The Financial Sector Charter (FSC) was signed in 2003 by the Minister of Finance as well as nine trade associations that represented the financial sector at that time.  Currently ASISA represents its members and the JSE on the FSC Council Board and also in consultation with the South African Insurance Association acts on behalf of the reinsurers. The FSC Council Board was formed with representatives from organised labour, community, government, Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals, as well as the various trade associations.  The board represents the primary governance mechanism for empowerment in the sector and is supported by a secretariat.
Following the signing of the FSC, it was gazetted under section 12 of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Act 53 of 2003 as a voluntary code.  In 2007, the DTI gazetted the generic code (DTI Codes of Practice) under section 9 of the BBBEE Act.  Section 9 Codes have compulsory application to government departments. A process of alignment was initiated soon after the gazetting of the generic code to align the current FSC to the provisions of the DTI Code. This process culminated with the gazetted FSC Code under section 9 of the BBBEE act in December 2012.
Included in the revised FSC code which now effectively replaces the generic code, is a provision for making products and services available to low income earners. ASISA and its members have embarked on three initiatives to support these objectives. These are:

  • The innovative Fundisa fund - The Fundisa Fund is a low cost, education savings plan which includes a bonus to incentivise investors to save for a learner’s tertiary education.
  • Long-term Insurance access standards: Standards with stakeholders for long-term insurance products, in order to facilitate access to long-term insurance risk products, by consumers with a family income of less than R120k per annum.
  • The ASISA foundation – represents an initiative by the industry to pool funding for consumer education initiatives aimed at the above consumers

Also Included in the revised FSC code are significant commitments towards the financing of small and medium sized enterprises, transformational infrastructure, low cost housing, agriculture and BEE transaction funding. In order to support these requirements ASISA and its members have launched the ASISA enterprise development fund.
In parallel to the above initiatives ASISA and its members are also working proactively with National Treasury and other key stakeholders such as organised labour, to address various infrastructure financing related issues, as well as to investigate new and innovative retirement funding solutions for the informal sector.

To download the FSC and its supporting documentation kindly visit www.fscharter.co.za