The long-term insurer said on Friday that it decided to review the salaries after it reviewed its long-term strategy and operating model to focus on growing its core insurance business in South Africa.
The group, which is partly owned by Standard Bank, said it struggled with investment returns due to weak equity markets in South Africa and abroad, in line with other life insurance companies during the period.
It said its net insurance premiums fell just more than 4percent to R36.1bn from R37.7bn, while total income went down to R41bn from R69.7bn, mainly due to only R2.24bn flowing in as investment income, against R17.4bn recorded during the corresponding period last year.
The group said total remuneration to directors - including retirement contributions, bonuses, performance reward plans and long-term share awards - fell to R205.91million, compared with R239.39m.
Chief executive David Munro took home R16.39m as executive director at Liberty Group and R18.43m from Standard Bank, to bring his total income to R34.82m during the period.
Munro’s fixed remuneration for 2017 was R8.52m, but his total figure for that year was R65.63m, and it included a deferred R20m cash bonus, 50percent of which would be awarded for service to Liberty after three years, and the other 50percent after five years.
Munro was appointed chief executive of Liberty Group on February 15, 2017.
His boss, according to the Liberty results, Standard Bank chief executive Sim Tshabalala, earned a total of R59.07m in 2018, compared with R55.12m the year before, an increase of just more than 7percent.
The group said that in 2017 the value of new business had been well below budgeted long-term expectations as a result of lower margins on products sold and lower-than-budgeted business volumes.
A financial remediation programme was initiated to expedite changes required in products, underwriting, pricing and customer experience to improve the value of new business.
Focus was also placed on tighter expense management and simplifications in products and operational processes.
“In 2018, the group implemented changes to products, pricing, and underwriting and increased focus on expense management. The volumes of new business remain under pressure and work in respect of this financial remediation programme is ongoing,” the group’s directors noted in the report.
Liberty rose 0.32percent on the JSE on Friday to close at R101.19.