It’s been a busy 60 years - Liberty Timeline (1957 - 2017)
At Liberty, we continue to build on Donald Gordon’s vision to make a difference in people’s lives by making financial freedom possible.
Liberty’s heritage of entrepreneurial excellence has its foundations in the seeds that Sir Donald Gordon planted 60 years ago. Today, Liberty is a pan-African financial services company that has delivered innovative long-term solutions with the purpose of assisting customers in achieving financial freedom.
As we celebrate 60 years of our existence, we pay homage to the man who founded this organisation and built it to where it is today - with the help of all of us - Sir Donald Gordon. He had an overwhelming belief that all people should have the opportunity to grow their wealth and leave a proud legacy for their family.
- Donald Gordon establishes Liberty Life.
- Liberty Life sells its first life policy.
- Liberty Life introduces the first retirement annuity products in South Africa.
- Liberty Life is the first life assurance company to be listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (shares were worth R2.70).
- Liberty plays a leading role in the formation of Abbey Life Insurance Company, now the largest life insurer in the UK.
- Guardian Royal Exchange of London acquires 75% of Liberty Life.
- Together with two other financial institutions, Liberty Life introduces South Africa’s first unit trust and the concept of life insurance benefits linked to the unit trusts.
- Total assets top the R10 million mark.
- Liberty Holdings is formed to consolidate the South African interests of Guardian Royal Exchange (GRE) by acquiring Guardian Assurance Company of South Africa and 75% of Liberty Life.
- Liberty Asset Management (Libam) is launched.
- Guardbank is established in conjunction with Barclays National Bank, now FNB (First National Bank).
- Liberty Life introduces the Liberty Property Bond series of policies.
- The Donald Gordon Foundation is launched to manage the company’s social responsibility commitments.
- Liberty Life acquires the South African operations of the Manufacturers Life Insurance Company of Canada and doubles its size overnight (increasing the asset base to over R100 million).
- Liberty Life acquires control of Real Estate Corporation, A major South African listed property company.
- Liberty Life acquires control of Clydesdale (Transvaal) Collieries.
- Leading property development company, Rapp & Maister, becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Life. Annual income exceeds R100 million.
- Liberty Life gains control of First Union General Investment Trust.
- Liblife Controlling Corporation is formed with the Standard Bank Investment Corporation (Stanbic), and they repurchase the controlling interest in Liberty Life from Guardian Royal Exchange.
- Liberty International is established in London.
- Through the first share incentive scheme in South Africa to include all races, Liberty Life staff are eligible to acquire a minimum of R2 000 worth of shares in the company.
- Liberty Life lists on the London Stock Exchange.
- Liberty Life acquires 29,6% interest in Capital and Counties (major UK retail property developer).
- Liberty Life celebrates its 25th anniversary.
- Liberty Life Centre (new corporate headquarters) is opened in Braamfontein.
- Assets exceed R2 billion.
- Universal Lifestyle series is launched.
- Standard Bank increases its interest in Liblife controlling corporation to 50%.
- Liberty Life disposes of control of Clydesdale (Transvaal) Collieries to Gold Fields of • South Africa in exchange for a significant shareholding issued by Gold Fields of South Africa to Clydesdale shareholders.
- Liberty Life becomes a registered financial company in respect of Stanbic.
- Liberty Life increases its stake in Standard Bank over 21%.
- South Africa sees the launch of the VIP Lifestyle Retirement Annuity Policy.
- Liberty Life is 30 years old.
- Premium income exceeds R11 billion.
- Prudential Assurance Company becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Liberty Life.
- Liberty Life increases its interest in Standard Bank Investment Corporation to over 30% (largest shareholder in SA’s leading bank).
- First International Trust Limited (FIT) is established, as the international holding company for Liberty’s offshore investments.
- Liberty Life embarks upon an approach which culminated in the creation of the Faculty of Management at the University of the Witwatersrand, comprising the well-established Business School and the School of Public and Development Management.
- The Liberty Life Foundation is launched.
- The Medical Lifestyle health policy is introduced.
- Liberty Life increases its interest in Standard Bank Investment Corporation to over 39%.
- Liberty Life is ranked as fifth largest company in South Africa, in terms of market capitalisation on the JSE.
- Liberty Strategic Investments (Libsil) is established to manage the company’s industrial and financial investments.
- TransAtlantic Holdings issues convertible bonds for R1.4 billion and Capital Shopping Centres lists on the London Stock Exchange.
- Liberty Life Properties constructs the Ster-Kinekor Entertainment World under three levels of shopping floors at Sandton City.
- Liberty Life Centre institutes a new non-smoking policy. IT&S constructs special rooms for smokers on all floors.
- Group Benefits has more than 5 000 retirement funds under administration for the first time.
- The Foundation provides the funding for the re-publication of the early childhood development books to assist formal and informal childcare centres to operate effectively.
- Liberty Life launches ten new investment portfolios, giving agents and brokers the added flexibility of choosing from a wider range of portfolios.
- Liberty Life announces record levels of new business for 1995 exceeding R4 billion, up 17% on the R3.4 billion achieved for 1994.
- The Liberty Crèche opens on the ground floor of Libridge.
- Liberty Life launches the Blueprint-based Financial Needs Analysis (FNA), leading the market in technology and setting a new industry standard.
- The new Gym and Sports and Social Club opens on the ground floor of Libridge.
- Liberty Life goes online on the World Wide Web with
- Liberty celebrates its 40th anniversary.
- Liberty Life is appointed the official life assurer of the South African cricket squad.
- The Call Centre goes live, offering a one-stop service to policyholders calling direct.
- Liberty enters the direct sales market by establishing an outbound Call Centre to market orphan clients.
- The R200 million Holiday Inn Waterfront in Cape Town developed by Liberty Life Properties opens for business. In a first for South African insurers, Liberty Life policyholders are given the opportunity to invest in this development via a special policy.
- Sandton City celebrates its 25th anniversary. It’s valued at around R3 billion and generates 24% of LLP’s total building income.
- Liberty receives a Golden Arrow Award for the best pension and provident fund underwriter in the giant assurers category.
- Liberty wins a Gold Award in the Boardroom Magazine Company and Employee Benefits Survey.
- Retirement of Liberty’s founder, Chairman Donald Gordon. Control of Liberty Life changes to Standard Bank of South Africa.
- Donald Gordon is named Achiever of the Century in SA Financial Services.
- A multi-manager asset management company formed through a joint venture between Liberty Group, Standard Bank Investment Corporation and Investment Solutions.
- Launch of Multiple Classes (Liberty Unit Trusts).
- Rent collections for Liberty Properties exceed R100 million per month for the first time.
- Completion of Sandton Convention Centre.
- Total assets under the management of Liberty Collective Investments Ltd. hits R7 billion.
- Liberty Group, Simeka Investment Holdings and Genesis Capital announced an innovative, credible entry into the empowerment arena with the formation of a new financial services company – Simeka Financial Services (Pty) Limited.
- Liberty Centre gets new Standard Bank branch.
- STANLIB is established as a joint venture with Standard Bank.
- Liberty Life and Standard Bank sell 12.6% each of STANLIB to a BEE consortium.
- Liberty Corporate Benefits purchases portions of Investec Employee Benefits.
- 10% of Liberty Life’s South African operations are sold to BEE entities.
- Liberty Life announces an offer to purchase Capital Alliance Holdings Limited.
- Liberty Life is listed on the JSE’s SRI Index.
- R2 billion corporate bond issues.
- Capital Alliance Life is integrated into Liberty Life.
- Liberty Life maintains JSE SRI listing.
- Liberty Life’s board approves a plan to purchase the outstanding shares of STANLIB.
- Liberty celebrates 50 years in business.
- 100% acquisition of STANLIB is completed.
- The Board approves bold growth strategy to become Africa’s leading wealth company.
- The appointment of Saki Macozoma as Chairman of the Liberty Group.
- STANLIB is recognised as South Africa’s top unit trust management company for 2007.
- Liberty sets up new business operations in six African countries.
- Liberty Health expands and restructures as a hi-tech multi-revenue business.
- Multi-billion rand renovation announced for regional shopping centre Sandton City.
- Liberty Health adds 500 000 lives under management in its first full year of African operations.
- Liberty establishes presence in Nigeria.
- Liberty’s Call Centre is the overall winner of the Business Process enabling South Africa (BPeSA) Gauteng Awards.
- Liberty wins gold for the Green and Wellness Award, in which companies are assessed on their staff wellness programmes, recycling initiatives, corporate social investment and carbon footprint.
- Liberty scooped yet another award as Best Company of the Year at this year’s Financial Intermediaries Association (FIA) of South Africa annual award ceremony.
- Liberty accredited as a Best Employer and ranked eighth in the Best Large-sized Employer category (out of 20 companies).
- STANLIB Property Income Fund and the STANLIB Income Fund named as top performers at the Raging Bull Awards.
- STANLIB wins six Raging Bull Awards.
- Total Assets amount to R 455 billion.
- Liberty’s B-BBEE credentials sit at an impressive level 2.
- Liberty launched the Msiba plan to the Kenyan Market. The Msiba plan is a funeral and accident cover plan that requires no medical examination.
- MyLife was launched in Uganda, the first product of its kind. The product, in partnership with M’Cash, offers mobile hospital and personal accident insurance. Premiums are paid using mobile money.
- Heritage Insurance Tanzania and Vodacom Tanzania were awarded the 2013 Cover Insurance Distribution innovator of the Year award for their micro insurance product Faraja.
- CfC Life scooped two awards at the Kenyan Annual Insurance Awards 2013.
- Top Marketing Initiative of the Year Award:
- First overall award for the Training Category.
- STANLIB launched two private equity funds: The Africa Infrastructure Private Equity
- Fund and the Africa Direct Property Fund.
- STANLIB launched its Listed Property ETF tracking the JSE Listed Property Index.
- Sandton City was named the ‘coolest’ shopping centre in the annual Sunday Times Generation Next Awards.
- Strategy 2020 is announced.
- Bold is launched.
- Liberty lists Liberty 2 Degrees on the JSE.
- Liberty celebrates 60 years of existence.
- New CEO David Munro.
Given this history, Sir Donald Gordon was extremely passionate about the role that education played in developing people. Because of this, the result for Liberty is a proud relationship and on-going investments into education that span over 50 years. Two notable achievements in this regard are the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), now an exemplary business management school ranking amongst the best in the world; and the Wits University Donald Gordon Medical Centre, the first private academic hospital in South Africa.