Economic growth during and after Apartheid and the real problem with 1%

I read a letter from Pali Lehohla on news24 this weekend. Lehohla, the head of StatsSA, disagreed with a report by DaMina Advisors on economic growth in South Africa during and post the apartheid era. To paraphrase Lehohla, he disagreed with their methodology, their data and their values and ethics: First, I need to engage the […]

Progress on tax free savings vehicles, but scathing words for life insurers

Read the latest (14 March 2014) document from National Treasury on tax free savings vehicles for South Africa. I think it’s a fantastic idea – both from a policy perspective with carefully designed incentives to promote long-term savings and from a personal perspective. I’m definitely going to use one for my own savings. However, one […]

Is credit extension in SA out of control?

Unsecured credit explosion? Sure. Concerns about abuses and sustainability in this sector? Absolutely. But is overall domestic credit extension out of control? Are real interest rates negative? Is the global economy strong and steaming ahead? The answer to all these questions is “no”. Here is a graph produced from public reservebank data.

The virtual irrelevancy of population size to required sample size

Statistics and sampling are fundamental to almost all of our understanding of the world. The world is too big to measure directly. Measuring representative samples is a way to understand the entire picture. Popular and academic literature are both full of examples of poor sample selection resulting in flawed conclusions about the population. Some of […]

Fixing SA education – political will not (only) money

I blog from time to time about education in South African and its frightening link to unemployment and all the societal ills that go along with that. I also point out that as a nation we spend a fair amount of money on education with very poor results. This story about absenteeism amongst South African […]

Changing attitudes and demographics

I blogged a while back about marriage and divorce rates and based on census results. I still think that’s pretty interesting stuff. Then today, I noticed a story showing how 8% fewer South Africans were married in 2010 compared to 2003 even while the population continues to grow. The result reflects a significant decrease in […]

The Perfect Storm Part 1 – IFRS reporting under SAM

A client recently mentioned that they were concerned about the implication that the adoption of Solvency Assessment and Management (SAM) would have on insurance accounting under current IFRS4. The apparent concern was that measurement of policyholder liabilities for IFRS reporting would change to follow SAM automatically. Let me start out by saying this is categorically […]

Does being richer make you feel better than being cooler?

Economists (and actuaries) like to measure things. The easier to measure and the more reliable the measure, the more we like to measure it. This is not unlike the drunk looking for his keys under the street lamp because that’s where the light is even if it isn’t where he dropped the keys. Sometimes the […]

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