Welcome to Information at Your Fingertips

The Financial Services Exchange (Pty) Ltd, trading as Astute, was launched in April 2000 as a collaborative service between members of the former Life Offices’ Association of South Africa (LOA), now part of the Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA), which recognised the need to establish an electronic exchange for the long-term insurance industry. The initiative was spearheaded by the Liberty Group, Old Mutual and  Sanlam who set up the company on behalf of the industry and are the equal shareholders of Astute.

Through a structured co-sourcing partnership arrangement with a well known and reputable technology company, the technology has been created to cater for the exchange to handle a variety of financial information transactions.

Our Directors
RG Govender (Chairperson)
JP Rossouw (Managing Director)
PJ Dempsey (Director)
B Matthew (Director)
AW Cilliers (Director)
L Budhram (Director)
N Madonko (Alternate Director)
Y Naidoo (Alternate Director)
A van Niekerk (Alternate Director)

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Our Core Values

Integrity

Excellence

Collaboration

Accountability

Social Responsibility

Executive Team

The management structure of Astute consists of the Managing Director supported by Executive Heads with the functions of IT Operations, Human Resources, Business Development, Finance, Products & Portfolios, and Marketing. Astute is in Rosebank.

Jacques Rossouw

Jacques Rossouw

Managing Director

I joined Astute in July 2014 as the Managing Director to steer the company in a new direction. I regard myself as an entrepreneurial technologist and have more than 20 years of experience in transforming and running companies.

Willie Snyman

Willie Snyman

General Manager

I have been in the financial industry since 1977 in various roles including marketing, sales, business development and account management. I joined Astute in 2007 as Head of Business Development and from July 2014 in the role of General Manager.

Darryl Smith

Darryl Smith

Business Development Executive

I have been in the financial services industry since 1989 and Astute since March 2007. My portfolio includes development of new opportunities and the roll out of our products and services into the market.

Duncan Bussio

Duncan Bussio

Head of IT

I joined the company in 2011. My experience in Financial Services and Information Technology spans over 30 years.

Marsha Koekemoer

Marsha Koekemoer

Product & Portfolio Executive

I joined Astute in 2000 as a Business Analyst where I set out to build the Consolidated Client portfolio offering and eventually headed up the IT division in the role of IT Manager. In 2008 I decided to explore the world of consulting at a number of blue chip industry giants, focussing on integrations to Astute and the development of Financial needs analysis systems.

Nivashni Naguran

Nivashni Naguran

Human Resources Manager

I joined Astute 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. My qualifications include a BA Degree and Post Graduate Qualifications in Human Resources, coupled with 15 years of experience in my field of expertise.

Ovadia Kaempf

Ovadia Kaempf

Finance Executive

I have been at Astute since August 2013. I have over 20 years’ experience in the finance space, since 2005 I have been an FD or CFO of the businesses I have worked in. I have a B Com and B Com (Hon) from Unisa.

Our Products & Services

Astute is a specialist information technology company that provides data exchange services to financial services companies and intermediaries.

INFORMATION AT YOUR FINGERTIPS

The Astute CCP system offers financial service providers rapid access to client policy and investment information to assist with conducting financial needs analysis (FNA) for individual clients.

The system currently provides comprehensive information on almost 800 products and benefits commonly found in the long term risk and investment markets. The products includes whole life, endowment, retirement annuity, term assurance, other annuities and income protection policies, unit trust and linked investment portfolio products. Offering rapid access to your clients’ information, which may be downloaded directly into a number of needs analysis systems like Blueprint, S.net, atWork, PROFIDA, Spotlight and Xplan.

Astute CCP System reduces the time and cost of administration and allows you to focus on your clients while assisting you to meet the compliance requirement of the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act (FAIS). In addition, Astute Enquiry enables flexible billing and facilitates audit trails to assist with transactional tracking and reporting.

The Financial Services Board (FSB) requires Financial Product Providers (FPPs) to verify the status and license categories of intermediaries before accepting new business from them – FAIS s7(3). In addition, FPP’s are required by SARS to verify the tax status of intermediaries they contract with.

FSPE is an automated system for FAIS s7 (3) compliance, providing FPP’s with daily changes of FSP’s they deal with as well as an annual tax status update.

System overview

–          FPPs supply a subscription list of their FSPs and Representatives (REPS)

–          FSB supplies up-to-date data on daily basis

–          FSPE matches and provides FPPs with REP details as per their subscription list

–          FSPE monitors the daily FSB file data for changes and provides these to the relevant FPPs

–          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”

  • Compliance FAIS 7(3):

–          Maintain daily checks status and categories electronically

–          Information remains current, updated by FSB, 5 days a week

–          Debarred list provided

  • Electronic process:

–          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

  • SARS Compliance:

–          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

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 lives assured under, policies 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 lives assured under policies and who have made “notifiable claims” that are relevant to the assessment of future claims or future risk assessment.

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 is refused/repudiated, usually due to non-disclosure.

Centralised capture ensures that there is 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

On this system 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 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 policy issued etc. Data is not captured manually, instead an electronic notification file is sent from all the life offices directly to Astute for 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.

ENABLING DATA AND COMMUNICATION STANDARDS ACROSS THE SHORT TERM INSURANCE INDUSTRY

STRIDE is a secure and easy way of delivering data between insurers and binder holders. 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 less errors
  • Enhanced partnerships
  • Improve operational efficiencies by tracking the status of a transaction and measuring performance throughout the process

STRIDE will ensure the safe and secure transfer of data between, primarily, insurers and their binder holders. The data will not be stored in a central database and will not be available 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 in a daily, weekly or monthly load. The Switch will enable real-time, bi-directional communication between participants to facilitate both data and process exchange.

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.
    • Claims:
      • 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
    • Forensics:
      • 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
    • Annuities:
      • Regular scheduling and automation of proof of existence;
      • Reduction in incorrect payments and improved turnaround time
  • General:
    • 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.

Our Valued Partners

Our corporate clients include all major life, short-term and system provider companies. Astute is proud to provide services to a large majority of independent financial adviser firms, including the members associations Masthead, FPI, FIA and IISA. Astute is a member of ACORD and ASISA.

Our Training

The Astute training department offers training services nationally for the following products:

Our workshops cater for all levels of experience and the sharing of knowledge during open discussions which have proven to be of mutual benefit to attendees. Our typical workshop session is user driven and hence addresses the user challenges, questions and queries practically. We do not merely offer insight into Astute but also provide you with learning material relative to products and legislation in the competitive and legislative Insurance industry.

The training is offered to Advisors, Assistants and Administrators.

The Workshops covers the following subjects:

Functionalities on the Astute Home Page
Requesting and retrieving product information on the Astute website
Administration
Effective application of Astute may assist in a more efficient and cost saving financial needs analysis process.
User Administration and Security
Compliance

The Life Register is a data base through which insurers can share information about persons who propose for, or who are the lives assured under, policies 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 lives assured under policies and who have made “notifiable claims” that are relevant to the assessment of future claims or future risk assessment.

Training is offered to Life users, Claim users, Supervisors and Enquirers of the various participating companies. The training covers the following topics:

  • Loading a Life Notification
  • Loading a Claim notification
  • Searching for a notification
  • Amending a notification
  • User management


The Asisa Replacement register monitors the replacements of Policies in South Africa. The system is able to accept “policy change events” and “new business events” from all the relevant South African life offices and performs a replacement match on transactions within a 4-month trading window.

Training is offered to the participating companies and includes reading and interpretation of the various reports available.

The verification of Personal Details system provides participating companies with a direct link to the National Population Register to verify various aspects of personal identity and DHA documentation including Death Certificates.

Training is provided to the users of the various participating companies on how to submit individual and bulk queries through the secure website.

Contact us on training@astutefse.com or +27 861 278883

To book a training session, kindly complete the form below:


News & Events

Stay up to date with out latest News & Events.

Astute announces new organisational structure
09/09/2014

Astute, the specialist information technology company that provides data exchange services to financial services companies and intermediaries, has announced a new organisational structure as it prepares for the next phase in its development. Recently appointed Managing Director, Jacques Rossouw said the intention was to build on Astute’s status as the leading independent interactive electronic information […]

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15 Years Later and Still Going Strong!
03/05/2015

Astute celebrates its 15 year as the backbone of information sharing in the financial services industry. Today financial planners find Astute’s information switch to be an invaluable part of their practice, providing them with live, up to the second data regarding their clients.  We have come a long way since our inception in 2000, and […]

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It’s all about the data
06/08/2015

Astute is celebrating 15 years as the backbone of information sharing in the long-term insurance industry. Today financial planners find Astute’s information switch to be an invaluable part of their practice, providing them with live, up to the second data regarding their clients, from most product providers in the local industry.   Managing Director, Jacques […]

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Easy Steps to Managing Your Profile
06/23/2015

1. The search criteria The minimum information required to do an Astute download is: (this may differ with FNA’s ) Initials Surname Date of Birth ID number is optional but recommended It is advisable that you capture the most comprehensive information you have for your client. Ideally capture as per the Identity Document to ensure […]

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