Loftus Ndzinge, chairman of Investec Asset Management, called for skilled development in the pension industry on Thursday, as the portfolio breached the P25 billion mark.
Speaking at Investec Asset Management’s tenth anniversary, Ndzinge said the bulging of the industry “ has created skills gap” and there was an urgent need to develop local capacity to meet the challenges.
“The industry has grown too fast in the last ten years, thus created a skills gap. There is need to build local capacity and local skills,” he said, but also stressed the need for proper and prudent regulation.
The move comes at a time when Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) and its members are clamouring for the non-banking financial institutions and a greater emphasis on trustee education in a bid to give direction the fourth richest institution after government, Debswana and the central bank.
“What we need to do as the exchange and its members is to have a strong regulatory authority. That is very, very important,” Martin Makgathe, head of Motswedi Securities said.
He said a strong regulatory authority, which has the power to take punitive measures against unruly members, would enhance the image of the local bourse and attract the much-needed foreign investors.
The bulk of the pension fund industry is composed of the Botswana Public Officers Fund, which stands at P 20 billion. And indications are that the money will soon reach P 30 billion by mid next year due to the devaluation of the pula through the crawling peg system. The pula eased from 543 thebe to the dollar to 618 thebe over the past month.
Speaking at Bifm, Keith Jefferis said the companies’ strong growth over the 12 months to September this year was largely driven by devaluation among other things.
“The recent micro-economic policy has made offshore investment more attractive,” he said, adding that they had taken a tactical strategy to invest in non-traditional markets such as South Africa and India.
Year-on-yea, Bifm portfolio had bulged 30 percent to P 11 billion helped to fund investments outside the country. The biggest driver was foreign equity returns mainly from technology, media, health and telecommunication sectors. Under the existing regulation fund, managers can invest up to 70 percent of their funds.