IRFA Conference 2023 – Initial Concept Thoughts/Information
1.0 CONFERENCE THEME:
“Making it Happen”
Governance and Leadership of Retirement Funds in 2023
2.0 BRIEF SYNOPSIS OF THEME RATIONALE:
Providing information and tools for retirement funds
As witnessed in the past few years, the immediate future will see significant regulatory and policy changes and innovations in the pension sector.
Furthermore, the retirement sector is being called upon to contribute substantially to socio-economic upliftment and development in the country and on the continent.
For many participants in the sector questions arise of what “it” is and what they need to do to make their “it” work – seamlessly and for the benefit of its members and stakeholders
Conference presenters will address the issue of what is working in terms of the new dispensation, and what “it” may be, and how to make it work?
3.0 DETAILED TERMS OF REFERENCE:
During this time, many trustees and employers in particular, have been faced with the task of communicating significant changes to members.
In addition, organisations that support the trustees in managing the operations of funds needed to develop and implement the necessary processes, procedures and agreements to accommodate these innovations and changes.
WHAT HAS BEEN IMPLEMENTED?
Investment Regulations – Amendments to Regulation 28 in Terms of the Pension Funds Act and Exchange Control
Major changes can be summarized as follows:
- Introduction of the definition of infrastructure investments with an overall 45% investment limit and a limit of 25% per investment (for all types of investments not only infrastructure investments, with a few exceptions).
- Ban on investment in crypto assets.
- Removal of the reporting exemptions for pooled investments (Collective Investment Schemes and Insurance Policies) which require funds, administrators and investment managers to provide more information on the underlying investments.
- Reduction in housing loan limit to 65%.
- Hedge funds and private equity fund investment limits delinked. Private equity fund limit set at 15% and the hedge funds limit set at 10%. investments in hedge funds registered in terms of the Collective Investment Schemes Act will be permitted.
- Offshore investments allowed up to 45% of asset value.
Conduct Standard 1 of 2022 (RF): Requirements Related to the Payment of Pension Fund Contributions
The Standard covers reporting and notification requirements, information to be provided by an employer to the fund. Interest rate applicable to arrear contributions and requirements for a fund to follow if it appoints attorneys to collect outstanding contributions. The Standard will be effective from February 2023.
South African Reserve Bank C48 Submissions
Quarterly submissions to the SARB setting out cash flows and assets on a quarterly basis.
FSCA Quarterly Reporting
The draft format for reporting is being finalized. The report will be a combination between the current Schedule IB and the current Quarterly Breach Report. The effective date is currently June 2023 with the 1st report to be submitted by 30th September 2023.
FSCA Discussion Paper: A Framework for Unclaimed Financial Assets in South Africa
The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (“FSCA”) published a discussion paper entitled: Framework for Unclaimed Financial Assets in South Africa.
The purpose of the discussion paper is to promote discussion about how unclaimed assets and lost accounts should be handled in a way that adheres to the Treating Customers Fairly (TCF) principles.
A wide range of financial products and assets, including retirement fund benefits, bank deposits (including foreign currency deposits), participatory interests in collective investment schemes, life and non-life insurance policies, securities, and any investment, return, income, dividend, or other proceeds derived from the financial products, are proposed to be included in the scope of the proposed unclaimed assets framework.
Governance of Umbrella Funds
In December 2021, National Treasury (or “NT”) published a discussion paper entitled “Governance of Umbrella Funds.” The discussion document’s purpose is to kick off a process of consultation with business, labour organisations and interested parties on how to improve governance of umbrella funds, particularly commercial umbrella funds.
The Conduct of Financial Institutions (COFI) Bill
The draft COFI Bill 2018 was made available by National Treasury for comments, and there were various interactions about the Bill in 2021 and 2022. National Treasury is still considering the suggestions, but plans to finalise the Bill and present it to Parliament for review as soon as possible. The forthcoming legislative action will have a significant influence and has to be closely watched.
Draft Revenue Laws Amendment Bill (“RLAB”) of 2022 (“Two Pot Retirement System”)
- The draft RLAB sets out the legal provisions around the “two pot retirement” system.
- The two main concerns giving rise to this proposed change are:
- lack of preservation before retirement,
- some households in financial distress have assets within their retirement fund(s) that are not accessible, even in case of emergencies.
- There will be new definitions in the legislation: “savings pot”, “retirement pot” and “vested pot”.
- The proposed implementation date has been moved to 1st March 2024.
Omni CBR for Retirement Funds
The Omni-CBR is intended to facilitate streamlined cross-sectoral statutory reporting and sets out the types of conduct indicators to be reported on in future by various financial institutions, including:
- Insurers and Micro insurers
- Investment Providers
- Co-operative Financial Institutions (CFIs)
- Financial Services Providers (FSPs)
- Retirement Funds and Retirement Fund Benefit Administrators
Proposed effective date: 2026
Draft Conduct Standard: Conditions Prescribed in Respect of Pension Fund Benefit Administrators
In terms of section 13B(1) of the PFA, the FSCA may prescribe conditions for benefit administrators who, on behalf of a pension funds, administer the receipt of contributions or the disposition of benefits provided for in the rules of a fund (“Administrators”).
Currently, conditions in respect of benefit administrators are prescribed by Board Notice 24 of 2002, published by Government Notice No. 10505 in Government Gazette 23153 of 1 March 2002 (“BN 24 of 2002”).
The FSCA has advised that they are pending the development of the Conduct Standard until such time as the COFI Bill is finalised.
Joint Communication 4 of 2022 | Revised Draft Joint Standard – Cybersecurity and Cyber Resilience for Financial Institutions, 2023
The requirements for governance, cybersecurity strategy and framework, cybersecurity and cyber resilience basics, cybersecurity hygiene practices, as well as notification and regulatory reporting relevant thereto, are covered by the Revised Draft Joint Standard. Specific financial institutions covered by the Draft Joint Standard include:
- Pension Funds registered under the Pension Funds Act, 1956;
- An administrator approved in terms of Section 13B of the Pension Funds Act, 1956;
4.0 KEY MESSAGES
In this year’s conference, we’re going to start looking at the following:
- Is “it” working?
- And is “it” the same for all organisations in the pension sector?
- Or are there complexities and uncertainties that some face and others don’t?
Some of the questions to be presented and debated would include
- What is “it” that needs to be done to achieve the desired state?
- Are all the innovations and changes implementable?
- Who is doing it and who should be doing it?
- Who are the role players?
- What needs to be done for implementation by all role players including Regulators and policymakers.
- Are the innovations and changes developed in such a way that they ensure acceptance by all role players including beneficiaries?
- Consideration of the impact of the past costs, and proposed changes?
- And how do we make sure that the role players are talking to one another, supporting one another, and as always. Ultimately, doing all of this to the benefit of retirement fund members in general, and for society at large?
Specifically, what is being implemented in 2023.