Now Mrs Heystek is giving wealth tips

After turning her ex-husband into a household name, Anne Heystek is hoping to become South Africa’s latest wealth creator

Bruce Whitfield

Global markets are a testing place even for the most resilient fund managers. Scores are losing money hand over fist and are struggling to maintain their portfolios. Despite the difficulties faced by the investment professionals, readers of free local newspapers in Johannesburg’s wealthy northern suburbs are being told they can be given the tools to become millionaires.

The marketing force behind the Magnus Heystek financial advice phenomenon in the 1990s is the public face of a new wealth creation initiative launched recently in a supplement in Caxton “knock-and-drop” newspapers. Motivational speaker and public relations practitioner Anne Heystek, who was married to Magnus, has reinvented herself as an investment life-skills counsellor.

She says that her new venture has nothing to do with her former husband and says while she does not give financial advice, she gives a compassionate view to people who need confidence to take control of their own financial affairs. “He’s involved in wealth preservation, I am involved in wealth creation, but I do the softer stuff, the financial services experts give the actual advice.”

She’s the chair of Worth a Million Incorporated, a shareholder in a company that she says wants to uplift people with a desire to create wealth for themselves. Despite her reputation as a champion marketer, she denies that she is using the “Heystek brand” to sell the venture.

“It’s what I’m called, it’s my name,” she says, “what am I supposed to call myself?”

Worth a Million’s adverts tell prospective clients that they have the right to become rich. It tells how a one-on-one consultation with Anne will “ensure a step-by-step investment plan on how to appreciate money and become a millionaire.”

There is still a degree of secrecy around how the business is structured and exactly who her business partners are, because she says it’s still very new and they don’t want to give away too much information about themselves.

Calling Anne’s 24-hour info line gives wannabe millionaires a chance to hear a recorded message punting a series of workshops which will be presented by her and a range of experts. The nine workshops, which delegates will pay R95 a time to attend, are being run between now and February next year. They are sponsored by Standard Bank and independent investment management organisation Fidelity Investments which stands to benefit from selling its products to the newly inspired investors.

An advert tells potential delegates: “This workshop series designed by Anne in association with Moneytalk offers a step-by-step investment plan on how to appreciate your money and become a millionaire.”

According to the Financial Services Board, which regulates independent financial advisers, the advert does not actually promise a quick return on investment, but instead simply offers lessons on how to plan financial matters. Because Heystek is not promoting particular products or guaranteeing millionaire status through investments, her advertising is not breaking any of their current regulations.

The double page spread in the Moneytalk publication uses various elements of pop psychology and plays on basic human emotion. “It is a kind of personal silent crime,” she writes, “not to give your money an opportunity to work for you. Ultimately the sentence for that crime is poverty.”

She admits that the lessons she gives are “nothing new”. She’s read scores of books by the investment gurus and is simply putting a new face on the tried-and-tested investment rules and concepts. She goes to the basics of investing 10% of your income, the benefits of compound interest and she talks of how women should take charge of their financial futures.

The scheme is aimed at women in particular, and tells them they should not feel guilty about taking charge of their financial future. In fact it does the opposite, warning them that if they do not take care of themselves, they will become a burden on their children. “Nine out of 10 women will find themselves alone at some point in their lives, this is when you are at your most vulnerable and need a money cushion.”

Heystek insists she is “just trying to give something back”, she wants to empower women, because “from an early age, women often get the message that society does not expect them to be good at managing money”.

At about R300 a consultation, it certainly appears that Mrs Heystek missed that particular message.

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