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MCIS Life Strengthens Relationship With Merchantrade – Taiwan News

Life insurer acquires stake in Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd, fortifies collaboration

PETALING JAYA, MALAYSIA – Media OutReach – 22 November 2021 MCIS Insurance Berhad (MCIS Life) has taken up a 4.99% stake in Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd, the leading e-money player and the country’s largest Money Services Business operator, through the acquisition of new ordinary shares of an undisclosed amount.

MCIS Life Strengthens Relationship With Merchantrade

MCIS Life Strengthens Relationship With Merchantrade

The two companies kicked-off a marketing distribution arrangement in 2019 where MCIS Life provided a life insurance protection plan for Merchantrade’s customers which includes Malaysians as well as migrant workers.

In August 2021, they teamed up again to provide a product targeted at underserved communities such as Malaysians eligible for the Perlindungan Tenang Voucher (PTV) scheme.

The strategic collaboration has come at an opportune time as the value of life insurance and other relevant financial products have magnified amidst the pandemic. The combined strength and synergy between both companies are poised to unlock more innovative, personalised, digital insurance solutions to meet the protection needs of customers from all walks of life.

This strategic acquisition is set to accelerate MCIS Life’s digital transformation journey and leverage on Merchantrade’s digital capabilities, access to extensive network of over 1,000 physical touchpoints throughout the country and their three million customers.

MCIS Life CEO and Managing Director Mr. Prasheem Seebran said Merchantrade is a fast-growing fin-tech company constantly at the forefront of digitisation and driving innovation in financial services thereby allowing the former to pivot on their expertise in pursuing the company’s ambition to be a digitally focused life insurer.

Mr.Ramasamy Veeran, Founder and Managing Director of Merchantrade said: “Having an established brand like MCIS Life with us resonates with our goals of expanding our insurance offerings as it allows us to better develop next-generation products and services that continue to add positive value to customers and communities around us as we make the future convenient, easier and more secure for generations to come.”

“Building from our core businesses with strategic partnerships and collaborations, we will continue to accelerate the rollout of innovative financial services and strengthen our comprehensive ecosystem of interconnected technologies, such as global remittance, payments, e-wallet solution, foreign currency exchange, micro-insurance, tele-health, micro-loans, telco services and more. All with aspirations of giving customers a dependable digital first experience and elevate financial access across all walks of life,” added Ramasamy.

“Forging this partnership with Merchantrade provides MCIS Life with significant upside potential. It allows us to break away from the traditional bancassurance model which often incurs exorbitant fees and simultaneously strengthens our position as the sole life insurance partner within the Merchantrade eco-system,” Prasheem elaborated.

Prasheem added that MCIS Life’s strategy is focused on enhancing customer experience through innovative product solutions and digitised service offerings. The synergies between the two companies will be further supported by Merchantrade’s technology solutions as well as its foray into the payment space.

“We aim to achieve our targets by rolling out more products to suit Merchantrade’s target market and this strategic alliance is expected to contribute over 25% of MCIS Life’s non-agency new business contributions by 2025.”

The acquisition forms a bold step forward, further strengthening the existing ties between both companies since 2019 and MCIS Life see tremendous value in Merchantrade’s mobile e-wallet application and nationwide on ground touchpoints allowing access to the underserved communities.

“Currently MCIS Life is the exclusive life insurance partner of Merchantrade. Considering the potential of the company and various opportunities to collaborate and create value for existing and prospective customers, this investment is expected to bring significant value to us,” Prasheem explained.

In line with its brand promise – “People Helping People” – MCIS Life also aims to roll out more inclusive, simple and affordable solutions to Merchantrade’s underserved customer base such as Malaysia’s B40 segment and migrant workers. It will also expand its offerings on employee benefits and bespoke products for corporate clients, high end products for the remittance market and online products for the technology savvy.

About MCIS Life

MCIS Insurance Berhad (MCIS Life) is a pioneer life insurer in Malaysia since 1954, regulated by Bank Negara Malaysia, and a proud member of the Sanlam Group, one of the world’s biggest internationally active insurance groups, since 2014.

#PeopleHelpingPeople

About Sanlam Group

Sanlam is a pan-African financial services group listed on the Johannesburg, Namibian and A2X stock exchanges. Through its five business clusters – Sanlam Personal Finance, Sanlam Emerging Markets, Sanlam Investment Group, Sanlam Corporate and Santam – the Group provides comprehensive and bespoke financial solutions to institutional clients and consumers across all market segments. Sanlam’s areas of expertise include life and general insurance, financial planning, retirement, investments and wealth.

Established in 1918 as a life insurance company, Sanlam has evolved into the largest non- banking financial services group in Africa through its diversification strategy.

Headquartered in South Africa, Sanlam has a direct stake in financial services entities in Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Mauritius, Malawi, Zambia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and Nigeria. The Group owns Saham Finances, thereby having a footprint of insurance operations in Morocco, Angola, Algeria, Tunisia, Ghana, Niger, Mali, Senegal, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Cote D’Ivoire, Togo, Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Burundi, and Lesotho.

Sanlam also has insurance business interests in India, Malaysia and the United Kingdom and has business interests in the USA, Australia, the Philippines, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

For further information on Sanlam, please visit us at Social Media Iconwww.sanlam.com

About Merchantrade Asia

Merchantrade Asia Sdn. Bhd. is a leading fintech company and Malaysia’s largest Money Services Business operator and fast-growing e-Money issuer.

Merchantrade operates 98 branches, 2 main wholesale banknote trading hubs, has more than 1,000 agent locations and cash-in cash-out merchants throughout Malaysia. Its award-winning digital platforms such as eRemit mobile money transfer app, available in both Malaysia and Singapore allows for seamless worldwide personal money transfers, and Merchantrade Money an app and card-based digital wallet that offers a range of digital financial services, including multi-currency wallet solution, digital payments, remittance services, currency exchange, micro-insurance, mobile reloads and more.

For more information, please visit Social Media Iconwww.mtradeasia.com

#MCISLife


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Court Orders Ex-CZI Boss Zizhou To Pay US$180 000 For Sexual Harassment – New Zimbabwe.com

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By Mary Taruvinga


FORMER Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) chief executive Farai Zizhou has been ordered by the High Court to pay his ex-personal assistant Rita Marque Mbatha US$180 000 damages for sexual harassment.

This follows a spirited fight by Mbatha over the past two decades after she was sexually harassed by Zizhou during her time of employment with the CZI.

Mbatha had claimed US$500 000 from both Zizhou and CZI. However the law suit against the CZI is yet to be finalised.

She worked at the CZI between 2002 and 2003 and Zizhou made sexual advances to her.

In delivering his judgment, High Court judge, Justice Martin Mafusire said he was impressed by how Mbatha pressed on against all odds.

She said  Mbatha, now an International Alliance representative, and human rights advocate was a strong woman who had fought for justice.

“The matter has had a long and turbulent history. Mbatha says the wheels of justice have turned ever so slowly for her. There can be no denying that. She has been to this court. She has been to arbitration,” the judge said.

“She has been to the Supreme Court. She is back to this court. She strives for closure. Any lesser mortal would probably have given up. Plainly, the Mbatha is no lesser mortal. Her tenacity and fighting spirit have moved mountains. She is still fighting. This judgment only settles her case. The other half still continues.”

Mbatha alleged sexual harassment of female employees at CZI was rampant, and said Zizhou was the sole culprit.

“The sexual harassment was over some nine months. It started when she was still on probation. She got employed by the second defendant in September 2002.

“She got fired in July 2003. It was an unfair dismissal. The first defendant (Zizhou) engineered it all. He schemed it. She had reported him for sexual harassment. He took revenge.

“The charges were inappropriate touching, unwelcome offensive jokes, invitation by innuendo to an inappropriate sexual relationship, receiving offensive telephone messages, receiving pornography on the computer, an attempt to kiss by force, causing an injury on the thigh in the process of resisting,” reads the judgement.

According to electronic messages submitted during the application, Zizhou pestered Mbatha to give in to an affair despite the fact that they were both married.

“Rita, I have used the above caption just in case. Please delete completely immediately after reading. Look at the time I am sending this note-just to show you I could not sleep before writing this note to you Rita.

“I love you very much and wish you could be mine. When I am taking a bath with Clara I always pretend it’s you. The torture is unbearable. It hurts me that when I touch your lovely hand you cringe and ask me to stop. Do I repulse you? I desperately need to kiss you,” Zizhou wrote in an email to Mbatha.

“Shamwari if I do get dismissed, it will be because I would like to do whatever I can for the person I care for most, you. Right now I am under pressure to balance the budget of CZI.

“You have just completed your probation and according to CZI rules, you are not eligible for the general increase for permanent staff, but the small adjustment that is in your appointment letter, I am bending the rule for you.

“Please hold on tight to me – if we crash – we crash together. I am awarding you the same percentage increase as everybody else. I am defending it against the treasurer this morning. Doing so will cost CZI an extra $3 million in employment and other costs for the three people involved.

“The others are lucky to be associated with you. This will wipe out the surplus we were going to make after selling the Land Rover. The treasurer had made his recommendations following the rule and I have asked Venek to make the changes before he comes for the final meeting this morning.”

Zizhou added: “I feel guilty as it is not right to expropriate you from your husband but unfortunately… Please God help me on this one as it has been giving me sleepless nights. You are the love of my love. I will do anything for you.”

The arbitral tribunal in March 2014 found Mbatha was unfairly dismissed and sexually harassed by Zizhou. Psychiatric reports obtained from Mbatha’s doctors noted that she was severely traumatised by the experience.

Justice Mafusire ruled Mbatha suffered severe posttraumatic stress disorder as a result.

“This condition manifested almost immediately after the abuse. She experienced recurrent involuntary and intrusive memories of the traumatic event. Her pain was acute, with chances of recovery rated as being very poor. Treatment would be extensive and indefinite.”

“She suffered physical and emotional pain, which scarcely suppressed anger. During the counselling sessions, she would lose track of her answers midway through and would ask that questions be repeated,” reads the judgment.

“Before the incident, she was engaging, outgoing, and loved reading. She had a good sense of humour. All that is gone. She experiences recurrent nightmares. Her sleep is broken most nights. She has lost all confidence in herself. There was another kind of collateral damage. She says her marriage broke up, largely because of the change in her personality.

“She says the situation was further compounded by the defendants’ conduct after her unfair dismissal. She could not secure alternative employment thanks to the defendants’ negative testimonials to her potential prospective employers. The plaintiff’s case seems such a textbook case. Manifestly, no amount of money seems adequate enough to compensate for her loss,” the judge said.

“The sexual harassment was persistent. There has never been an apology.

“Taking all factors into account, it is considered that the proper level of damages for the sexual harassment perpetrated by the first defendant upon the plaintiff during the period of the plaintiff’s employment with the second defendant from September 2002 to June 2003 is US$180 000, or the equivalent thereof in local currency, convertible at the inter-market bank rate at the time of payment.

“The first defendant shall pay the plaintiff the amount aforesaid together with interest at the prescribed rate from the date of this judgment to the date of payment. The first defendant shall pay the plaintiff’s costs of suit.”

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Civil servants get forex bonuses, decry high bank charges – The Herald

The Herald

Africa Moyo-Deputy News Editor

Civil servants’ representatives are generally excited that their members have started withdrawing their US dollar bonuses, but are upset that some banks are deducting significant bank charges despite the instruction that such accrued charges should not be deducted from bonuses.

These are bank charges of anything between US$100 and US$200 on accounts that were opened last year when Government was paying its workers a cushioning allowance in foreign currency. 

The account holders then retained the accounts although there was no money in them and the banks continued to levy charges, only collecting these when the bonus money arrived.

The levying of accrued bank charges is despite communication from the Ministry of Finance to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week that there should be no backdating of bank charges. 

In an interview yesterday, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Dr Sifiso Ndlovu said while their members were getting their US dollar bonuses, the charges needed to be removed altogether since the forex bonus is a once-off cushion from President Mnangagwa.

“What I have gathered is that a number of banks have released the US dollars and people are getting it,” he said.

“But I heard that some of the money has been chewed by bank charges, which I think should not be an issue since this was a once-off payment. The bank charges are the downside to the excitement we have over the US dollar bonuses.

“The Finance and Economic Development Minister (Professor Mthuli Ncube) said he would look into the issue of bank charges and we duly call upon him to do so, so that civil servants take home all their money.” 

Permanent Secretary for Finance and Economic Development Mr Mr Guvamatanga last night said the ministry sent communication to the Reserve Bank last week directing that banks should not backdate bank charges.

Mr Guvamatanga

“Some of the foreign currency accounts were opened last year when Government was paying some US dollar incentives to civil servants.

“The accounts remained open and since then, they have been accruing bank charges. Now, some greedy banks want to backdate the charges to last year, but we have directed them not to backdate the charges,” said Mr Guvamatanga.

He added that some banks were lying to their clients that they had not yet received foreign currency from the Reserve Bank, for as yet unknown reasons.

A comprehensive statement on the payment of US dollar bonuses is expected from the Ministry of Finance today. 

Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima told The Herald last night that the payment of US dollar bonuses was on-going although some employees have challenges with their foreign currency accounts.

Prof Mavima

“By and large, the withdrawal of US dollar bonuses is going on smoothly,” said Prof Mavima.

“But I have to say that the demand for cash is quite high and you see long queues for cash at banks. However, this is a good challenge.

“We urge banks to avail as much cash as possible to civil servants at one go, so that they minimise the number of times that people go to the bank to save transport costs.” 

President Mnangagwa decided on a once-off payment of US dollar bonuses for civil servants and Government pensioners to cushion them from the fluctuating exchange rates, which eroded the value of their earnings.

Government says paying bonuses in US dollars was ideal to ensure that they don’t take their earnings to the parallel market to buy forex, a move that would erode their earnings.

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RTG subsidiary creates revenue streams for social influencers – NewsDay

BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
GATEWAY Stream, a subsidiary of the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG), yesterday launched a platform that will enable social influencers to monetise their brand equity on the Gateway Stream platform.

The Gateway Stream is Zimbabwe’s one-stop online marketplace with nine sub-applications across a diverse range of products, services and experience.

Through the Gateway Stream Social Influencer, artists will be issued with an account and a promo-code and they will be able to sell all products found on the Gateway Stream platform and earn a commission from the sales.

In his address at the launch, RTG group chief executive Tendai Madziwanyika said they aimed to help social influencers exploit the valuable asset they had, that is, access to markets, in a way that ensures that they monetise their brand equity.

“Social influencers have what corporates want, a defined market and reach, which they access in an effective, cost-effective way,” he said.

“Through the Gateway Stream Social Influencer, artists will be able to sell a diverse product range found on the Gateway Stream platform from groceries, hardware, clothing, hotel accommodation, adventure activities, food and drink, and short-term insurance and earn a commission from the sales.”

Madziwanyika said it was time for social influencers to make money from their brands using music and entertainment as a hook.

“The sky is the limit for opportunities which our local social influencers can explore on Gateway Stream.

“Imagine just converting 1% of their following. They will be well on their way to becoming millionaires.”

Gateway Stream general manager Taremeredzwa Chipepera said so far they had registered over 30 social influencers, ranging from musicians to comedians.

“Instead of being just brand ambassadors for different companies, they can earn passive and perpetual income directly from their networks,” he said.

“This initiative is a mutually beneficial partnership that will drive traffic and sales volumes on the platform.

“We are driven by the desire to help social influencers gain greater value from their social networks.”

He said a follower of the social network would quote the promo-code when processing a booking or making a purchase on Gateway Stream.

“Once a member completes a purchase by way of payment, the agreed commission level for the specific product category will be credited to the social influencer’s account.

“The more sales the social influencer makes, the more money they stand to earn,” he said.

Chipepera said Gateway Stream was working on the development of a portal which would enable social influencers to have backend access where they can load their products, view transactions under their promo-code, track their commission and request pay-outs from their account.

“Besides the products on the platform, social influencers can also have an opportunity to brand and sell their own memorabilia such as clothing lines, perfumes, et cetera on the Gateway Stream platform,” he said.

  • Follow Winstone on Twitter @widzoanto

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