The Botswana Public Officer Pension Fund (BPOPF) is clamouring for citizen empowerment in the management of pensioners’ money saying that is the only way it can add value to the economy.
The move follows the new advertisement, which came out in local newspapers, looking for portfolio managers in three different categories.
“By virtue of our size, we would like to have companies which Batswana do have a stake in,” the Chief Executive Officer of BPOPF, Ephraim Letebele, said.
“Whoever is going to tender for these mandates should demonstrate the will to have citizen participation because the benefits will accrue to citizens by virtue of their investment,” Letebele said.
POPF is the largest pension fund in the country representing 80 percent or slightly over P 22 billion out of P 29 billion in the country’s pension industry. The fund was established in 2001 and its rapid growth is largely attributed to the good performance of the local asset managers, good performance of the markets ÔÇô both locally and internationally ÔÇô and the response by public servants to define contribution scheme.
Over 84, 000 public servants, out of the 110, 000 people in the country who have pension schemes, have joined the scheme.
“Because we do not have legislation on citizen empowerment in the country, as the largest pension fund we show our wisdom and embrace the issue of citizen economic empowerment.
“And, in truth, I think Batswana should participate in buying stakes in these companies if the opportunities arise,” he added.
The new move is part of the changes brought about by the strategic allocation and investment policy review. Under the revised policy fund managers will invest in various asset classes in a bid to spread their risk.
Among the top issues are the traditional asset classes, alternative assets classes, such as private equity, infrastructure (especially PPPS projects) and hedge funds. They will be expected to invest up to 17 percent on alternative assets while the rest will go into traditional asset classes.
Further, the fund also hoped that fund managers would have an interest in the mining sector which is the backbone of Botswana’s economy.