Capital management

 
Covered business (life insurance operations)
The Group's covered business requires significantly higher levels of allocated capital than the other Group operations. The optimisation of long-term required capital is accordingly a primary focus area of the Group's capital management philosophy given the significant potential to enhance shareholder value. The following main strategies are used to achieve this objective: 
 
> Appropriate matching of assets and liabilities for policyholder solutions. This is especially important for long-duration policyholder solutions that expose the Group to interest rate risk, e.g. non-participating annuities. 
> Managing the impact of new business on capital requirements by limiting volumes of capital-intensive new business. 
> The asset mix of the long-term required capital also impacts the overall capital requirement. An increased exposure to hedged equity and interest-bearing instruments reduces the volatility of the capital base and accordingly also the capital requirement. Over the longer term, the expected investment return on these instruments is however lower than equity with a potential negative impact on the return on GEV. There is accordingly a trade-off between lower capital levels and the return on capital. The Group's stochastic capital model is used as input to determine the optimal asset mix in this regard. 
> The introduction of long-term debt into the life insurance operations' capital structure and the concurrent investment of the proceeds in bonds and other liquid assets, to reduce the volatility in the regulatory capital base with a consequential lower overall capital requirement. 
> Management of operational risk. Internal controls and various other operational risk management processes are used to reduce operational risk and commensurately the allowance for this risk in the calculation of required capital. 
 
The Group continues to improve and further develop its capital management models and processes in line with international best practice and the current significant international and South African developments surrounding solvency and capital requirements. 
 
Other Group operations
The performance measurement of other Group operations is based on the return achieved on the fair value of the businesses. Risk-adjusted return targets are set for the businesses to ensure that each business' return target takes cognisance of the inherent risks in the business. This approach ensures that the management teams are focused on operational strategies that will optimise the return on fair value, thereby contributing to the Group's main objective of optimising return on GEV. 
 
Group Capital committee
The Group Capital committee, an internal management committee, is responsible to review and oversee the management of the Group's capital base in terms of the specific strategies approved by the Board. 
 
Discretionary capital 
Any capital in excess of requirements, and not optimally utilised, is identified on a continuous basis. The pursuit of structural growth initiatives has been set as the preferred application of Group capital, subject to such initiatives yielding the applicable hurdle rate and being complementary to or in support of Group strategy. Any discretionary capital not being efficiently redeployed, will be returned to shareholders in the most effective form.