With just over three months as the new chief executive, it appears Boitumelo Molefe’s first assignment is ensuring a smooth implementation of the fund’s restructuring process.
Last year, BPOPF acting Chief Executive, launched an ambitious three-year investment strategy with particular focus and bias towards private equity, infrastructure and strategic investment in Botswana. The strategy is expected to create employment and position BPOPF as a key player in the national economy. The fund has been investing heavily in offshore markets because of limited investment opportunities in the local economy.
In an interview with Sunday Standard this week, Molefe said that her immediate priority is to smoothly implement the fund’s restructuring process as well as to implement in sourcing strategy, bringing everything in-house adding that it is challenging because the fund has never done it before.
BPOPF which is the largest pension fund in the country has more than 150 000 members and primarily invests members’ funds in assets such as equity and property in the local market, emerging markets and developing markets. Currently its assets total P45 billion while the total industry assets are estimated to be around P65 billion with P45 billion belonging to the government.
The fund remains with a huge portfolio that is central to the national interest and the national economy. It is one of the region’s largest pension funds with assets totalling P48.3 billion as at December 2014. Of the P48.3bn, P6bn is pensioners’ assets while the balance of P42.3 billion is for active members and deferred pensioners. Until December 2014, 54 percent of BPOPF’s assets were invested offshore while 46 percent were invested onshore.
Molefe says running a pension fund is about making sure that people or members can retire with dignity and that their lives do not change when they stop formal employment. She stated that aims at investing member’s money with growth focus.
“Our members want assurance that their funds are being invested looking at the right risk management strategies to ensure that they get the best growth and yet at the lowest unit cost,” said Molefe.
She further added, “A lot of our investments are done over the Botswana Stock Exchange which is a good thing because the companies generate economic diversification from different companies,”
In addition to the fund investing in bonds and stocks, BPOPF also invests in property as well as private equity. In her new role as a replacement of Ephraim Letebele, Molefe is expected to play a pivotal role in the management of the fund and ensuring the achievement of the funds’ goals and objectives whilst enabling the Board of Trustees to fulfil their governance function.