Old Mutual CFO Casper Troskie explains how technology, trust and a lot of preparation can prepare any leader, and their organisations, for uncertainty.
Today’s CFO is not just a financial gatekeeper but a strategic partner, a digital innovator, and a risk manager. Casper Troskie, CFO of Old Mutual, exemplifies this transformation, with his optimistic approach to IFRS17, the digital bank initiative, and capital deployment showcases this multifaceted role.
Central to his strategy is the value-driven framework the group meticulously follows. “Every action we take,” Troskie says, “we match to a value for our customers or shareholders.”
This isn’t just a statement; it’s the ethos that drives Old Mutual under its leadership. “This framework is not just a business model; it’s a commitment to ensuring that every decision, every strategy, and every product aligns with the core values of delivering unparalleled service and value to customers,” says Casper.
On the back of a successful Visionary CFO Series in 2021 and 2022, A2X has once again partnered with CFO South Africa to bring you a series of interviews highlighting South Africa’s best and brightest CFOs, their insights and challenges. Find out how they help lead some of South Africa’s most successful companies in this bi-weekly interview series.
Digital transformation and technological evolution
The digital revolution has reshaped the financial landscape. Recognising this, Casper observes that while the financial journey often begins online, people frequently seek personalised advice as they delve deeper.
He is passionate about bringing Old Mutual, a 178-year-old company, into the digital realm, and embarking upon a transformative journey of the company’s operational processes. Previously reliant on a plethora of manual processes, the company has now transitioned to systems and platforms that are 99 percent on the cloud. “The digital bank initiative, in particular, is a testament to Old Mutual’s commitment to leveraging technology to meet the evolving needs of its customers,” Casper says.
Trust: more than just a word
In these uncertain times, trust is more than a value; it’s a currency for Casper. “In this digital age, where technology and personal touch merge, the foundation of trust becomes more crucial than ever before. The seamless integration of technology with human expertise is only as effective as the trust it fosters,” he explains.
His emphasis on building and maintaining this trust is unwavering. “Old Mutual’s consistent delivery, especially the swift payout times for their funeral product, has solidified our reputation.” This commitment, especially during crises, has bolstered Old Mutual’s standing, particularly in vulnerable communities.
For Casper, trust is not just about fulfilling promises; it’s about exceeding expectations and setting new benchmarks in customer service. Acknowledging the importance of fostering financial wellness, Old Mutual has launched a rewards programme that incentivises customers for prudent financial behaviours. Drawing a delightful analogy owned by one of his colleagues, he says:
“It’s like eating your financial Brussels sprouts – not always enticing, but invariably beneficial.”
He adds that this not only fosters responsible financial habits, but also deepens the bond between Old Mutual and its customers, creating a symbiotic relationship where both parties thrive.
Preparing for the unpredictable
With the rewards of financial wellness also come the challenges of risk. The current economic environment is rife with uncertainties.
Casper believes CFOs should always be prepared to face the “perfect storm scenario” while ensuring their company remains healthy and thriving.
Old Mutual’s approach to risk management is both strategic and customer-centric. He elaborates on the importance of holding capital, stating: "If a regulator prescribes 100 percent, insurers will hold 150 percent to be resilient. This ensures Old Mutual remains a stable pillar, even in a shaky financial landscape, empowering customers to make informed decisions.”
The introduction of IFRS17, a new international financial reporting standard, has brought about significant changes in the insurance industry.
“I think all of us underestimated the complexity of the change, and it’s taken more resources, more time and more effort to work through it.”
By understanding the intricacies of IFRS17 and its implications, Casper and his team have positioned Old Mutual to not only comply with the new standard but to leverage it as a strategic advantage: “An example of this is how we have balanced the strength of the balance sheet with improved future profitability,” he notes.
The road ahead – Africa’s promise
Africa offers a unique landscape for financial institutions. Casper’s optimism about the continent’s future is grounded in its inherent potential and resilience. “As Old Mutual continues to expand its footprint, we hope to harness Africa’s potential while delivering unparalleled value to its customers.”
This Visionary CFO Series interview is sponsored by A2X.