Quick reads for this week

PF highlights some quick reads for this week. Picture: Independent Newspapers.

PF highlights some quick reads for this week. Picture: Independent Newspapers.

Published Jan 19, 2024


FSCA informs the public of an investigation into the business activities of BFG Engineering Brokers

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) has announced that there was an ongoing investigation into the business activities of BFG Engineering Brokers (Pty) Ltd (BFG), and more specifically, whether BFG may be conducting unregistered or unlicensed insurance business relating to guarantee policies, in contravention of section 7(1) of the Short-Term Insurance Act, and/or section 5(1) of the Insurance Act 18 of 2017 (Insurance Act).

“BFG is not licensed in terms of the Insurance Act to conduct non-life insurance business or life insurance business. In particular, it is not permitted to enter into or meet insurance obligations relating to the guaranteed class of business, nor was it registered as a short-term insurer to carry out any short-term insurance business under the STI Act. In particular, it was not registered to undertake any obligations under a guarantee policy.

“BFG is authorised by the FSCA as a Category I financial services provider. This means that BFG may give advice or render intermediary services about insurance products, but it cannot lawfully offer and underwrite insurance products. FSCA emphasises that BFG is not a licensed insurer,” it said.

FAO says global food prices dropped in December

There was a decline in the benchmark for global food commodity prices in December, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

FAO said the decline was notable compared to the previous month.

The FAO Food Price Index tracks monthly changes in the international prices of a set of globally traded food commodities.

The index showed that the prices averaged 118.5 points in December, dropped by 1.5% from November and declined by 10.1% from December 2022.

For 2023, the index was 13.7% lower than the average value over the preceding year, with only the international sugar price index higher over the period.

The index reveals that due to logistical disruptions, the cereal price index rose 1.5% from November, as wheat, maize, rice and barley prices all increased.

The sugar price index declined 16.6% from November, hitting a nine-month low even though it still rose by 14. 9% from December 2022.

The 10 hardest European countries to get citizenship

Estonia ranks as the hardest country for non-EU residents to become citizens of.

This information is contained in the research conducted by the Canadian immigration agency CanadaCIS. It showed that Estonia has the lowest average percentage of residents who gain citizenship, at around one in 200 (0.6%). Men are less likely to be accepted, with a lower acquisition rate of 0.58% compared to 0.69% for women.

“Latvia, Czechia and Lithuania are the next three hardest countries to become citizens of, with less than 1% of its non-EU residents gaining citizenship, compared to the European average of 3.56%.

“The nations ranked fifth through ninth - Austria, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Germany - grant less than one in fifty (2%) non-EU residents citizenship,” it said.

Denmark is the hardest country outside Central Europe to get citizenship, with a 2% acquisition rate, the research found.