Information technology is at the core of how you do your business and how your business model itself evolves
Astute Financial Services Exchange is an electronic information exchange company, enhancing the movement and integration of data in the financial services industry. Astute FSE was launched in 2000 as a collaborative effort between the major Life Insurers in South Africa. We provide intermediaries with a single point-of-entry to client’s investment and insurance portfolio data. We are trusted by more than 20,000 intermediaries and we are fully integrated into the business systems and processes of many Life Insurers in South Africa, with more than 150 integration points. This allows us to keep in line with our strategic objective of providing a Single view of the client. Our service offering includes integrations into regulatory offices and government departments to detect and prevent fraud, as well as assist our clients in complying with legislative requirements.
Astute Financial Services Exchange
Mr Jacques Pieter RossouwExecutive Managing Director & Group CEO
Ms Radha Gouri GovenderChairperson
Mr Brett Warner MatthewNon-Executive Director
Mrs Lizl BudhramNon-Executive Director
Mr Andre Wynand CilliersNon-Executive Director
Mr Eugene Vivian JoosteNon-Executive Independent Director
Mr Kroshelan ChettyAlternative Director
Ms Jill RoseAlternative Director
Astute Short Term Exchange
Mr Jacques Pieter RossouwExecutive Managing Director & Group CEO
Mr Coenraad Frederik de JagerDirector
Mr Rowan Andrew LyleDirector
Mr Kevin Douglas WrightDirector
Executive Managing Director and Group CEO
Jacques is an entrepreneurial technologist with more than 20 years of experience in transforming and running companies. He joined Astute FSE in 2014 with the mandate of transforming the organisations’ strategic objectives, driving growth as well as identifying new opportunities in the marketplace. Jacques has previously worked at Aurecon, the Engineering Group (previously Africon Engineering), as an IT consultant after which he spent six years based in London where he assisted the growth, acquisition and private equity deals of a global financial services group and later became part of Alexander Forbes International through acquisition. In 2010, he founded a company specialising in unified utility management technology solutions, successfully developing the company following major client acquisitions.
Jacques RossouwExec Managing Director & Group CEO Executive
Chief Operations Officer
Charl is a digital and entrepreneurial strategist with a vision of seeing the democratisation of financial information in South Africa. With over 8 years in the financial services space, he started his career in the tech environment working for a software development organisation. He then moved to PWC as part of the Tech Advisory team working on solutions specifically focusing on financial services companies. With a passion for strategy development, business development, entrepreneurship and digital strategy, Charl joined the Astute FSE team in 2016 as the Chief Operations Officer as he identified Astute FSE’s unique positioning to make an impact in the financial services industry. Charl’s key mandate at Astute FSE is overseeing the core operational function, new product delivery as well as maintenance of product and technical infrastructure in the organisation. Charl is currently completing his MBA (Stellenbosch Uni) and has completed qualifications in Bus Hons (Stellenbosch Uni), Project Management (UP) as well as Digital Strategy (Bocconi Uni; Italy).
Charl TheronChief Operations Officer Executive
Executive: Business Development
Darryl joined Astute FSE in 2007, having been in the financial services industry since 1989. His portfolio includes the development of new opportunities and the rollout of Astute FSE products and services into the market.
Darryl SmithExecutive: Business Development Executive
Duncan Joined Astute FSE in 2011 with experience in financial services and information technology spanning over 30 years. Duncan started his career as an accountant and was soon bit by the IT bug during his studies and in his early career as an accountant. His work experience includes being at ABSA as the CIO where he had extensive exposure to financial systems. With his wealth of experience in the financial services and IT space, Duncan joined Astute as the Executive of Strategic Projects. He is responsible for identifying and providing strategic input for new initiatives within the business. He is also an avid sports fan and passionate about adding value to the Fin-tech space.
Duncan BussioExecutive: Strategic Projects Executive
Nivashni has over 19 years’ experience in a variety of functions in HR. Her industry experience spans across retail, medical and the financial services sector. She joined Astute FSE in May 2014 as an Independent Consultant to the Human Resources function and was then permanently appointed as HR Manager in September of the same year. Her key focus is building and entrenching a culture of high performance in the organisation. Driven by a passion for harnessing talent, Nivashni is also responsible for attracting and retaining capable individuals onto the Astute FSE team as well as enhancing the leadership skills in the business. Nivashni holds a BA Degree and Post-Graduate Qualifications in Human Resources.
Nivashni NaguranExecutive: Human Resources Executive
Ovadia has over 20 years’ experience as a financial specialist. He joined Astute FSE in 2013 and his key role includes ensuring business results with a view of long term sustainability, managing the full strategic financial objectives and corporate governance as well as core day-to- day responsibilities and leadership within the finance and executive teams. He has held key executive roles as FD or CFO of the businesses he’s worked in, including The Focus Group and a major non-profit organisation. Ovadia holds a BCom and BCom (Hon) from UNISA.
Ovadia KaempfChief Financial Officer Executive
Consolidated Client Portfolio
INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS: COMPLY WITH FAIS
The Astute CCP service offers intermediaries in the Financial Services Industry rapid access to client policy and investment information to assist with conducting financial needs analysis (FNA) for individual clients.
The product currently provides a single portal to comprehensive information on almost 800 products and benefits commonly found in the long-term risk and investment markets. The products include whole life, endowment, retirement annuity, term assurance, other annuities and income protection policies, unit trust and linked investment products.
Rapid access to information, which may be downloaded directly into a number of integrated needs analysis systems, allows authorised intermediaries to obtain, within seconds, a real-time single view of a client’s portfolio held with the integrated Insurers (referred to as Content Providers).
The Astute CCP product reduces the time and cost of administration and allows the intermediary to focus on their clients while assisting them to meet the compliance requirement of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS). In addition, the service enables flexible billing and facilitates audit trails to assist with transactional tracking and reporting.
This service also assists Financial Service Providers in their claims, underwriting and wills departments as well as Re-Insurers to assess risk.
Financial Service Provider Enquiry
MONITOR STATUS OF INTERMEDIARY AT THE FSB: COMPLY WITH FAIS
The Astute FSP-E product provides an automated system for FAIS s7(3) compliance, with a direct interface with the Financial Services Board (FSB) providing Financial Product Providers (FPP) with daily changes of a Financial Service Provider's status and product categories. the product also assesses the tax status of intermediaries to comply with SARS requirements.
- FPPs supply a subscription list of their FSPs and Representatives (REPS)
- FSB supplies up-to-date data on daily basis
- FSP-E matches and provides FPPs with REP details as per their subscription list
- FSP-E monitors the daily FSB file data for changes and provides these to the relevant FPPs
- Access to Representatives Date of First Appointment (DOFA) and Regulatory Examination (RE)
- An annual audit of all FSPs is performed to confirm whether they meet the SARS definition of a Personal Service Provider requiring withholding of employee tax; details of the audit are provided annually to FPPs according to their subscription list.
Business benefits of FSPE
New appointments or granting of contracts:
- REP look-up assists pre-employment screening and evaluation
- Verify license categories of specific FSPs or REPs
- Details of employment history – includes previous “S-referencing”
- DOFA and RE checks
- Debarred status
Compliance FAIS s7(3):
- Maintain daily checks status and categories electronically
- Information remains current, updated by FSB, 5 days a week
- Debarred list provided
- Fully integrated system saves time, resources, ensures accuracy
- Only daily changes (deltas) are provided, reducing system overheads
- Electronic submission of changes to FPPs intermediary list
- Eliminates need for a manual in-house check of tax status
- Efficiencies and cost-effective use of shared resources across all participating FPPs
- Single annual survey completion per FSP for all contracted FPPs
Life and Claims Register
PREVENT FRAUD BY SHARING RISK AND CLAIMS INFORMATION
The Life Register is a database through which insurers can share information about persons who propose for, or who are the life assured under a policy and who have “notifiable impairments” that are relevant to the risk or claim assessment.
The Claims Register is a database through which insurers can share information about persons who are the life assured under policies and who have made “notifiable claims” that are relevant to the assessment of future claims and risk assessment.
The registers were initially created as a joint venture between ASISA and Astute.
The objective of the Life and Claims register is to prevent fraud in the following ways:
- To prevent consumers who have been refused cover due to a notifiable impairment, to approach another Life Office without disclosing the impairment.
- To prevent the payment of notifiable claims that are refused/repudiated, usually due to non-disclosure.
- Centralised capture ensures that there is a single version of the truth – no synchronisation discrepancies. All companies are able to submit their notifications through the multiple integration mechanisms improving fraud prevention.
- The combined register ensures that both Life notifications and Claim notifications are always available whether assessing a claim or performing underwriting.
MONITOR REPLACEMENT OF POLICIES: COMPLY WITH REPLACEMENT REGULATIONS
The Astute Replacement Register system monitors the replacement of specified financial products both internally and between product providers occurring within a specified time frame of a policy issue or cancellation.
New policies are monitored to see if it replaces another policy that was cancelled during the previous 4 months, or cancelled within four months after the new policy was issued.
The Replacement Register was initially created as a joint venture between ASISA and Astute.
The system is designed to accept “change events” and “new business events” from the Life Offices – these are events which lead to a change in the status of a policy e.g. policy cancelled, policy lapsed, premium reduced, new policies issued, etc. Data is not captured manually, instead, an electronic notification file is sent from all the life offices directly to Astute for the population of the register for all events. These notifications are sent in batches or individually. Life offices are required to notify at least every two weeks but may do so more frequently depending on the volumes and the system capabilities of the different life offices.
The system helps to create a better understanding of the quantity and types of replacements taking place in the life insurance industry. Member life offices that are currently unable to track internal replacements (where one of their products is replaced by another of their own products) can gain visibility into these replacements through the system.
The automated processing of data alleviates administrative burden as well as human errors in the member life offices.
The data can be further analysed to determine long-term trends, policy types that are being replaced, policy types that are being favoured when replacements take place, financial intermediaries responsible for excessive replacements of policies, net replacements within and across life offices.
Astute Short Term Switch
ENABLING DATA AND COMMUNICATION STANDARDS ACROSS THE SHORT TERM INSURANCE INDUSTRY
On 1st January 2016, Astute has acquired the STRIDE switch. Industry feedback played a crucial role in the streamlining, enhancing and integration of STRIDE switch into the Astute Short Term Switch (ASTS). ASTS is a secure and easy way to request and deliver data between insurers and industry participants. The electronic interchange (or switch) of data is a system whereby information can be easily moved from one source to another and is able to overcome incompatibility issues. This type of environment offers a strategic advantage to your company through various benefits:
- Cost saving
- Data accuracy
- Speed of delivery
- Business efficiencies – process more transactions in less time with fewer errors
- Enhanced partnerships
- Improve operational efficiencies by tracking the status of a transaction and measuring performance throughout the process
ASTS will ensure the safe and secure transfer of data without storing data in a central database. Special security is embedded in the switch which will not allow access to parties outside of the insurance transaction without the explicit permission of the industry.
A Directory Service will manage the security and data sharing relationships in the switch. A Batch delivery mechanism will enable participants to share information on a daily, weekly or monthly load. The Switch will enable real-time, bi-directional communication between participants to facilitate both data and process exchange.
Verification of Personal Details
PREVENT FRAUD: VERIFY REAL-TIME ONLINE
VOPD provides for the following verification types:
- Identity verification
- Death certificate verification
- Status verification (alive/deceased status)
- Birth certificate verification
- Family lineage verification
- Marriage verification
Participating companies will receive the following benefits from the DHA link:
- New Business:
- Verify the identities of current and prospective clients; making it difficult for people with fraudulent IDs to take out new policies or to claim against existing policies.
- An overall reduction in fraudulent claims as well as investigation costs;
- Consistent automated processes to fraud detection and prevention
- Verification of DHA documents can speed up valid claim payments and reduce fraud
- More focused forensic activities due to lower first line requests
- Mandated access to DHA data allows for admissibility of evidence
- Improved syndicate investigations and claims analysis
- Regular scheduling and automation of proof of existence;
- Reduction in incorrect payments and improved turnaround time
- Data scrubbing and analysis of existing client books e.g. credit life, trusts & wills etc.
- Manage previously undetected risk exposure
- Proportional development shared with community
- Enhancement costs shared by all participants
- Transactional model lowers barrier to entry; more cost-effective
Governance is provided by a signed Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and ASISA. Access is granted either through a secure website or fully integrated business solutions allowing for individual and bulk requests.
Risk Mitigation Switch
THE RISK MITIGATION SWITCH IS AN INDUSTRY-DESIGNED SOLUTION TO ASSIST IN THE MITIGATION OF FRAUD BY CREATING A SHARED DATABASE OF SUSPICIOUS AND FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES
The RMS benefits the broader Financial Services Industry by:
- Sharing fraud date between companies
- Allows for the prediction of syndicate behaviour
- Flagging of known fraud and suspicious indicators
- Identifying previously undetected fraud by comparing various data elements across parties
- Facilitating the implementation of preventative measures
The strength of the system lies in the collaboration between financial institutions and aggregating the services of specialist providers to create a single entry point to combat and investigate fraud.
The legal constraints have been considered through the establishment of a committee comprising a legal representative from participating insurers.
Astute FSE offers FREE training on our systems through a variety of convenient delivery methods. Astute FSE training is customised for various user types and access levels. We also provide train-the-trainer assistance to empower our customers’ in-house trainers to facilitate Astute FSE system training as part of their onboarding process. You can now book our training sessions through a variety of methods, including:
Astute FSE Training website, uLearn
TeamViewer and Video Conferencing
Training is facilitated by our specialist trainer(s) and can be easily booked online.