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Zapf congress to focus on asset allocation

INVESTMENT returns and pension fund asset allocations will come under the spotlight next week at the 38th annual congress of the Zimbabwe Association of Pension Funds (Zapf) in Victoria Falls, according to one of the association’s executives.

Clive Mphambela

In an interview with businessdigest this week, Zapf Director General Tendayi Kakora said this year’s congress would challenge the role of pension funds in the development of the economy as stakeholders explored the value that asset allocation decisions play in the delivery of sustainable investment returns on pension fund investments.

She said one of the main purposes of the conference was for delegates to share thoughts on how the industry could be revitalised so that stakeholder confidence in the sector would be restored.

“The introduction of a multi-currency regime in 2009 entailed conversion of assets and liabilities of pension funds from Zimbabwe Dollars to United States dollar denominations.

The low values that emerged have disappointed many active members of pension funds and pensioners. Confidence in pension as a source of retirement income provision has waned,” Kakora said.

The theme of this year’s four day congress is : “Regaining Stakeholder Confidence In Long Term Savings Through Reforms.”

“We have invited four international speakers and we are hoping that delegates will learn from experiences of other countries that experienced hyperinflation and how they restored their economies particularly the financial services sector. Delegates will also get the opportunity to learn about pension reforms currently underway in other countries, especially South Africa,” she added.

Kakora said 300 delegates drawn from pension fund administrators, principal officers, trustees, the investment management and banking industry as well as  the Insurance and Pensions Comission (Ipec) had signed up for the  event.

Recently, Ipec issued a new set of asset allocation guidelines aimed at influencing positive performance of pensions and insurance fund investments.

She said the conference would explore whether asset allocation limits would act as a signal of guidance towards the attainment of this goal. The conference will discuss how retirement reforms impacted on the industry in South Africa, exploring the complementary role of the National Social Security Scheme (Nssa) and occupational pension funds.

Delegates will also be advised on how to set investment performance benchamrks and assess overall fund performance and the determination of bonus calculations.

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