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Karin Muller

Chief Executive: Sanlam Individual Life

Karin Muller was appointed Chief Executive of Sanlam Individual Life on 1 August 2016. Sanlam Individual Life offers Long-term Insurance solutions to clients in South Africa.

Karin, an actuary and CFA Charterholder, joined Sanlam in January, 1997. Before her appointment as CE of Sanlam Individual Life, she was Head of Growth Market Solutions where she was responsible for the development of a sound financial value proposition for middle market Sanlam clients, while also leading the Marketing function in Sanlam Individual Life and Segment Solutions (SILSS), as well as some across-business functions in SPF.

Karin has also held other positions in Sanlam, amongst which Valuations Consultant and Manager: Research and Development for Sanlam Employee Benefits; Actuarial Advisor; Specialist Product Designer and Business Owner for the SanlamConnect project.

Recognised for her professional contribution to the company, she was awarded the SPF Activator Award in 2007 and received the prestigious Sanlam Group Chief Executive Award in 2008. She is a fellow of both the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries and the Actuarial Society of South Africa, and is a member of the CFA Institute and the CFA South Africa.

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Lizelle Nel

Executive Head: Regulatory Coordination & Advanced Analytics

After joining the company in 1992 as an actuarial assistant, Lizelle spent her first 8 years in various areas within SPF Actuarial before being appointed product actuary for Sanlam Life Product Development in 2000, and then moving to Client Solutions in 2001 to head up Intermediary Support for the retail businesses. Lizelle also spent 2 years in SPF Distribution assisting with strategy and cost efficiency. In 2004 she was appointed Head of Intermediary Support for Client Solutions.

As business owner of SanlamConnect from 2005 up to 2008, she was responsible for the design, implementation, management and integration of a new business model, which focuses on the lower end of the middle market, into the Sanlam portfolio.

Lizelle was appointed Head of Actuarial Analysis in 2010 and was involved in many of the challenging regulatory changes that will affect Sanlam and the industry, including the new Solvency requirements, Treating Customers Fairly, Retirement Reform and Retail Distribution Review. In September 2015 she was appointed as Executive Head: Regulatory Coordination and Advanced Analytics for the Group.

In addition to her numerous qualifications, Nel was recognised as one of Sanlam’s Top Five Women in 2000 and has held the title as one of the Sanlam Future Leaders every year from 2000 to 2007. In 2014 Lizelle was awarded the Group Chief Executive Award.

Nel holds a B.Comm from the University of Stellenbosch and a certificate in Actuarial Techniques and Finance and Investment from the Institute of Actuaries. In 2000 she qualified as an actuary and became a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries (FIA) in London UK and a Fellow of the Actuarial Society of South Africa (FASSA). She also received a higher diploma in Financial Markets and Instruments from The Academy of Financial Markets in 2003. In 2001 Nel completed the Sanlam Executive Development Programme with Manchester Business School and in 2008, the Executive Development: Insurance Business Simulation Programme at the Stellenbosch Business School. In 2014 Lizelle also completed the Sanlam Executive Leadership Programme at the Gordon Institute of Business Science.

Nel is married with a son and daughter. She enjoys reading and spending time outdoors, playing netball and swimming.

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Demetre la Grange

Swiss Re: Head of Life and Health Southern Africa

Demetre la Grange is the Head of Swiss Re's life and health team for Southern Africa. He has 11 years’ experience in the South African life insurance and reinsurance industry, and 14 years of benefit consulting experience in the UK. He is passionate about helping people and serving clients in the best possible way.

Demetre is a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the United Kingdom, as well as the Actuarial Society of South Africa. He is due to complete the MBA programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School at the end of 2018.

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Andre Larisma

Head: Sanlam Reality

Prior to joining the insurance industry, Andre spent time in management consulting and investment banking with Bain and UBS, and also worked as an entrepreneur. Over the past 17 years he has studied, worked with and consulted to consumer financial services players in South Africa, and has followed the convergence of health cover, life insurance and loyalty programmes with a keen interest. He joined Sanlam in 2013 to head up the Group’s loyalty and rewards programme, Sanlam Reality, and was given the opportunity to help shape Sanlam’s response to this important trend. Andre holds a BSc Hons in Maths and Physics from Rhodes University and an MSc in Space Studies from ISU in France.

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Ronald Samuels

Chief Executive: Sanlam Trust

Ronald Samuels is fascinated by the art of leadership and studied the subject for more than two decades. He holds a Post Graduate Diploma from the University of Cape Town and has completed many leadership programmes at the University of Stellenbosch and Melbourne, Australia. He is currently busy with his MBA at Henley Business School.

Ronald has held many senior leadership positions varying from working for the previous three Ministers of Defense to distribution management roles at Old Mutual.

In 2000 he joined Sanlam and became one of the youngest regional general managers, in charge of the Western Cape region at the time. He later went on to head up various businesses for Sanlam including Sanlam Connect, Sanlam Employee Benefits, FIN Q Financial Services and the broker division, and he is now the Chief Executive of Sanlam Trust.

Ronald is a seasoned distribution and business re-engineering practitioner and has been referred to as the “fixer” within the Sanlam ranks.

Ronald is married to Erika, a qualified sociologist from Budapest, Hungary, and they have four beautiful children between them.

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Melanie Louw

Senior Manager: Legal Services South

Melanie started out as a practicing Attorney at the same law firm where she completed her articles. She first entered the financial services industry in 1992 as a Legal Adviser for Old Mutual, and later took up the position of Marketing Manager at Old Mutual Broker Distribution Western Cape. In 2004 Melanie moved to Momentum as the Business Development Manager for Investments, and in 2008 she joined Absa Wealth as a Fiduciary Consultant, providing fiduciary advice on wills, trusts and estate planning.

In 2016, Melanie joined Sanlam as the Head of Sales at Sanlam Trust. She subsequently moved to Legal Services as Manager of Legal Services in 2017, when this new department was first formed. The department provides legal service solutions to intermediaries on financial planning aspects which include, wills, trusts, estate planning, business planning and retirement planning, to name but a few.

Melanie serves on the Appeal Tribunal of the FPI and is also an External Examiner for the Post Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning at the University of the Free State.

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Andrew Merryweather

Guest speaker

After a tragic assault left Andrew Merryweather quadriplegic paralysed from the chest down, he spent 6 months in hospital followed by extensive rehabilitation therapy. Once the dust settled, Andrew was left with debilitating medical and house adaption bills. Due to mediocre financial advice from a then loosely regulated industry, he realised how financially ill equipped he was to handle the ‘curve balls of life’.

Following this, Andrew entered the financial services industry and is currently an Adviser and Marketing Manager at Autus Wealth Care Specialists. He is passionate about equipping people with financial literacy especially in the field of risk management.

Andrew has been a keynote speaker for The Cape Chamber of Commerce and The Young Advisers Forum, as well as numerous other financial institutions across the country. Last year he was invited to be a speaker at the Annual FPI Professionals Convention. He has been profiled and his story published in newspapers and industry related magazines, and shared on numerous radio and television programmes.

Recently Andrew was honoured by the gesture of his story being included as part of set work in a National Curriculum text book for high school students. When he’s not helping people change their financial futures or training in his robotic walking suit, he enjoys giving motivational talks at schools, community organisations and companies.

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Jean Lombard

Chief Executive: Sanlam Savings

Jean is a Chief Executive at Sanlam Savings and has been in the financial services industry for the past 20 years. He started working at Sanlam Savings in March 2018, and became qualified as an Actuary in 2003.

Prior to joining Sanlam Savings, he spent 9 years at Glacier by Sanlam where he worked on various strategic projects within Sanlam Personal Finance. He formed part of the Glacier executive team, taking specific responsibility for the well-known Glacier research team, marketing team and investment consulting function. He previously held senior positions at Sanlam Multi Manager International and Sanlam Personal Portfolios.

Jean is passionate about clients and their financial well-being, as well as the financial services industry in general. Jean is a member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa and a fellow of the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries in the UK. In addition, he has been representing Sanlam on various committees of The Association for Savings and Investment South Africa (ASISA) since 2012.

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Petrie Marx

Product Actuary: Sanlam Individual Life

As a product actuary for Sanlam Individual Life, Petrie Marx is responsible for the development of risk products for SPF.

After joining Sanlam in 1995, he occupied various roles in the actuarial and systems development department until he was appointed into his current position in 2001. Petrie holds a B.Com (Hons) from the University of Stellenbosch and qualified as an actuary in 2000.

In his spare time Marx enjoys reading about travel, sports and financial markets, or mountain biking and travelling with his wife and daughter.

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Karen Bongers

Product Actuary: Sanlam Individual Life

Karen Bongers is a Product Development Actuary for Sanlam Individual Life, and her role involves the design and implementation of new risk products.

After obtaining her BSc (Hons) Degree in Actuarial Mathematics at the University of Pretoria, Karen started her career as an Actuarial Analyst at Discovery Life. Upon qualifying as an Actuary through the UK Institute of Actuaries in 2007, she accepted a position as a Product Actuary at Momentum Myriad. In 2009, Karen lived and worked abroad as a Pricing Actuary for London-based PruProtect, Discovery’s joint venture with UK insurer Prudential.

Upon returning to South Africa in 2010, she joined Sanlam as a Pricing Actuary, and later moved into her current role as Product Development Actuary.

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Ludi Venter

Head Intermediary Support: Sanlam Savings

Ludi is qualified as an Advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa with a B.Juris, LLB, CFP and Diploma in Investment Instruments, and he joined Sanlam in 1986 as a Legal Consultant in the Eastern Cape. In 1990 he became Manager of Legal Services in KwaZulu-Natal, after which he was promoted to Regional Manager and later Provincial Manager of Broker Services.

In 1997 he moved to Sanlam Head Office to take up the position of Senior Manager of Broker Services Corporate. His responsibilities included corporate liaison and key account management of corporate and bank brokerages, as well as liaison with PPS, Independent Broker Groups and broker recognition seminars.

In 1999 he moved into the role of Senior Manager of Sales Support at Sanlam Life, where he was responsible for providing technical training and workshops to the sales force. In addition, he also provided advice on new and existing products, and answers to technical questions.

In 2006 he became the Head of Intermediary Support, providing product support to intermediaries, overseeing micro marketing, providing support to the SMME and Professional markets, and compiling and driving specific campaigns, investment support and product and advice tools.

In August 2016 he was appointed Head of Intermediary at SPF Recurring Savings.

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Diane Seccombe

Head of Tax Training: Mazars

Di Seccombe is an admitted Attorney with a Master’s Degree in Taxation and has been working in the tax industry for over 10 years. Di is currently the Head of Taxation at the Mazars Academy, providing tax training to Mazars partners, staff and clients. Di also consults on income tax matters including corporate, individual and international tax, as well as VAT.

Di presents tax seminars on a national basis for, amongst others, the SA Institute of Tax Practitioners, the SA Institute of Professional Accountants and the UCT Graduate School of Business, focusing on general as well as specialised tax topics. She still lectures part time at Varsity College in Cape Town and at the National School of Accounting, where she assists up and coming CA's in passing the UNISA CTA (Hons) programme.

Before moving into practice, Di started her career as a full time academic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She has presented numerous tax seminars to attendees, ranging from JSE corporate advisers to smaller tax practitioners, and is a popular lecturer among her students. When presenting, Di’s primary focus is to ensure that attendees find the material relevant, and that it’s presented in an understandable and accessible manner.

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Theesan Moodley

General Manager: Sanlam Financial Advisers

Theesan joined Sanlam in September of 2000. He describes his years in the Life Contact Centre as “a bit like going from water boy to team coach at warp speed – it was terrifying – and I also had my MBA looming in the background… But those years really set me up for my career at Sanlam; I was surrounded by wonderful people who believed in me.”

Almost a decade later, Theesan says: “I thought I knew enough about clients and wanted to know the people who made them”, so he vacated his job as Operations Manager in the Contact Centre to join Broker Distribution as the Regional Manager of a little-known and struggling unit in the southern suburbs. “We managed to turn our unit from dead last to first in the country in one year”, says Theesan. “I believe in doing complicated things simply, and simple things elegantly, and this mantra really gave us an advantage at that time.”

In 2013 Moodley was offered the job of Head of Sanlam Direct, where they managed to make target month-on-month for almost three years running, with a record-breaking year in 2015. When asked to describe himself, he summarises it in a 160-character narrative – a skill he says he picked up at Sanlam Direct: “Husband, father, friend, petrol head, rider, reader, thinker, talker, restorer, experimental cook, in all things, excited by innovation and fascinated by tradition.”

Theesan was appointed as the Head of Sanlam Financial Advisers in August of 2016.

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Ryan Stramrood

Inspirational speaker and extreme swimmer

Ryan Stramrood: a South African, a Small Business Owner, Family Man and an Average Joe. However, his hobby is Ultra-Extreme Open Water and Ice Swimming and for deeply personal reasons he has undertaken some of the world’s most extreme challenges. Pushing his limits and human boundaries in our planet’s most inhospitable places.

Following painful, pioneering training techniques and using what limited resources he has available and to put basic safety procedures in place, he challenges himself by pushing personal limits for swimming in ice water, and often sets new benchmarks for human endurance.

He wears no wetsuit or protectin from the cold water – only a Speedo. His adventures, world first achievements and often death defying circumstances make for brilliant tales of human spirit and victory.

He takes the audience on a journey with him. Through story telling and strong visuals, he illustrates just how limited and governed we all are, in every aspect of our lives, by believing in our own limitatins. How we under achieve in our comfort zones and how each and every one of us can push past the impossible.

“I’m not a professional athlete by any stretch of the imagination. Nor am I uperhuman. My body doesn’t have any special abilities. My story isn’t about winning or losing or success or failure. It’s a story about pushing beyond my own perceived limitations, and about learning. And it’s really not easy to do! But you can do it too, if you really want to.”

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