File Image: Liberty chief David Munro. Picture: Timothy.Bernard AfricanNewsAgency/ANA
DURBAN –Disgrunted Liberty Holdings financial advisers have accused the financial services group of failing to pay their commission for January.

They claimed repeated attempts to get clarity from Liberty Life had fallen on deaf ears, with none of the company’s executives able to give straight answers on why they had not been paid the outstanding commission.

A financial adviser who spoke on condition of anonymity said this was the first time he had experienced non-payments in 10 years at the group.

“What has been the biggest problem is that no-one is communicating with us to give us clarity on the matter,” he said. “I have personally written emails which were ignored or not answered by the employer. Attempts to get the head of commissions to respond also drew a muted response.”

Liberty Life was not immediately available for comment.

The allegations come ahead of the release of the company’s year-end results this month.

The group has faced challenges in the past 12 months. Last year, it announced that hackers had breached its information technology infrastructure and accessed some emails, allegedly demanding a ransom for the files.

The group at the time refused to comment on who the hackers could have been and said it would not divulge the ransom, because the matter was still subject to investigation.

The hacking came at a time when chief executive David Munro was pushing ahead with a turnaround strategy for the group. Munro took over in 2017 after former chief executive Thabo Dloti resigned following a difference of opinion with the board.

In the six months to end June, the group increased its operating earnings to R958million from R814m last year, on the back of its local operations and the Stanlib businesses.

Headline earnings for the SA Retail insurance business also rose 18percent to R704m.

The group said pressure on sales volumes would continue in the short term as the economic and operating environment in South Africa remained subdued this year.

However, another adviser said the payments had been delayed, because the company was faced with deep financial problems.

“There are many financial advisers in the group as they employ thousands of us, so you can imagine that this affects a lot of people,” the adviser said. “I have decided to alert the media as a last resort as the company has failed to give us answers.”

Liberty Holdings shares rose 0.85percent on the JSE on Friday to close at R103.33.