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Where possible, Sanlam discourages ARC from setting up direct competitors to the Bellville behemoth. However, there is African Rainbow Life (ARL), which, in spite of its name, is a Sanlam subsidiary; ARC and ARL management are the other shareholders. But this was a highly opportunistic move: there was a walkout from Old Mutual headed by Bongani Madikiza, an expert in workplace marketing (sales presentations to employees), where Sanlam is weak.

There are a lot of conspiracy theories around Alexander Forbes. Since US consulting firm Mercer disinvested, ARC has become the largest shareholder in Forbes. And here, it competes with Sanlam: for example, both offer pension administration. Some say ARC co-CEO (and Sanlam chair) Johan van Zyl is working with Sanlam CEO Ian Kirk to merge the Forbes and Sanlam administration businesses. But Forbes can only prosper as an independent, nonaligned business...

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