ALEXANDER Forbes fired Andrew Darfoor after the board lost “confidence and trust” in him. African News Agency (ANA)
Alexander Forbes, yesterday finally lifted the veil on why it dismissed Andrew Darfoor as its chief executive 10 months ago.

The group said in a statement that the board initiated an investigation into allegations against Darfoor and the results led to his sacking.

“This resulted in the termination of the services of the former chief executive officer and actions to remedy all the issues identified during the investigation,” the company said.

“PricewaterhouseCoopers Incorporated (PwC) reported these matters as a reportable irregularity (including reporting as such to the Prudential Authority in accordance with section 252(1)(b) of the Financial Sector Regulation Act 9 of 2017) and concluded that they have been dealt with and are no longer continuing.”

Alexander Forbes added that the legal processes between it and Darfoor were ongoing. The group fired Darfoor last September after the board lost “confidence and trust” in him, but did not elaborate until now.

Darfoor was swiftly replaced by former Sanlam executive Dawie de Villiers.

Business Report has previously reported that Johan van Zyl, the co-chief executive of Alexander Forbes' second biggest shareholder, African Rainbow Capital (ARC), had a difference of opinion on the strategy the group was pursuing under Darfoor.

However, the firm’s new strategy, which was unveiled by De Villers in March, was a carbon copy of ARC’s wish list seen by Business Report. This includes selling off its short-term insurance business, with sources saying the assets will end up in the hands of Sanlam.

ARC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Sanlam’s biggest shareholder, Ubuntu-Botho, the investment vehicle of business magnate Patrice Motsepe, who also serves as Sanlam’s deputy chairperson.

Van Zyl also serves as Sanlam chairperson and chief executive of Ubuntu-Botho.

Alexander Forbes yesterday also announced that ARC had increased its stake in the group from 8.9 percent to 13.11 percent.

ARC spokesperson Ainsley Moos said Alexander Forbes was an anchor investment in its portfolio of investments.

“Our view on Alexander Forbes is largely shaped by key industry developments which government has announced on default regulations as well as further retirement reform. It is our view that these changes will shape the industry positively and that Alexander Forbes stands to benefit from these changes over the longer term,” Moos said.

ARC first bought into Alexander Forbes in 2017 in a deal worth more than R700 million.

Asief Mohamed, the chief investment officer at Aeon Investment Management, said the acquisition of additional Alexander Forbes shares by ARC did not come as a surprise.

“It enables ARC to average down its cost. It remains to be seen if the ARC investment case for Alexander Forbes will be realised,” Mohamed said.

Alexander Forbes shares rose 2.12 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R5.77.

BUSINESS REPORT