Frequently Asked Questions

About Franc

1. Who can invest with Franc?

Only South African residents with a national ID or passport number that agree with the provisions of the Franc Stokvel constitution can invest via the app.

2. Do I have to fill out any forms?

No, you don't have to fill out any forms to join Franc. Everything is handled through the app. To verify your identity, you will have to upload or take a photo of documents that prove your identity and home address.

3. What information do I need to provide to sign up?

You will need to provide your email address, ID or passport number and your cellphone number to sign up. In order to transact you will also need to go through our identity verification process.

4. Can I sign up on my PC or laptop?

No, Franc is a mobile only platform and can only be accessed via the app.

5. Is the app available on both iOS and Android?

Yes. If you navigate to franc.app on your phone you will be redirected to the appropriate app store.

6. What fees do I pay when I invest through Franc?

Franc charges an all-in fee of 1% per year of the value of your investment. This includes all fund management fees but doesn't include brokerage and transactions costs.

7. What is the Franc Investment Club?

The Franc Investment Club is a group of members governed by a constitution that gives each member investment access to cash and equity funds with no minimums. Each member can choose how much to contribute to each fund. Deposits and withdrawals are done via the Franc app.

Account

1. How do I reset my password?

On the login screen of the Franc app, tap 'Forgot your password?'. You'll be asked to enter your email address and we'll send you a link to reset your password.

2.How do I reset my passcode?

If you enter the wrong passcode three times, you will be prompted to reset your passcode. Once you have verified your identify, a new temporary passcode will be sent to the email address registered with your account.

3. How can I change my cellphone number?

Tap the menu in the top left corner of the Franc app and select 'Account'. Then tap on your cellphone number and follow the prompts to change it.

4. How can I change my email address?

In the Accounts section of the Franc app you can change your email address. A link will be sent to your email address to verify your new email address.

5. Is it safe to use Franc?

Yes. We use advanced technology to secure communication between the mobile app and our systems. Passwords and passcodes are stored using 64-bit encryption. For enhanced security, users can also opt into biometric login.

6. How do I close my Franc account?

In the Accounts section of the Franc app you can select to close your account and your investment balance will be deposited into your bank account.

Common Financial Terms

1. Active management

Where the fund manager makes decisions about which assets (e.g. shares, bonds, etc.) to buy and sell, in what quantities, and when. Active management is the opposite of passive management, and typically has higher fees than passive management.

2. Annual fee

This is the amount you pay per year for your investment. Most investment fees are usually an annual percentage of the value of your investment and is generally deducted from the investment itself rather than being charged separately.

3. Asset class

There are different types or assets (items of value that you can buy or sell) like property, equities (shares) or bonds. So property would be considered an asset class.

4. Assets

Items of value that you can sell or buy. For example, if you buy a house, that is an asset.

5. Assets under management

This is the total value of the assets invested by a fund manager.

6. Basis points

One hundredth of a percent. e.g.1 basis point is 0.01% and so 50 basis points is 0.5%. Fund managers sometimes refer to their fees as being so many basis points.

7. Bonds

A bond is a financial instrument usually issued by government entities or companies which enables them to borrow money which they have to pay interest on and repay on a specific date.

8. Bull and bear markets

These phrases come from a charging bull and a hibernating bear, and is meant to describe investors' outlook on the market. In a bull market investors are optimistic and share prices are generally increasing, whereas in a bear market investors are pessimistic and share prices are generally decreasing.

9. Capital gain/loss

The difference between what you sell an asset for and what you paid for it. If you sell it for more than you paid, then it's a gain and you may have to pay Capital Gains Tax on the value that it increased by.

10. Consumer Price Index (CPI)

This is a measure of inflation and expresses the devaluation of money. For example, if CPI is 5% that means that to buy something next year that cost R100 this year, it would cost you R105, in other words money has devalued by 5%. And so in assessing any potential investment, it is important to look at its return over and above CPI.

11. Dividends

If you have shares in a company they may declare a dividend distribution to shareholders, which means that you will receive a share of the profit made or cash held by the company.

12. Equity (or equities)

Equity means owner's capital, but for Franc members it means shares in listed companies. If you own shares in a company you are one of the owners. If the share price goes up, you benefit from the increase in the share price. On the other hand, if the share price drops, you could lose money. Any loss or gain is only confirmed when you sell your shares. Franc members can invest in shares by putting money in an equity fund.

13. ETF

An Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) is similar to a share in that it can be bought or sold, as well as increase or decrease in value. However, ETFs track the performance of a specific index fund, which typically includes a number of publically listed companies. So instead of investing in just one company, you are investing in multiple companies which lowers your risk of losing money.

14. Financial advisor

An individual who is qualified to give financial advice and help with all aspects of finance, such as retirement planning, life insurance, wealth management, etc.

15. Fund manager

The individual(s) or company that runs a fund. In some cases, they make decisions about what assets to buy or sell and when to sell, which is called active management. In other cases, all the decisions are made by set rules, which is called passive management.

16. Index

This is a combination of assets that represents a particular market or a portion of it. For example, a Top 40 index typically tracks the performance of the biggest 40 companies on a stock exchange.

17. Index fund

An index fund is an investment fund that attempts to replicate the performance of an index.

18. Inflation

Inflation is the amount by which money gets worth less over time. It's how a loaf of bread that cost R10 five years ago, can cost R15 today.

19. Interest rate

The amount you pay for borrowing money, or earn for lending it. It's usually a percentage of the amount borrowed or lent, payable or earned per year. So if you save with a bank or invest in a money market fund, you are effectively lending your money to other people or institutions, so will likely receive a portion of the interest paid by the borrower.

20. Investment

An asset that you hope will increase in value or generate income, or both, over time.

21. JSE

The name of South Africa's biggest stock exchange, the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. It's where securities (like equities and bonds) can be bought and sold (but only by members). The general public can only buy and sell on the JSE through brokers.

22. Liquidity

How easily and quickly an asset can be converted to cash. If an investment is liquid, it means you can convert it to cash quickly. For example. a fixed deposit with a bank is not a liquid investment because you have to wait until the fixed term is over to get your money.

23. Listed company

A company whose shares are traded on a stock exchange and are able to be bought and sold.

24. Lump sump contribution

A single or once-off (rather than weekly or monthly) amount of money that is put into an investment.

25. Market capitalisation

The value of a company when you multiply all the shares it has issued by the share price.

26. Money market fund

An investment that pays an interest rate that is typically higher than a savings account. Money market fund managers typically trade in short-term loans and bonds issued by banks, companies and government entities.

27. Opportunity cost

This is the cost of a lost opportunity. In other words, what you might have gained from doing something different.

28. Passive management

Where specific assets are bought or sold in specific proportions so as to mirror the performance of a specific index. It is called passive becuase the fund manager is more a supervisor and is not making regular buy or sell decisions. Because of that, passive investment funds typically have lower fees than actively managed funds.

29. Performance

How well or badly an investment does. It can out-perform or under-perform against expectations or against other investments.

30. Return

The money you make (or lose) from an investment. It’s usually expressed as a percentage, and can be positive (when you get back more than you put in) or negative (when you get back less).

31. Risk

The potential for an investment to lose money. Investments with higher risk should also have higher potential returns, which is sometimes referred to as the risk-return ratio.

32. Security (or securities)

A financial instrument typically issued by a company or government entity that can be traded.

33. Shares

A share is a unit of equity or ownership in a company. If you own shares in company, you are typically entitled to voting rights as a shareholder and are entitled to company dividends (a share of the profits or cash held). If the share price goes up, you benefit from the increase in the share price. On the other hand, if the share price drops, you could lose money if you bought the share for more than you can sell it for. Any loss or gain is only confirmed when you sell your shares.

34. Tax-Free Savings Account

A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is an investment product that was introduced to encourage people to save money. The advantage of a TFSA is that you are not taxed on interest, dividends or capital growth. You can invest up to R33 000 per year in a TFSA (annual Tax-Free Savings Allowance).

35. Total expense ratio (TER)

The total cost of running a fund, which includes both the management fees and transaction costs. TER is a percentage, calculated by dividing the fund's total costs by its total assets. Since the costs and assets change from year to year, the TER does too.

36. Unit trust

A collection of various investments that are bought by pooling many people's money together. On their own, these people potentially wouldn't be able to buy as big or varied a collection of investments. They're called 'unit trusts' because people can buy 'units' of the total investment.

37. Volatility

How often and by how much the value of an investment may go up and down. Volatility is associated with risk. If something has high volatility it is high risk. And investments that are more volatile should have higher potential returns.

38. Yield

Yield is the income returned on an investment, such as the interest received from holding a security or the dividend from owning a share in a company.

Investments

1. Does Franc offer financial advice?

No, Franc does not offer financial advice.

2. Why is it important to invest?

Because of inflation, if you had to just put your money under your mattress or keep it in your bank account, it would actually be worth less over time. By investing your money, it can grow and become worth more instead of less. Investing wisely means that one day when you need a sum of money for something big like buying a car or sending your kids to university, you may have the money to do so.

3. How long should I invest for?

The longer the better. The power of compounding means that longer the term of your investment the more time the interest you earned has time to earn interest of its own. It is also suitable to invest in equities over a long term period given the risk associated with this asset class.

4. Where does Franc invest my money?

Your money is invested in our Cash Fund (Allan Gray Money Market) and/or Equity Fund (Satrix 40 ETF) as per your investor profile.

5. Does the Cash Fund interest rate vary?

The Cash Fund (Allan Gray Money Market Fund) interest rate does not vary dramatically. It has been between 7.4% and 7.9% over the past 5 years.

6. What is the Satrix 40 ETF and how does it work?

The Satrix 40 ETF tracks the performance of the largest 40 companies on the JSE by market capitalisation.

7. What is the difference between the Cash Fund and the Equity Fund?

The Cash Fund (Allan Gray Money Market) is a very low risk fund and targets returns higher than a bank deposit without a fixed lock-in period, whereas an index-tracking ETF is more risky because the underlying company share prices can be volatile. Investing in Cash ensures that your money grows steadiliy, whereas investing in ETFs could give you a greater return but you also run the risk of losing money if the underlying company shares prices drop. Cash investments are typically more suitable for short term investments and an emergency fund, whereas ETFs are more suitable for long term (3 years and more) investment goals, depending on your financial circumstances of course.

8. Which of the two funds should I invest in?

This depends on a number of factors and differs from person to person. We suggest that you take our Risk Assesment in order to find out what is suitable for a person in your financial position.

9. What are the risks of investing in any of the investment products?

The Cash Fund (Allan Gray Money Market) is a very low risk fund so it is highly unlikely you will lose any of your money by being invested in this fund. The Equity Fund (Satrix 40 ETF) is higher risk, which means there is a chance that you may lose some of your initial investment, especially if you are only invested for a short period of time.

10. What is the difference between saving my money using a fixed deposit and investing it through Franc?

There are two big differences. Fixed deposit accounts only give you a good interest rate if you leave your money invested for a set period of time. You can’t cash out your money until this set period is over, or if you do then the interest rate earned is lower. With a money market investment like the one we offer, you get a good interest rate and you can withdraw your money whenever you need it. Franc also lets you invest in equities, which is different to a fixed deposit because while it offers a much higher potential return, there’s also a risk that you could lose money.

11. What is the difference between saving my money using a bank savings account and investing it through Franc?


There are two big differences. Bank savings accounts allow you to withdraw your investment at any time but offer lower interest rates on your investment. With a money market investment like the one we offer, you get a good interest rate and you can withdraw your money whenever you need it. Franc also lets you invest in equities, which is different to a fixed deposit because while it offers a much higher potential return, there’s also a risk that you could lose money.

12. Will I receive any dividends in my account?

No, Franc uses any dividends received to buy more units or shares for you.

13. Will my Franc investment count towards my tax-free savings allowance?

No. Neither the Cash (Allan Gray Money Market) nor Equity (Satrix 40 ETF) Funds are registered tax free savings vehicles.

14. Can my child (under 18 years of age) invest through Franc?

We recognise the importance of teaching your children the importance of investing. However, at this stage minors cannot open accounts on Franc. We are looking at resolving this challenge, so that users can setup accounts for their children.

15. What happens when you invest once-off?

Your once-off (or lump sum) investment will be made in the Cash and/or Equity Fund as per your instruction.

16. How do I start investing towards a goal?

You first have to set up you investor profile. Once you have done this, you can set an investment goal. We will help you figure out how much you will need to contribute on a monthly or lump sum basis in order to achieve your target amount by when you want it.

17. How do you work out my suggested goal contribution?

To calculate your monthly goal contribution we assume that money invested in the Cash Fund earns 7.5% per year and money invested in the Equity Fund earns 15% per year. These are assumptions we make based on past data but depending on how your investment performs you may reach your goal sooner or later than planned.

18. Should I borrow money to invest?

Borrowing to invest is only worthwhile if the likely return on the investment is greater than the interest rate on the loan. Given investment returns are uncertain, it is generally not a good idea to borrow to invest unless you are investing in property which most people cannot afford to buy without borrowing.

19. How do I assess the risk of an investment?

Risk typically looks at how the value of the investment changes over time. Consider the difference between your house price and the price of bitcoin (cryptocurrency). It's very unlikely that the price of your house will vary in one day. However, on 27 June 2019 the price of one Bitcoin dropped 14% - this type of movement up or down is not unusual for Bitcoin. So by comparison residential property has very low risk compared with cryptocurrencies. Most other investments typically fall between these two extremes.

20. How much must I have to start investing?

Typically, the only minimum requirement imposed is by the investment platform or fund. With Franc, there is no minimum requirement - you can invest R1 if you wish, but we recommend more meaningful investments. Some types of investments have an inherent minimum. For example, it's difficult (but not impossible) to buy half a house or half a share.

21. How do I evaluate a good investment?

The most important things to evalute are the investment's expected return (relative to the risk) and cost. Unfortunately investment returns are uncertain so there is no way to be certain that an investment will deliver high returns. However costs are certain so if you choose a low cost investment this will definitely save you money relative to a high cost investment.

22. What should I prioritise in my investments?

First priority should be to establish a rainy day or emergency fund (cash fund). How much this is depends on what other investments you have that you could sell if you really needed money and what the emergency expenses could be. Once you're comfortable you've saved enough in case of emergency, the next priority should be to invest whatever spare money you have for the long-term (equity fund).

Transactions

1. What is the minimum investment amount?

There are no minimum investment amounts, you can invest what you want.

2. Can I withdraw my money anytime?

Yes you can, there are no restrictions on withdrawals.

3. How do I invest money with Franc?

From the Franc home screen you can make a deposit by touching the plus sign and selecting the 'Deposit' option. If you have not set up your investment profile yet, you will be asked to do so before you can invest.

4. How do I deposit money in Franc's account?

You can deposit via EFT, cash deposit or create a recurring or once off stop order using your banking platform. Please remember to use your unique reference so we can identify your payment.

5. What are Franc's banking details?

Nedbank Savings Account, Account Number 2011140927, Branch Code 198765. Please remember to use your unique reference when depositing so we can identify your payment.

6. How do I invest monthly with Franc?

At this stage we only accept EFT, cash deposits or stop-orders. To invest using your banking platform, add Franc (Nedbank Savings Account, Account Number 2011140927, Branch Code 198765) as a beneficiary and specify the amount and desired frequency of your investment contributions. Please remember to use your unique reference so we can identify your payment.

7. Do I need to commit to invest for a certain number of months?

No. you can invest for as many or as few months as you wish.

8. What is a Stop Order and how can it help me invest regularly?

A stop order is an agreement between you and your bank, where you tell your bank to make a series of regular payments on specific future dates on your behalf. However, you can instruct the bank to cancel the stop order at any time. Please remember to set up your stop order with your unique reference so we can identify your payments.

9. Can I make a cash deposit into your account?

Yes. Please remember to use your unique reference when making the cash deposit so that we can identify your payment. Please note that there are costs involved with cash deposits and we will only be able to invest the net amount received.

10. How do I withdraw money from my investments?

From the Franc home screen you can withdraw by touching the plus sign and selecting the 'Withdraw' option. If you have not added and verified your bank account, will be asked to do so before you can withdraw.

11. When I make a withdrawal, how soon do I get the money deposited into my account?

Withdrawals can take between 3-7 days before it reflects in your account. Cash Fund withdrawals tend to clear before Equity Fund withdrawals.

12. How long does it take for my investment to reflect in the app?

Your investment balance can take between 3-7 to reflect in the app.

13. Can I set up more than one investment using the Franc app?

Currently you can set up only one investment (goal, lump sum or monthly) but we are working hard on increasing this in the near future.

14. Can I deposit money through the app?

At the moment we are not processing payments through the app, so you'll need to deposit money directly into our account. We hope to offer in-app payments soon.

15. Can you deposit my withdrawal into an overseas account?

No. We can only deposit money into a South African bank account at this stage.

16. I made a deposit but from an overseas bank, will you be able to receive it?

Yes we will be able to receive it. Please remember to use your unique reference when depositing so that we can identify your payment. Also note that there are costs associated with overseas transfers and we will only be able to invest the net amount received.