Charles Savage says tough times forced EasyEquities to introduce R25 a month fee

Charles Savage

Purple Group CEO Charles Savage said tough times in South Africa forced EasyEquities to introduce a R25 a month fee.

Purple Group, which owns EasyEquities, is under pressure to improve its financial performance after its share price plummeted 79% since January 2022.

Its results for the six months ended 28 February 2023 revealed that its operating expenses increased significantly faster than its revenue.

The standout figure was a net loss of R10.6 million – a negative swing from the previous net profit of R17.7 million. It was a 158% deterioration in Purple Group earnings.

With the same trading conditions as the previous six months, Purple Group’s full-year results may face similar challenges.

Speaking to Biznews, Savage said the EasyEquities business had to adapt to the South African economic challenges and bear market.

The new R25 per month fee was a response to the tougher trading environment and what the data showed.

Savage said the mandatory R25 Thrive loyalty program subscription is aimed at modifying the behaviour of EasyEquities users.

“The Thrive R25 subscription would most likely never have been born in a bull market. However, that does not make it a bad thing,” he said.

He said Thrive was a response to much more difficult times. Through the programme, they want to force EasyEquities users to engage with them at least once a month.

EasyEquities was top of mind over the last week amidst the R25 fee debacle, which Savage said is excellent for the business.

“I can’t remember a period where we received so much media interest and attention. On that case alone, it is a success,” he said.

“That is what we want to do. We want to be top of mind once a month. It is not about improving our income statement.”

He said the mandatory R25 fee will improve the behaviour of their customers, which, in time, will improve their income statement.