we establish the Sanlam brand here and our vision over the next four years, between 2013 and 2017 is to establish a leading wealth management brand for the UK.
So are you mainly trying to plug into to Saffers that recognise the brand?
Giles Cross: No, not at all. I represent marketing for Sanlam UK, very much a UK business, through the acquisition of various companies over the last couple of years, Buckles historically, English Mutual more recently. And of course we’ve been heavily involved in the acquisition trail of the buying of UK business. It’s very much a UK company.
However, as a result of quite large scale emigration from South Africa to the UK we’ve identified that we have a huge number of clients who reside here already, who know the brand historically, have been clients in South Africa and we would like to re-engage with them here, we think it’s only appropriate.
Why have you joined the South African Chamber of Commerce in the UK?
Giles Cross: Historically, English Mutual (now Sanlam UK) has a very strong association with the chambers within its footprint.
It seemed only appropriate with our brand, staff members, our desire to engage with the South African market within the UK. It seems an entirely appropriate association and of course the people within it are also quite charming.
How are you going to leverage the South African Chamber of Commerce?
Giles Cross: In terms of leverage, it’s a word I wouldn’t like to necessarily use. I would like to engage and enjoy in the first instance and add value where we can. I don’t expect everyone to come flocking to us because we’ve joined. That would be naïve, arrogant and somewhat distasteful, but to be able to support, get to know people who maybe know us historically, I think is something we’ll enjoy.
We only have one apology to make, and that’s we’re sorry we didn’t let anybody know we were here earlier.