Below is a summary of our activities as at February 2015.  Please visit ICassa.PBworks.com for more.

The ASISA 2014 Assembly was held on 25 June 2014 in Cape Town, and the latest ASISA Town Hall Meetings were held on 16 and 18 September 2014.  Relevant presentations can be downloaded from their website.  The ASISA 2015 Conference will be held on 5 and 6 May 2015 in Sandton, and is open for registration.

CFA Institute
Both the Society and CFA South Africa place a high value on CPD events, and a reciprocal arrangement exists whereby members of the Society are invited to CFA South Africa presentations, and members of CFA South Africa are invited to relevant sessional meetings of the Society.  

In August 2012 the committee submitted written comments on a new JSE Yield Curve Methodology.  There have been teething problems unfortunately, caused by a paucity of data at the short end of the curve, and the committee has formally offered the Society's assistance in this regard.  In February 2014 the committee submitted written comments on the JSE's proposed new bond indices which came into effect in August 2014.

In early 2015 the focus of markets is on the impact of the dramatically lower oil price and on the potential for deflation, particularly in Europe, where the possibility of a Grexit or exit of Greece from the Euro, is occupying many minds. In South Africa, the focus is on whether Eskom will be able to keep the lights on, with the associated concern about the impact of continued load shedding on economic growth and investor sentiment.

During 2014 the committee submitted written comments on proposed regulations governing both Hedge Funds and Tax Free Savings Accounts.  Some proposed Retirement Reforms were postponed, but some progress was made on AIFMD, FATCA and the regulation of OTC derivatives.  We expect 2015's regulatory focus to be on the proposed Retail Distribution Review and on Twin Peaks, which proposes the establishment of separate prudential and market conduct regulators.

The purpose of ICassa.PBworks.com is to improve communication between the committee and the Society’s broader membership.  Committee members have read and write access, whereas any member of the Society can apply for read access.  More than 500 documents have already been uploaded to the microsite, and the more than 200 subscribers currently view and comment on the activity within each of the committee’s portfolios.

CPD and Events
The committee's inaugural Investment Seminar was held on 23 May 2014 in Cape Town, and the ASSA 2014 Convention was held in Cape Town on 22 and 23 October 2014.  Papers, presentations and audio recordings can be downloaded from our microsite and the ASSA website.  We hope to host a second Investment Seminar around May 2015, with the ASSA 2015 Convention taking place on 17 and 18 November 2015 in Sandton.

F205's Core Reading was reviewed comprehensively in 2012.  More recently the committee proposed some additions to the 2015 syllabuses for F105, F205 and F215.  25 candidates presented themselves for the F205 exam on 20 October 2014 and 2 passed.  F205 (Investment Applications) was the third most popular of the Society's Fellowship Applications, after F202 (Life Insurance) and F203 (General Insurance).  The next sitting of F205 is on 20 May 2015.

The committee continues to support the Society’s research efforts, in collaboration with the ASSA Research Committee which oversees the publication of the South African Actuarial Journal.  The committee recently completed a full review of the investment topics listed in the Research Watch, the Society's register of actuarial topics requiring further research.

The committee's interests continue to be represented by members who also sit on ASSA Council, the Finance & Banking Committee, the Retirement Matters Committee and a sub-committee of the Life Assurance Committee.  A Committee Handbook was published in February 2013 which describes the procedures governing the operation of Actuarial Society of South Africa committees.