Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
South African Reserve Bank

Evolution of Reserves Management 

Prior 1999 - The SARB focuses mainly on liquidity management and its foreign reserves are predominantly in US dollars.  In 1998 SARB takes deliberate steps to make use of the favourable external environment to accumulate reserves, which included the buying of foreign exchange as and when market conditions permit, purchasing the proceeds of the National Treasury’s foreign loans and absorbing portions of large FDI transactions.

The First External Fund Management programme (EFMP) is launched with its main objectives of building internal capacity through skills and technology transfer and to diversity the risk/return characteristics of the reserves.
​2001 The first Reserves Management Investment Policy is approved by the GEC.
​2002 Additional private sector external fund managers are appointed as the level of reserves increases.
​2003 The SARB closes out its oversold forward position in February 2003.

The first internally managed global bond portfolio is rolled out and actively managed by SARB portfolio agers.  This portfolio consists mainly of government bonds.

The Securities Lending programme is launched with the view to recover custody and external management fees associated with the EFMP and two official institutions are appointed to the EFMP.

The SARB joins RAMP (World Bank’s Reserves Advisory and Management Programme).  Under this programme, the World Bank provides investment management services, advisory services and training to official sector reserve mangers with the goal of enabling them to manage foreign currency reserves more efficiently.

The SARB reviews its Reserves Management Investment Policy, to enhance the strategic and operational framework and to define the criteria for the management of reserves.  The first comprehensive Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA) is implemented to align the reserve tranches’ risk parameters with that of the SARB’s risk tolerance, and to establish the strategic benchmarks against which reserves would be managed.  During this period additional internally managed portfolios are rolled out.

The Reserves management Investment Policy is further enhanced to strengthen the governance structure for reserves management and to reconfigure and strengthen the Reserves Management committee.  SARB repays its final foreign loan in June that year.

Both the internally and externally managed portfolios are topped-up with additional reserves as part of the SARB’s reserves accumulation strategy.
The trading of bond futures is introduced to the internally managed portfolios to enhance the efficiency of portfolio management.

The investment mandate for the internally managed reserves expends to countries such as China, South Korea, Japan, Australia, Sweden and Canada. SARB signs the multilateral Inter-Central Bank Agreement (ICBA) with BRICS Central Banks with the objective of implementing the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) as announced in July 2014, at the BRICS Summit in Brazil.

SARB signs a Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement with the People’s Bank of China (PBoC).  This agreement allows for the exchange of local currencies between the two central banks of up to CNY 30 billion. SARB signs a Memorandum of Understanding on Renminbi Clearing Arrangements in South Africa for the purpose of clearing and settlement of Renminbi in South Africa. awards the 2015 ‘Reserve Manager of the Year Award’ to the SARB.  This is in recognition of the measures taken by the SARB to ensure resilience during a challenging year for emerging markets, and in addressing the fundamental change in perceptions of risk and return under which reserve managers operate in a post-crisis world.

SARB changes its securities lending model by appointing a 3rd party securities lending agent.  SARB implements its fourth SAA following a comprehensive review and adds a segregated inflation-linked mandate.
SARB and the PBoC agree to extend the Bilateral Currency Swap Agreement (signed in 2015) for a further three year period.
Sign In
Evolution of Reserves Management Help (new window)