Sanlam is a leading financial services group in South Africa with offices throughout South Africa and business interests elsewhere in Africa, Europe, India, Australia and the USA. The head office is in Bellville near Cape Town. Since 1918 Sanlam has set benchmarks for wealth creation, innovation and empowerment in South Africa.

Sanlam’s vision is to be the leader in client-centric wealth creation, growth and protection. Sanlam’s values are to lead with courage, serve with pride, to care because it respects others, and to act with integrity and accountability.

Sanlam Limited is listed on the JSE Limited in Johannesburg and the Namibian Stock Exchange.

Sanlam Personal Finance provides individual life insurance and personal financial solutions to middle (mass) market and affluent clients. These solutions are delivered through a tied intermediary force as well as independent intermediaries. For more information visit the Sanlam ZA website here.


Sanlam Personal Finance is revising completely its processes and the myriad systems used to support its business. As part of this change a new Risk Tolerance questionnaire was required for an integrated web-enabled suite powered by the IRESS X-plan application.

The Risk Tolerance Questionnaire is aimed at clients in the middle and affluent market sectors in South Africa, including professionals and business owners. The level of financial sophistication in the target market is generally low.

There are some 2500 Sanlam tied advisors and 4000 independent brokers users in the distribution channels.


Oxford Risk has created a Risk Tolerance assessment suitable for use by Sanlam’s distribution channels and target customers.

The assessment has been designed to be equivalent in English and Afrikaans, and for customers for whom these may be second languages. It has been tested and tuned for target customers of different wealth, language and cultural backgrounds in each market segment. A consistency index indicates whether customers have responded consistently or perversely. The Risk Tolerance assessment is fully compliant with South African regulations.

The assessment places a customer in one of five investor risk categories. The actual risk preferences of the categories are determined empirically. A representative sample of the target customer population is given a series of choices between available investment strategies offering different combinations of risk versus reward. Analysis of the choices made reveal clusters around the level of risk preferred by customers in each risk category.

The assessment is designed to work effectively regardless of whether it is presented on paper, or on a computer, or through the Internet.


The Sanlam Risk Tolerance assessment was deployed in the second half of 2012 and has been well-received. Further calibration e.g. in the face of significant societal change will be a next step.