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- Sanlam’s Benchmark Survey, a yearly analysis of the local retirement fund industry, shows that retirement fund members suspended their contributions across all fund types for an average of four-and-a-half months in 2020 because of Covid-related lockdowns. The survey shows that not far off one third of standalone funds and about 40% of participating employers in umbrella funds suspended contributions after mass retrenchments and pay cuts. There was also an increase in employees cashing in withdrawal benefits. At least one in three funds experienced a reduction in workforce because of retrenchment and liquidations. About 80% of funds in the survey said members experienced a pay cut, a reduction in annual increase or were forced to take unpaid leave or were retrenched.
- There is an exodus senior staff at IT services company Dimension Data, says MyBroadband.co.za, with senior executives leaving the company at the end of the month including co-founder Jeremy Ord and group executive Bruce Watson. Head of Communication Pearl Mngomezulu confirmed the departures, together with the departures of long-serving executives Saki Missaikos, John van der Vyver, and Steve Nathan. After 38 years at the company, Ord is looking forward to the next phase of his life after his contract ends on 30 June 2021, Mngomezulu told MyBroadband. TechCentral reported that the departure of executives is linked to a failed management buyout.
- JSE-listed Omnia will return R1bn to shareholders. It has announced the resumption of an ordinary dividend for the first time since 2018 and declared a special dividend after swinging to net cash of R1.2bn in the year to March from net debt of R1.9bn. The chemicals and fertiliser group succeeded in turning around the business by settling its debt. CEO Seelan Gobalsamy, a former executive at Liberty Holdings, Stanlib and Old Mutual, has overseen efforts to repair the balance sheet.
- Sotheby’s, one of the biggest luxury auction houses in the world, has said it will accept bitcoin and ether in payment for a rare 101-carat diamond with an estimated value of $10m (R140m) to $15m (R210m) when it is auctioned next month, says BusinessInsider. The pear-shaped diamond, named “The Key 10138”, weighs 101.38 carats, has been classified as flawless and highly chemically pure, making it extremely rare, it quotes Sotheby’s as saying. “The auction house said it will accept bids in bitcoin and ether for the diamond, and it will take offers at the live sale or ahead of it. Cryptocurrencies have emerged as a factor in auction sales this year after crypto-hype exploded in the last 18 months. Items so far have mostly been limited to artwork or digital collectibles like NFTs, and the auction of a diamond marks a milestone for acceptance of digital currencies. Sotheby’s itself described the sale as “a significant moment in the evolution of the market” in a tweet on Monday, adds BusinessInsider.
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