ECONOMIC Development Minister Ebrahim Patel says the decision by Old Mutual (OM) to hold off on retrenchments – and its plan to establish a R500m fund to boost small businesses – will spur investor confidence.
Patel was commenting in the wake of the announcement by Old Mutual that it would make SA the primary base for all the group’s emerging market activities and to commit to public-interest undertakings.
“The move back home of one of our premier financial institutions will help to inject investor confidence into the economy and is a well-timed signal that we can grow the economy and unlock the country’s potential of job creation and economic inclusion,” Patel said.
The commitments, made in terms of the Competition Act, include undertakings not to retrench any workers and to ensure that the company achieves bestof-class empowerment status.
OM’s emerging markets and the economic development department have agreed on black economic empowerment, ownership, employment, and enterprise and supplier development.
As a consequence of the corporate restructuring, it is possible that OM’s BEE ownership score, reported as a JSE primary listed entity and measured in terms of the revised financial services code, may move to slightly below the regulatory target of 25%.
The move by the group to set up a R500m fund, following discussion with the ministry, to drive small business and employment, is a significant part of the company’s commitments.