South Africa has seen a surge of internet users recently, with the number doubling over the last two years, and the current count standing at around 6.5 million. We are becoming more present digitally, and getting more comfortable transacting in the online world, with well-established online banking, travel and shopping services and more sophisticated online security. At Allan Gray we are seeing an increase in the number of online account registrations each month. In response to growing adviser and client needs for self service and additional reporting functionality, we constantly strive to improve and add to our online offering. Shabnam Osman explains our online services.
If you are invested with us and do not have an online account, you can activate yours by simply visiting www.allangray.co.za and clicking ‘Log In’. Once you have logged into our secure site you will be able to interact with all of your investments – including reviewing the history and performance of your accounts – and transact with us at your convenience. All of our client service consultants are trained to guide you in setting up and using your online account and we have a dedicated team to provide any specific technical assistance you may need. However, we are unable to provide you with financial advice and our tools and reports do not replace the role of a competent, independent financial adviser in helping you make the right investment choices and managing these choices over time.
Reports and tools
A key benefit of using an online account is that you need not wait for us to send you account-related information. Most of the information you will need is easily available. At a glance you can view a quick summary of your investment. If you want to know more, you can download a detailed statement, which shows you all transactions, distributions and fees.
You are also able to download various investment reports to gain a better understanding of your investment. We have worked hard to make these easy to understand, with comprehensible numbers and meaningful descriptions and comparisons. Our performance report, for example, shows by how much your money has grown and the return you have received on your investment and compares your investment with how much it would have grown had you invested it in cash or equities. Other reports allow you see how your investment is split between the different asset classes, such as equities, cash and bonds, with graphs giving you a clear view of your portfolio.
We also offer tools to help you and your financial adviser make your investment decisions, such as our Fund Comparison Tool. This tool allows you to compare all the funds on our investment platform, in terms of fees, performance, risk measures, income distributions and compliance with retirement fund regulations.
OUR TOOLS AND REPORTS DO NOT REPLACE THE ROLE OF A COMPETENT INDEPENDENT FINANCIAL ADVISER IN HELPING YOU MAKE THE RIGHT INVESTMENT CHOICES AND MANAGING THESE CHOICES OVER TIME
Our products allow you the freedom and flexibility to make changes to your investment. Most investors appreciate the flexibility, but do not enjoy the administrative burden of completing forms and faxing in documents to make simple changes. You can conveniently use your online account for most administrative changes. In addition you can switch between unit trusts, contribute to your existing investment, and submit withdrawal instructions online.
As some investors may feel that transacting online does not give them the same confidence as signing a form or talking to a consultant, we have made the online process completely transparent. You can see when your instruction was submitted, track its progress online, and understand if anything is obstructing the process. If we need any documents from you, such as proof of deposit or proof of new banking details, we highlight these. You can submit copies of these documents electronically through your online account.
Security: an ever-present priority
We are uncompromising about keeping your personal and investment details secure and confidential in both our online and offline worlds. This means making sure that your information is available for only you to see. When you log into our secure site, you will see a padlock in the bottom left of your browser window. This indicates that the information you send from your computer to our secure site – when transacting with us or viewing your investment reports – is encrypted and cannot be seen by anyone else.
We also take your unique online identity extremely seriously. We confirm all transactions and personal detail changes via SMS. In this way you are immediately alerted in the unlikely event of someone attempting a transaction without your knowledge. We constantly monitor all online activity and will lock your account and contact you directly if we detect any suspicious activity on your account.
Convenience is key
If you are responsible for managing both your own as well as others’ investments, for example your spouse, children or other dependants, you can arrange to monitor and manage all of these investments through your online account. You will need to contact our Client Service Centre to set this up, but once the accounts are linked you will have convenient access to all the investments you have permission to monitor and manage online.
Choose your channel
We have integrated the online and offline worlds at Allan Gray so that whether you fax in a form, send an email, or submit an instruction online, you will receive exactly the same outstanding service that you have come to expect from us. We also understand the value of personal contact and our qualified consultants will gladly assist you with any queries. As always, we welcome feedback and suggestions. Kindly email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact our Client Service Centre on 0860 000 654.