Sanlam Wealthsmiths - 100 Years Sanlam 100 Years

How did a business founded in 1918 make it to 2018?

It’s taken 100 years of hard work and perseverance over many generations to get us this far. Our company has evolved but we've always stayed committed to creating lasting value and enabling people to live their best lives possible. For now and for generations to come.

So what can we learn about our past 100 years that will help us see through the next 100?

We embraced opportunities for empowerment by being a forerunner of transformation in South Africa and continue to be pioneers of technological development and innovation.

We did it first
We did it for good

  • 1922
  • 1958
  • 1977
  • 1993
  • 1997
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2013

We turned 2 million policyholders into shareholders

In 1998, through demutualisation, every person who owned a Sanlam policy got a share in the newly listed business known as Sanlam Life Insurance Ltd.

These new shareholders essentially became co-owners of Sanlam, empowered to share in the success and profits of the newly formed broadly-based financial services group.

Sanlam 100 Years

We grew from 7 founders to 18000 staff members

Along the way, we’ve diversified our leadership and nurtured the growth of our staff. Our financial advisers and independent brokers are our most valuable business partners, playing a key role in establishing meaningful, lasting client relationships. It’s thanks to the skills and dedication of these individuals that we’re able to celebrate this 100-year milestone.

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Some began their successful careers with us

Chris Adonis Former bursary holder

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Some are on the road to becoming tomorrow’s future leaders

Nokukhanya Sithole Financial Manager,
Sanlam Personal Finance

And since that first meeting at 10 Burg Street, we’ve now got a global presence

From a small Cape-based insurance company to a leading, diversified financial services group with the biggest non-banking footprint on the African continent.

We are Wealthsmiths

We never settle. We continue to adapt and evolve. We work hard every day to help people live their best lives possible. Through this hands-on, roll-up-your sleeves approach, we’ll continue to make a real and positive difference to the lives of all South Africans.

For 100 years, we’ve put our clients first

Sanlam has established a board committee to oversee client-centricity, client service and client satisfaction. It’s the right way to do things, it’s just part of the DNA of Sanlam and the way we do business.

Desmond Smith Chairman of Sanlam’s Board of Directors (2010 - 2017)

Our purpose is to empower

Sanlam’s purpose is to build a world of Wealthsmiths, supporting people in living their best life by helping build financial resilience at the individual and societal level.

The Blue Ladder Schools project is giving South African learners a headstart on a brighter future by improving maths tuition, nutrition and upgrading key facilities at schools across the country.


It’s the hard work of many people over many generations that has got us to where we are today. We’ve adapted as a group and we’ll continue to do that. I have no doubt that the fundamentals are in place to put us on the map in 100 years time.

Ian Kirk Group Chief Executive of Sanlam

We’ve spent the past 100 years building financial futures, lasting legacies and a world others will soon inherit

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