GIPF Act needs revision – David Nuyoma –

David NuyomaThe newly-appointed CEO of the Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF), David Nuyoma says there is scope to change the legislative framework governing the country’s biggest pension fund,  for it to be responsive to the needs of its members.
He says: “I always believe that we are living in a dynamic society where the rules of the day may not necessarily be the ones appropriate in ten years time. The foundation of the GIPF Act is the 1956 Pension Act of South Africa. “We have to be mindful of the situation that is prevailing today and see whether what is available from a legislative framework and regulation framework is responsive to our needs.
“We have a very challenging legacy, and I say this with all sincerity, not necessarily wanting to pin point anybody, but we have to ask: the 1956 Pension Fund Act was crafted by whom, for whom and why? We have to ask ourselves: is that equation and formula that was used still relevant? I don’t believe that there is anything that is sacrosanct. We must be dynamic, it is the only way we are going to make progress otherwise we will be judged by history.”
“I think it is the duty of the Trustees to update this kind of legislative environment and the rules that may be there. It just goes logically that, if the rules were produced 20 years ago, the circumstances have changed; it is even worse if that was done more than 50 years ago.”
Joining an organisation that is notoriously secretive on its investments, Nuyoma says transparency will be the order of the day during his five-year term. “The way I have always dealt with this issue of investing public money is transparency. It is important that we exercise a good degree of transparency in the context of good corporate governance while maintaining a certain confidentiality if it is necessary. But in terms of what are the investments of the GIPF, I don’t see any reason why there should be any reason for us not to have that public pride,” says Nuyoma.
He told the Economist that he feels privileged to be appointed CEO of the GIPF as this is the biggest organisation from a financial perspective. “Eighty six percent of retirement funds or pension funds are here, 70+% of funds in the financial sector are here and 60+% of the country’s GDP is here so to me it is a privilege to be here and join this team to manage this huge national resource.”
Nuyoma says one of his greatest challenge as the CEO of the GIPF will be to find a way of optimising benefits to members in the context of the resources at hand in a manner that is sustainable.