Resistance appears to be building to Sanlam’s proposed empowerment deal with Patrice Motsepe’s Ubuntu-Botho group, ahead of the vote on December 12. This week, asset manager Prudential sent a two-page letter to the life insurance giant’s board, saying it would be voting against the deal because of "governance concerns". In the letter, Johny Lambridis, Prudential’s head of equities, urges Sanlam to reconsider the deal, as the "governance, reputational and business risks to Sanlam are simply too significant". While Prudential says its stake in Sanlam is "insignificant" the FM has spoken to other investors who seem to have similar reservations. It’s an unusually strong rebuke for a company that has not only delivered a 380% rise in its stock over the past decade, but which also created arguably SA’s most successful empowerment deal yet through Ubuntu-Botho’s 2004 purchase of 10% of Sanlam. That deal expired in 2014, delivering R14bn in value to Motsepe’s consortium. But it is Sanlam’s ...

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