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EEEK…EAC!!!

As our industry prepares for the implementation of disclosure of the Effective Annual Cost (EAC), we too have been hard at work at developing an EAC calculation tool, thereby taking the EEK out of EAC for you.  But first, let me introduce EAC to you.

What is EAC?

The Effective Annual Cost (EAC) is a standardised disclosure methodology which comes into effect on 1 October 2016 to compare charges on most retail investment products and their impact on investment returns.

This form of disclosure fits squarely with Outcomes 1 (Customers can be confident that they are dealing with firms where the fair treatment of customers is central to the corporate culture) and 3  (Customers are provided with clear information and are kept appropriately informed before, after and during the point of sale) of Treating Customers Fairly (TCF).

From 1 October we are expected to implement the pre-sales disclosure requirement on point-of-sale investment proposals and quotations. EAC consists for 4 buckets:

  • Investment management charges
  • Advice charges
  • Administration charges
  • Other charges

Each component is calculated separately and then added together to obtain the EAC.

The different buckets highlight the different role players involved in an investor’s investment and the effect of each of their fees on the investment.

These must be displayed in a table, the format which is prescribed in an ASISA standard, along with a prescribed disclaimer using the prescribed investment growth of 6% per year (before all fees, but net of tax). I have included an example of the compulsory disclaimer and prescribed table format below:

Example of the EAC disclosure table:

The Effective Annual Cost (EAC) is a measure which has been introduced to allow you to compare the cost you incur when you invest in different financial products. It is expressed as a percentage of your investment amount. The EAC is made up of four charges, which are added together, as shown in the table below. Some of the charges may vary, depending on your investment period. The EAC calculation assumes that an investor terminates his or her investment in the financial product at the end of the relevant periods shown in the table.

Charges 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Investment management1 1.6% 1.6% 1.6% 1.6%
Advice 0.5% 0.5% 0.5% 0.5%
Administration2 0.4% 0.4% 0.4% 0.4%
Other3 0.1% 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Effective Annual Cost 2.6% 2.6% 2.6% 2.6%

Explanations to be in plain language appropriate to the Target Market:

1 A reasonable best estimate has been used for transaction charges.

2 The LISPs charge an administration fee. When investing directly with a Manco, this fee will typically be 0.0%.

3 A catch-all, which measures any remaining charges that you may incur, such as wrap fund and termination charges.

Free text notes may be added below the table for example, where you would like to add a further explanation. Language used in this space must be language that the normal man on the street is able to understand and not jargon – plain language.

This format of disclosure has been standardised across all investment and savings product types to assist investors with cost comparison, thereby making it more understandable to them. Therefore, all CIS portfolios, Investments under a LISP license, including model portfolios, insurance based investment products such as endowments and retirement annuities and preservation funds must comply with the ASISA EAC Standard, which I have included in my communication should you wish to view the Standard.

A little more on each bucket:

Investment Management Charge: all costs and charges for all underlying investments, in other words, the TER and TC.

Advice Charge: all charges that an investor incurs for the provision of financial planning by an advisor, and includes initial and ongoing advisor fees.

Administration Charge: all charges that an investor incurs relating to the administration of a financial product.

Other Charge: all termination charges, penalties or loyalty bonus payments that are reasonably foreseen if an investor terminates their contract or withdraws all the funds at the end of the disclosure period being calculated. In essence, it is the “catch all” for any remaining charges that will be levied and which have not been disclosed in any of the other buckets.

Our very own EAC calculation tool

As mentioned in my opening paragraph, we have developed a web based calculation tool for you to use. This EAC calculation tool will be available for you to use on our Ci website www.cicollective.co.za. We will also be able to make this available to you should you wish to add the EAC calculation tool to your own website.

For model portfolios, the Lisps will be calculating and disclosing the EAC on point-of-sale investment proposals and quotations.

The way forward

From 1 October 2017, annual disclosure will be required as well as disclosure at trigger events such as additional investments and change in advisory fees. There are discussions still happening in the industry regarding this disclosure requirement, but we shall be sure to stay close to these developments to ensure that we can pass on the relevant requirements to you.

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