Why we do the research

About the research

At Sanlam Employee Benefits we believe that we will only develop a better understanding of the issues impacting retirement funding if we are able to effectively assist employers in the design of their benefit structures.

The annual Sanlam BENCHMARK™ Survey is one of the most referenced research papers in the retirement fund industry. Our main objective for the research is to provide insights which stimulate conversation, create meaningful opportunities for further engagement with industry stakeholders and ultimately help effect a positive financial outcome in retirement for South Africans.  


Why do we conduct the Sanlam BENCHMARK™ Survey?

Market research is a formalised means of obtaining information to influence decision-making.
Our research seeks to find information to address some of the behavioural challenges and aims to improve the poor savings culture in South Africa.

What are the benefits of the research for the employee benefits industry?

Let’s consider some of the benefits for retirement fund trustees, members and financial advisers.

Members are:

Our research takes current economic realities into account and relies on ‘best practice’ diagnostic tools to model solutions for the future benefit of all South African retirees. Every year we observe the financial impact of socio-economic conditions on the living standards of members and retirees. For this reason our research includes a combination of qualitative and quantitative fieldwork.

The 2017 Sanlam Benchmark research process began in 2016 by consulting with stakeholders of the retirement funding industry to get a broad view of the issues driving member outcomes. Stakeholders included employers, funds, consultants, media as well as leading experts within Sanlam. Their feedback was consolidated and distilled to a number of key hypotheses to be tested that informed the content of the 2017 Sanlam Benchmark research.

In particular, we expanded the breadth of the research aimed at individual consumers of financial services to better understand the drivers of financial wellness amongst individuals. We also interviewed employee benefits consultants, as key enablers of better retirement outcomes, to gain an understanding of their views of the changing dynamics of the formal retirement funding sector.

Our research programme:

With the aid of a personal financial adviser, members are empowered with information to start retirement planning much sooner.

For trustees and industry players, the benefits include having a repository of information and trends specific to retirement funding. The information is freely accessible via the web application. Sanlam Employee Benefits (SEB) can run data comparisons on specific funds. Funds are able to design benefit structures and communication strategies based on the membership needs and issues uncovered in the research. By improving the levels of saving for retirement, the industry is also in a position to improve the current savings levels in South Africa

The Sanlam BENCHMARK™ Survey does not profess to have the answers to the savings and retirement dilemma which faces most South Africans. It does however, provide a tool to ask the right questions and start the debate on how to align benefits provided by funds with the individual needs of members in a highly litigious environment crippled by high levels of unemployment and low savings behaviour.