Friday, 22 November 2013

Move up to R16million from South Africa

As a South African living abroad you have one opportunity now to “export” up to R16million to a country of your choice. How?

Make use of your 2013 personal R4million foreign investment allowance. December is the ideal time to double up: husband and wife’s combined allowances makes it R8M, and January we apply for your 2014 allowance of R4million each. Before you know it you’ve moved R16million in 60 days.

For professional assistance to make application to move your money fast and effectively, let us call you. 60 days later? 

Your money’s in a bank near you!
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Friday, 7 June 2013

Bring your Retirement Funds from SA

Cash-in your SA Retirement Annuity & Pension before you leave.

Did you know?
You can cash-in (withdraw) the full investment values of your South African retirement annuity products once your financial emigration from SA is on record.

What is financial emigration?
It’s the formal application to the SA Reserve Bank and Revenue Services to amend your residency status from an SA ‘resident’ to ‘non-resident’.  This change in residency status does not affect your SA citizenship or your right to return at any time in the future – it is only a record for SA exchange control purposes.

What then?
After financial migration, you are free to cash-in your retirement annuities and selected pension/provident preservation funds.

What are the advantages of cashing-in?
  1. You’re able to withdraw all your money from SA for re-investment in your new home country.
  2. Within 6 months of obtaining Australian permanent residency you can enjoy the tax advantages when re-investing in your Superannuation
  3. You’ll have available cash to purchase a house, cars and for general relocation costs
  4. You’ll safeguard your retirement savings from further SA currency risk
  5. You can boost your Australian retirement savings which is tax free after age 60

Are you planning to formally emigrate?
It is important to have perspective on your future personal financial position. Once deemed a ‘non-resident’ your SA income is exempt of tax and in accordance with the SA/Australia double taxation treaty,  in the future you’ll be taxed on the Australian side.

An often overlooked, but significant factor to keep in mind when emigrating, is a potential future inheritance in SA from parents, family etc.  As a ‘non-resident’, inheritance income can be freely remitted to Australia, but living abroad, as a SA resident, transferring inheritance income is fraught with difficulty!

To successfully navigate the emigration minefield it is advisable to seek professional advice in order to make your financial exit from South Africa a profitable and pleasant journey.
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Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Emigration and your bank account

Des 07 2012 21:31 Letitia Watson [translation]

Emigration occurs when you leave your country, and it is a complicated process.

Apart from death and a marriage it is considered as one of the most dramatic and involved things that you can experience.

It can easily turn into a nightmare and the new country can shut its doors if the immigration process (to reside in a new country) is not handled properly.

Figures from New Zealand’s immigration authority indicate that almost 50% of applications for permanent residency rights are unsuccessful when submitted by the applicants themselves. In contrast to this, applications submitted via registered emigration agents have a 97% success rate,  says Ryno Viljoen, managing director of, which specialises in financial migration.

“It is important that the immigration agent is licensed with the destination country’s official registration authority. This prevent mistakes and fraud and will ensure that the immigration process is followed properly,” says Sharon Yerman, director of New Zealand Migration Services.

Most of the immigrants with a negative immigration experience are those who approached it incorrectly and then complain when things go wrong, and the immigration was unsuccessful.

Emigration and your bank account

The application to change your status to “emigrant”, is handled by a local bank registered as authorised agents with the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), who prepare your submission to SARB.  SARB then records the change in residency status, provided that the right to live in the new country can be confirmed.

Once the emigrant status is approved, the emigrant’s local bank account is converted into a blocked account for exchange purposes. “Unfortunately the word ‘blocked’has a negative connotation and promotes the perception that a blocked account means that money cannot be transferred overseas,” says Viljoen.

The account can according to him, be used for normal day-to-day transactions. There are some limitations,   such as the fact that online access is not available,  and that local transactions have to be approved by the bank.

“However, the advantage is that the money in the account can be transferred to foreign countries without any limitations. As an emigrant, you are also allowed to transfer unlimited amounts of money into the blocked account.”

Bank transfers

Retirement annuities, yields from life insurance policies, inheritances (provided that the beneficiary was registered as an emigrant before the death) and passive income such as dividends, salaries, directors’ fees and trust income can be transferred from the blocked account.

Once the funds that the emigrant wants to transfer abroad are in the blocked account, the local bank handles  the transaction.

According to Gerhard Niemann, managing director of Quinn Treasury, it is important that the prospective emigrant transfers the R4 million foreign investment grant to the chosen country before a blocked account is created. The emigrant can obtain the best rate by comparing foreign exchange quotes from independent forex traders.

Once the blocked account is opened, all the money and investments in the account are consolidated and the relevant local bank is required to do the transfer. This means that better rates can’t be negotiated with other banks. Viljoen warns that it is important for the emigrant to request other exchange rates as well and not to just simply accept the first bank’s rate.

Financial advisor

Most immigration agents are not financial advisors and are therefore in terms of the Financial Advisory and Intermediate Services Act (Fais) not allowed to advise the emigrant on the financial matters relating to the financial emigration process.

This means that the immigration agent refers the prospective emigrant to local financial advisors, who might not understand the South African emigration process, or not be able to provide the proper advice on the matter.

The prospective emigrant should insist on speaking with a financial advisor specialising in emigration who can draw up a financial emigration plan and long-term overseas strategy. The advisor will assist with the compilation of a financial migration plan in collaboration with the emigrant. This must be considered 12 months prior to the emigrant leaving South Africa. The emigration plan will make provision for, amongst other things, the opening of foreign bank accounts and the liquidation of assets, followed by the formal emigration process if deemed appropriate.


Emigration often also involves the restructuring of local assets via a trust or company to tax efficient countries such as Guernsey, Jersey or the Isle of Man. This requires expert legal and tax advice.

Amendments to the Income Tax Act in 2008 now also enables emigrants to cash in retirement annuities (taken out to save for retirement) before the age of 55 and transfer the funds to a foreign country via the blocked account. Viljoen says that many South Africans abroad are unaware of this, even though it can assist with the purchase of a car or a deposit to finance a house.

In terms of South Africa legislation, emigrants are not allowed to defunct their living annuities and transfer it overseas. A living annuity is created when a retirement annuity, pension or other retirement funds is converted to a life annuity or income plan at the chosen retirement age (earliest is 55 years).

The emigrant can however withdraw a third of the retirement annuity or pension when the retirement age is reached, and then transfer it overseas, while the balance of the two thirds must be invested in a South African living annuity.

The emigrant has the choice of withdrawing an annual income of between 2,5% and 17,5% from a living annuity and can transfer the income overseas via the blocked account.

“However, the weakening rand means that a South African emigrant’s monthly salary in Australia, for example, has decreased by 23% over the past two years. A huge imbalance occurs when a South African emigrant in Australia has investments in South African stocks, shares and cash,” says Richard Carter, director of Allan Gray Life.

Carter is of the opinion that the risk can be minimised by investing as much of the money overseas as possible.

Viljoen says that prospective emigrants should not convert their retirement annuities in living annuities, because the entire retirement annuity can be converted into cash and then taken out of the country.

Remember the following:

  • Inheritances
Emigrants who have received a inheritance after the formal emigration process, can transfer the entire inheritance overseas, where as permanent residents - in other words, those people who have not emigrated formally yet and are therefore still South Africans - cannot transfer their inheritances overseas because it is considered as blocked money.

The inheritances of permanent residents in a new country are therefore only payable in South Africa to the beneficiaries’ South African bank accounts.

  • Passive income
Emigrants can transfer income - such as dividends, interest, rent and even income from discretionary trusts - overseas without any limitations. Permanent residents are not permitted to do this.
  • Move large amounts

Emigration is often used by wealthy individuals to take large, legal amounts out of the country. This enables them to diversify their assets, which they can use to finance their lifestyle abroad. An emigrant can also move capital from a discretionary trust abroad. Permanent residents abroad, who have not formally emigrated, are limited to their annual foreign grant, asset exchange transactions and the foreign property grant.

  • Bank accounts and credit cards

Permanent residents with South African citizenship can only open foreign bank and credit card accounts with the permission of the SARB, whereas there are no such limitations on emigrants.

It is illegal for permanent residents to use South African credit cards and persons committing such an offence are at risk of being fined up to 100%. Emigrants can use their South African debit cards to access their unblocked South African accounts.

  • Pension plans
Permanent residents in another country, who still have South African citizenship, are not permitted to contribute to a foreign pension fund. No such limitations apply to emigrants.

  • Back to SA
Emigrants have the choice of returning to South Africa at any time, as they are not obliged to cancel their South African passports, and can hold dual citizenship in most countries.

  • Time and costs
Emigration can also be a long process. However, working visas are issued within 4- 15 days in New Zealand provided that there are no medical problems or a history of crime. But it can take from 4-7 months to obtain a resident visa. The sooner the process is initiated, the sooner the day of immigration will arrive.

Viljoen says that a typical emigration of a family currently costs approximately R150 000.

You must weigh this cost up against your income and lifestyle costs in the other country to make sure that it makes sense financially.
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Monday, 8 April 2013

PPS Insurance Members are allocated a record R3 Billion from 2012 Profits!

April 2013: The Professional Provident Society of South Africa announced their highest profit in 72-years, with R3.0 Billion going into shareholders’ 2012 Profit Share Account (previously known as Surplus Rebate Account)

PPS Members living outside of South Africa: to find out how much of this money will accrue to your Profit Share Account, please click here to have a confidential email report delivered within 24 hours. : accredited PPS Global Financial Planner
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Friday, 8 March 2013

Billions of South African policy funds seeking rightful beneficiaries.

ASISA, the Association for Savings and Investments SA, officially charged South African life assurance companies to track down the thousands of people they owe billions of Rands in unpaid benefits.

A fixed procedure will be followed to trace unaware claimants so as to pay insurance funds sitting in “suspense funds” to their rightful beneficiaries. The integrity of this standard will be rolled out to include the unit trust industry, and possibly the retirement fund industry, where total value of unclaimed benefits could be greater than that of the life industry.

The reasons for the enormous balance in unpaid benefits?

  • Policyholders’ failure to advise assurance companies of change of contact details.
  • Leaving the country to live and work abroad without formally emigrating.
  • Deceased policyholders with no nominated beneficiaries or incomplete contact details.
  • Forgotten policies, taken out long ago, and lost policy documents are common reasons.

Life companies must hold and grow policy benefits until the rightful owner is traced; no matter how long it takes. It’s important to know that prescription will never apply, even to a claim made 100 years from now. If provable and legitimate it will be paid out. Claimants never lose their right to claim, no matter what.

The bottom line? Assurance companies are obliged to invest and manage “suspense policy fund” with the objective to deliver returns with reasonable customer expectations across a range of stock market conditions.

In other words, policyholders’ market-linked return and choice, at inception, remains at maturity for payout of underlying investment portfolio until the benefit is paid. It’s called Treating Customers fairly.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Sakelui floreer in VSA

Suid-Afrikaanse sakelui in die VSA behaal baie sukses met die herstrukturering van skuld van Amerikaanse maatskappye en kry boonop die geleentheid om permanente verblyfregte in die VSA bekom.

Suid-Afrikaners is meer gewoond om kontantvloeikrisisse te hanteer en vind ’n leemte aan kennis en moontlik die bereidwilligheid onder Amerikaners om skuld te konsolideer en besighede te herstruktureer.

Van die bekende sakelui in San Diego, Kalifornië, is Paul Venter, entrepreneur wat onder meer I-Find, die eerste mobiele gids in Afrika, gestig het en die operasionele hoof van Yonder Media en Ringco in Suid-Afrika was, en Kevin Potter wat oud-stigter van IQ Business Group, uitvoerende hoof van Fedsure Healthcare, finansiële hoof van Tiger Brands asook uitvoerende hoof van Sandbox Technologies was.

Die Suid-Afrikaners is veral suksesvol met die koop van teëlhandelaars in Kalifornië wat vir Suid-Afrikaners ’n bekende soort besigheid is en wat relatief maklik geherposisioneer kan word. 

“In Amerika is groot geleenthede om besighede te koop wat in die knyp is. In die spesifieke marksegment waar ons is, het die tipiese besigheid se omset van $15 miljoen na $3 miljoen geval. Oor die tyd is sommige krediteure nie betaal nie en daar is skuld van sowat $200 000. Die eienaars het dikwels persoonlike blootstelling wie se huise teruggeneem sal word as die besighede vou. Dit bied die geleentheid om eienaarskap teen ’n lae koste te verkry en die nodige herstrukturering te doen – mits die omset gegroei kan word om die waarde vinnig te ontsluit.

“Die maatskappy sal gekoop en die skuld geherstruktureer word. In ’n tipiese geval sal 20c in die dollar betaal word en ’n kapitale inspuiting van sowat $300 000 gegee word, om die kontantvloeisituasie te verbeter. ’n Deel van die strategie is om die groepstruktuur te gebruik om die maatskappye winsgewend na die herstrukturering te maak.” sê Venter.
Die strategie skakel in by die EB-5 immigrant beleggingsvisum van die VSA waar beleggers Green Cards (verblyfregte) kan kry as in sukkelende besighede of in nuwe besighede in die VSA belê word.

’n Vergelyking met vier ander tipiese emigrasielande vir Suid-Afrikaners nl. Brittanje, Nieu-Seeland, Kanada en Australië toon dat die VSA se beleggingsvereiste van R4 miljoen die minste is en dat die verblyfregte in die VSA ook binne twee jaar verkry word terwyl van die ander lande eers permanente verblyfregte na vyf jaar goedgkeur.
Die sukkelende besigheid van die VSA moet reeds vir twee jaar bestaan en ’n verlies vir minstens twaalf maande gelykstaande aan minstens 20% van die waarde van die maatskappy gemaak het. 

“Die immigrant-belegger moet die aantal werksgeleenthede vir minstens twee jaar behou en ’n mate van regstreekse betrokkenheid in die besigheid handhaaf - hetsy aan die bestuurskant of op raadsvlak,” sê Ryno Viljoen, besturende direkteur van wat in finansiële migrasie spesialiseer.

Die bedrag wat die immigrant-belegger in die sukkelende besigheid moet belê is volgens Viljoen sowat R4 miljoen as die besigheid in ’n “targeted employment” area is wat hoë werkloosheid het óf buite die meeste sakekerns geleë is. Indien dit buite die voorgestelde werksarea is, word ’n belegging van sowat R8 miljoen vereis.

‘Nuwe besighede kan ook onder die EB-5 visumprogram gevestig word. Werk moet onder die program vir minstens tien Amerikaners geskep word. Dieselfde  beleggingsbedrag en -areas geld vir nuwe besighede as wat vir sukkelende besighede geld,” sê Viljoen.

’n Immigrant-belegger kan ook verkies om in een van die Streeksentrums in die VSA te belê,  as die belegger nie regstreeks by die besigheid betrokke wil raak nie. Die sentrums is onafhanklike ekonomiese eenhede wat werk vir minstens tien mense met die R8 miljoen of R4 miljoen (in ’n voorgestelde werkarea) moet skep.

Die EB-5 immigrant-beleggersvisum word aan die aansoeker en die gesin (kinders tot ouderdom 21 jaar) toegestaan vir ’n tydperk van twee jaar. As al die vereistes insame byvoorbeeld werkskepping nagekom is, word ’n Green Card uitgereik wat permanente verblyf- en werkgeleenthede aan die gesin toeken.

Die Immigrant-belegger moet die belegging vir minstens vier jaar in die besigheid hou en kan dit daarna onttrek of die besigheid verkoop. Die Green Card is reeds toegeken en die onttrekking sal nie die verblyf- of werkgeleenthede raak nie.

Die EB-5 visum kan egter geweier word, as die aansoeker byvoorbeeld ’n misdaadrekord het, lid van ’n kommunistiese of totalitêre party is, skuldig bevind is aan geldsmokkel of aan ’n oordraagbare siekte soos vigs of tuberkulose ly.

Die EB-5 roete kan die deure na die VSA vir ’n gesin open aangesien die gesinslede ook by die nuwe besigheid kan werk. Die EB-5 aansoeker en gesindlede tel egter nie onder die vereiste werksgeleenthede nie en die aansoeker moet steeds Amerikaners in diens neem om die kwota werksgeleenthede te vul.

Die Amerikaners is volgens Venter baie produktief en daar is nie dieselfde beperkende arbeidswetgewing of regulatoriese wetgewing vir kleiner maatskappye soos in SA nie. 
“In die VSA is sekere administratiewe aspekte van besigheid maklik en dit het my byvoorbeeld vier ure geneem om ’n nuwe maatskappy via die internet op te stel wat voldoen aan al die vereistes en selfs by die belastinggaarder geregistreer is,” sê Venter.
Sakelui help mekaar voortdurend en daar is nie ’n skaarsheidsmentaliteit waar sakelui bang is ander sakelui steel die betrokke mark of idee nie. 

Ander lande het ook beleggersvisums soos:

●  Brittanje se Tier 1 visum waar ’n belegger en die gesin verblyfregte na vyf jaar kan              
    kry deur sowat R14 miljoen in Brittanje te belê. Dié visum word toenemend deur 
    welaf immigrante van Rusland, Sjina en die Midde-Ooste gebruik.

●  Nieu-Seeland se Investor 2 visum vereis ’n belegging van sowat R11 miljoen vir vier 
    jaar wat verblyfregte verseker. ’n Verdere vestigingsbedrag van sowat R7 miljoen 
    moet ook beskikbaar wees. Die belegger moet ook vir die drie laaste jaar minstens 
   146 dae ’n jaar in Nieu-Seeland woon.

●  Kanada se Immigrant Investor Program behels ’n belegging van sowat R7 miljoen 
    wat na ’n tydperk van vyf jaar sonder rente aan die immigrant terugbetaal word. Die 
    immigrant moet ook sake-ervaring KAB bewys en ’n netto batewaarde van R14 
    miljoen kan toon. Die visum word tans hersien.

●  Australië het verlede maand die Significant Investor Visa bekend gestel. Die 
    beleggers moet sowat R46 miljoen in Australiese effekte, aandele of gereguleerde 
    bestuursfondse vir vier jaar belê. Die belegger moet minstens 160 dae van die vier 
    jaar in Australië woon en is ’n poging om welaf individue met internasionale sake-
    ervaring te lok.

    Beleggings …  om ’n paspoort te koop

(Miljoen Rand)
verblyf na
     2 jaar

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Emigrants seek retirement reform

Many South African emigrants face financial challenges in their new countries as their South African living annuities fail to provide sufficient income because of the declining value of the Rand.

The intended retirement reform being discussed by Treasury of late, has dire implications for all SA expats whom have left the country and still have some form of retirement funding that was left behind. Although the intention of the proposed reform is to alleviate the State from the burden of caring for the aging population in future, this is not good news for SA expats intending to retire in a new home country other than SA.

In the last two years the Rand declined for example with 23% against the Australian dollar putting huge pressure on South African emigrants who rely on the income from their SA living annuities.

The value of a typical living annuity, assuming no growth,  worth R1 million in 2010 is only worth R770 000 today in Australia – this is after the Rand declined from R6.91 on November 2010 to R9.01 November 2012.

 “South African emigrants are not allowed to redeem their full South African living annuities or pension funds when they emigrate,” says Ryno Viljoen, managing director of who have assisted thousands of South Africans to emigrate financially. 

 Prior to formal emigration, legislation currently only allows a SA expat to surrender one third of the value of the fund in the form of a once off capital withdrawal, net of tax ranging from 18% to 36% on this amount. The balance of two-thirds must be invested in a South African based living annuity where the annuitant has a choice to withdraw between 2,5% and 17,5% income a year, which is taxed at the marginal rate.

“The income is paid by the product provider in Rand to the annuitants South African bank account. Once the annuitant has however recorded a formal emigration from South Africa, the income is usually freely reamittable offshore, which offers a solution to SA expats wanting to transfer their income to their new home country  ,” says Mr.Viljoen.  

This living annuity is treated differently to retirement annuities and provident funds where emigrants have since 2008 been allowed to cash in and move the total amount offshore prior to the age of 55. Up to 100% from the fund can be withdrawn on which tax is paid. 
The SA Revenue Services collects tax from an emigrant when a retirement annuity is early surrendered, based on the current resignations tax table. An emigrant redeeming a R1 million policy will pay R220, 986 once off, at an effective tax rate of 22%  
The question is why the government doesn't allow the same redemption for living annuities as is applicable to retirement annuities? The SA Revenue Service will stand to gain millions of Rand in additional tax revenue from emigrants who is not the government’s responsibility anyway.

“Any weakness in the Rand has been offset by the underlying portfolio in South Africa which has been doing better than many overseas markets. It worked well over the years but it could be disastrous for an emigrant if both turn negative.

 “There is a huge mismatch if a South African emigrant in Australia’s living standards is determined by South African investments and living annuities. The discrepancy could be large and the risk should be removed by allowing emigrants to redeem their full living annuities,” says Richard Carter, director of Allan Gray Life.

 It does not make financial sense to rely on income and assets from your home country when you emigrate to a new country. It makes more sense to earn income and to hold the majority of assets in the currency where you are living – especially if you have moved from a developing country to a developed country.

“This removes factors like currency risk and inflation which is beyond our control and which have a big effect on our wealth and ability to support our living standards and lifestyles,” says Jason Garner, financial planning coach at ACSIS. 

The emigrant is exposed to draw down and longevity risks as the living annuity investor may erode the value of the capital of the living annuity by drawing a too high rate of monthly income and living longer than expected.

“This is correct that an emigrant cannot redeem a living annuity in full. The clients are advised to consult the rules of their specific preservation fund to ensure that they are allowed to access the value of the capital after the defined retirement date contained in the fund rules,” says Peter Dempsey, deputy CEO of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA).

This also exposes the financial advisor who sold the living annuity for South African circumstances and is subsequently managing the investment under overseas living conditions. The overseas circumstances change the risk appetite and needs of the investor as well as the advice given

A financial advisor must determine an appropriate investment strategy and income draw-down rate for a purchaser of a living annuity so as to minimize the probability of financial ruin. 

The financial advisors use mathematical models to determine draw-down rates and deciding on the asset allocation of the portfolio. These models make assumptions about parameters like investment return and expenses based on South African circumstances. 

The advisor's role is to match the solution to the client’s needs and the asset allocation should be driven by the client’s income requirements. This could be extremely difficult for a South African financial advisor to give advice to an emigrant based in a country the South African advisor does not know.   

“If the client emigrates the whole picture changes and the client should have the right to adjust the income annuity accordingly and transfer the annuity in full  to the new home country ,” says Viljoen.

What happens now is that many emigrants draw the maximum rate of 17,5% a year as the emigrant wishes to draw the living annuity down as quickly as possible. This is according to Viljoen in contrast with the intention of the product as a living annuity is supposed to produce a level of income that is sustainable for life. 

It also places the administrator in a precarious position who must ensure that the rate at which the annuity is currently paid can continue for at least the expected lifetime of the retiree. 
The language in the legislation suggests that a living annuity can be guaranteed but this raises a question if an annuitant emigrates to a country with higher living expenses where the income cannot be guaranteed for life, without proper annuitisation. 

The irony is that an emigrant can transfer the full amount of a provident fund to the new country after paying the same taxes as is applicable to a retirement annuity. The provident rules specifically allow for the full commutation or access to the full capital value of the investment at that date. 

One should consider these retirement options carefully if you want to move to a domicile outside South Africa. The option to bequeath, which is allowed in a living annuity, or a small tax benefit could be attractive but a disaster if a person. Decides to emigrate. 

For further information contact:

Ryno Viljoen      0828517384
Richard Carter   021-415 9963
Jason Garner     0825621878
Peter Dempsey  021 673 1620

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