In response to the pressures faced by people and organizations in the developing world, SASIX, GreaterGood South Africa’s Social Investment Exchange, has created a new investment product that offers market-related financial returns on high-impact social development projects.
SASIX Financial is a joint venture of GreaterGood SA and Cadiz African Harvest Asset Management (CAHAM), which is a Financial Services Board approved and regulated financial services provider. At present, the new socially responsible investment product will be offered only to institutional investors such as pension funds and financial advisers through CAHAM, with plans for a ‘retail’ offering through the SASIX website in future.
Despite more than a decade of development initiatives, South Africa still faces major challenges. While statistics show a growing black middle class and an increase in the number of dollar millionaires, the distribution of income is among the worst in the world, with an estimated 51 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. At the same time, the country is struggling with basic infrastructure issues that urgently need to be addressed.
This is why, according to GreaterGood SA, philanthropy alone is not enough. South African citizens give roughly R12 billion a year to help others, while corporate philanthropy stands at around R5 billion. But South Africa has a savings pool of roughly R3 trillion, largely in life and pension funds, of which only an estimated R10 billion is dedicated to socially responsible investing.
This is where SASIX and SASIX Financial come into play. SASIX Financial investments cover a broad infrastructural spectrum, from housing to water and sanitation provision, public health and welfare services, public transport, public recreational facilities, education and environmental protection.
‘This is an investment in the future of our country,’ says GreaterGood SA Executive Trustee Tamzin Ractliffe. ‘The returns are financial, but these investments will also yield real, measurable change in people’s lives.’
SASIX and SASIX Financial have been met with a great deal of enthusiasm by both the corporate and the development world. In fact, SASIX is now supporting other countries interested in replicating the model to create a more holistic and effective global social capital market and is working to define and create a Global Federation of Social Investment Exchanges (GSIX) that will maximize the efficiency of the social capital market. Watch this space.