Botswana Insurance Fund Management (Bifm) recently conducted a training workshop for its clients who varied from trustees to principal officers of the country’s various pension funds.
The training was a continuing series of workshops, which are in recognition of the critical role played by the trustees of Botswana’s pension funds, and covered topics such as investment principles, asset classes, financial markets and investment policy design.
In recognition of the critical role played by the trustees of Botswana’s pension funds, Bifm ÔÇô as the country’s largest asset management company with over 80 percent of all Botswana’s non-government contractual savings in its care, has over the years used these training forums to empower trustees.
The latest training comes on the backdrop of anticipated regulations to be introduced by the Non Banking Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA), which require that all pension funds to have Investment Policies.
“Therefore to be able to prepare and ensure full compliance with the upcoming regulations Bifm found it well to train trustees on various aspects of investment,” the company said.
The Investment Policy is expected to help the trustee understand the pension fund’s investment needs and is the foundation of managing investments, and serves as a structured decision making process for investment decisions. Designing an Investment Policy will also allow trustees to decide on realistic investment goals and also create a standard by which to judge the performance of the portfolio manager.
At the end of the intensive workshop, participants received a Certificate of Attendance as well as comprehensive course material.
Opening the session, Bifm CEO Tiny Kgatlwane, explained that Bifm was committed to assisting trustees to fulfil their duties effectively and responsibly.
“Our continued commitment to trustee training results from our recognition of how this process can help to overcome our industry challenges while simultaneously enriching the level of communication and dialogue between trustees and those entrusted with the management of Botswana’s savings,” she said.
She pointed out that gone are the days when trustees can point a finger at the asset managers but going forward they also need to ensure that compliance falls into place.
“We don’t expect the training we provide will turn trustees into investment gurus but we believe it will further deepen their broad understanding of the diverse issues surrounding the management of the savings with which pension funds are entrusted,” she added.
Edna Dambe, the training facilitator noted that trustee have to appreciate what is likely to happen in the legislation arena. She said as managers of pension funds trustee need to have an understanding of what they want to achieve, how they measure pension fund objectives instead of using broad based objectives.
“We want them to understand the basic principle of investment, which we believe we delivered today. If trustees have not looked after the interests of that member ÔÇô possibly because they haven’t understood their role – it will be nearly impossible for the trustees to provide an adequate retirement benefit for members,” she commented.