JOHANNESBURG, Nov 24 (Reuters) - South African long-term insurer Liberty Holdings on Friday flagged a weaker profit margin for business in the nine months to end-September, as political and economic uncertainty influence investment decisions by clients.
Liberty, in which Standard Bank has a 53 percent stake, competes with Sanlam and Discovery but has lagged rivals operationally and on the stock market over the last three years as a weak economy hit disposable incomes.
The insurer said heightened political and economic uncertainty prompted clients to opt for guaranteed products.
“This manifested in a weaker mix of business from a margin perspective and lower value of new business in the group’s retail operations in South Africa,” the insurer said in a statement.
South Africa’s ruling African National Congress is scheduled to elect a new leader next month to succeed the scandal-plagued President Jacob Zuma as a national election looms in 2019.
Liberty said assets under management rose to 708 billion rand ($50.85 billion), from 676 billion rand at end-December last year.
“Operating conditions are expected to remain challenging in light of the poor outlook for economic growth,” the company added.
$1 = 13.9231 rand Reporting by TJ Strydom; Editing by Biju Dwarakanath