Liberty offices. Picture: SUPPLIED
Liberty offices. Picture: SUPPLIED

Financial services group Liberty Holdings says the volatility of financial markets had minimal effect on its ability to meet its obligation to clients in its first quarter to end-March, though it is bracing for the fallout from Covid-19.

The insurer and asset manager, founded in 1957 by Donald Gordon, said the solvency capital requirement cover of Liberty Group, the group’s main long-term insurance licence, remained strong at 1.9 times as of the end of March.

This refers to the amount of funds an insurance group must have to be confident it can survive an extreme event.

The group has withdrawn its 2020 guidance, however, saying the Covid-19 pandemic has “generated an unprecedented health, economic and financial crisis, causing high levels of anxiety and uncertainty for our clients, advisers and staff”.

“Notwithstanding these uncertainties, the group is expected to remain well capitalised and able to provide a normal service to our clients,” the statement said.

Group total assets under management amounted to R668bn at the end of March compared to R738bn at the end of December, with the decrease largely attributable to negative investment market returns during the quarter and transfers to other external managers in respect of the discontinuation of Kenyan and Ugandan segregated mandates in the Stanlib Africa operations.

Stanlib is disposing of its Kenyan and Ugandan operations, with Liberty saying on Thursday these sales were progressing, though finalisation dates had been extended due to government-imposed lockdowns, the group said.

“We remain confident that these sales will be completed by the time of release of our interim results in August 2020,” Liberty said.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za