‘Not to bet the farm’: SANLAM and internationalisation, 1995–2010

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The South African Life Assurance Company (SANLAM) entered global markets after 1990, with varied success. Contextual pressures exerted a ‘push’ on financial services companies, which led to strategic changes in firm strategy, structure and performance. Theories of internationalisation afford more attention to industrial production internationalisation. This article explores the SANLAM experiences with internationalisation since the early 1990s. Initial internationalisation attempts were less successful, leading to strategic business changes, which led to a change in the globalisation strategy and more success in alternative markets. This article explores the different stages of SANLAM’s internationalisation strategy and what determined eventual success. The article contextualises the SANLAM internationalisation strategy by drawing on aspects of the process theory, the Matthews Linkage, Leverage and Learning (LLL) framework, and the Strategy, Structure, Organisation and Performance (SSOP) analytical framework. The SANLAM case underlines the crucial role of tacit knowledge of the host market as prerequisite for successful globalisation strategies of financial services’ firms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)947-973
Number of pages27
JournalBusiness History
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2016


  • Internationalisation
  • emerging markets
  • leveraging and learning model
  • life insurance
  • linking
  • strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History


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