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  • Benchtest 2019-12

    In December 2019 the average prudential balanced portfolio returned 1.0% (November 2019: -0.7%). Top performer is Nam Coronation Balanced Plus with 1.6%, while Investment Solutions with 0.2% takes the bottom spot. For the 3-month period, Namibia Coronation again takes the top spot, outperforming the ‘average’ by roughly 1.3%. On the other end of the scale Investment Solutions Fund underperformed the ‘average’ by 1.1%. Note that these returns are before (gross of) asset management fees.

    The Monthly Review of Portfolio Performance to 31 December 2019 provides a full review of portfolio performances and other interesting analyses.

    How to invest in 2020

    Based on our above analysis, we see no increase in interest rates for 2020 in the US or in SA, everything being equal, perhaps still another reduction. We believe there is also not much scope for further reductions in the SA repo rate except if SA inflation dropped relative to US inflation or if the US reduced the Fed rate further. The Rand is currently noticeably undervalued. This is probably due to the poor shape of the SA economy which of course is unlikely to improve much over the medium term, particularly in the absence of another commodity run. That also does not seem to be on the horizon. We rather see a slow improvement on the back of a slow improvement in global economies and the settling of the US: China trade dispute. The Rand is thus likely to remain under valued in the medium term. We certainly do not see a rapid correction. Company earnings being as high as they are both in SA and much more so in the US, there is little support of equities deriving from improving company earnings but to some extent by declining interest rates.

    Equities are unlikely to deliver the two-digit returns we have seen in the past in 2020 but are expected to out-perform cash returns slightly, i.e. in the region of 7% to 10%. Since we do not expect interest rates to decline much further, and certainly not to increase, bonds should deliver a return of around 10%, i.e. above that of equities and cash. Property is likely to remain in the doldrums for next year. Our expectations of the returns on the various asset classes for 2020 would suggest a conservative portfolio with a fair spread across global investment markets.

     

     

  • New Benchmark Trustees

    The Board of Trustees of the Benchmark Retirement Fund has appointed Mrs. Malverene Theron as new Trustee of the Fund effective 1 January 2020. She takes the place of Mr. Martin Moeller whose term ended on 31 December 2019.

    2020 01 Theron

    Above: New Benchmark Retirement Fund Trustee, Malverene Theron, offers a wealth of experience to the Fund.

    Martin Moeller's career in banking stretches back to 1967. He was a specialist consultant to the CIH Group. During his time at Commercial Bank of Namibia/Nedbank Namibia he was a trustee of their pension fund. In his various positions during his banking career he honed his skills in governance, compliance and risk mitigation. His fields of expertise include treasury operations, international and cross-border trade, risk awareness guidance and advisory services for non-resident investments in Namibia.

    2020 01 Moeller

    Above: Outgoing Benchmark Retirement Fund Trustee, Martin Moeller, receives a gift from the trustees of the Fund.

    Mrs. Theron obtained an LLB Law degree from the University of Cape Town, is an admitted legal practitioner of the High Court of Namibia and is a member of the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS). She is currently employed as Procurement Manager at De Beers Marine Namibia.

    Mrs. Theron has been involved in a number of professional assignments, including:

    • 2016 Conference Speaker at the Annual Procurement Conference in Windhoek
    • 2015 Professional Management Excellence (PME) Program through Wits Business School
    • 2014 Board Member of NACC (Namibian Competition Commission) - 2 terms (6 years)
    • 2011 Board Member of NAMFISA (Namibian Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority) - 2 terms (6 years)
    • 2010 Public Presentation on BEE for the Economic Society of Namibia
    • 2009 Secretary to Toast Masters International, Swakopmund Branch
    • 2007 Project Leader and Manager for drafting the Empowerment Strategy for the Republic of Namibia - (TESEF)
    • 2006 Organizing and hosting BEE workshop in conjunction with the Office of the Prime Minister and the Department of Trade and Industry - South Africa
    • 2005 Launch of the NPPC (Namibian Preferential Procurement Council) - Chairperson and presenter at the first Black Economic Empowerment Conference, Windhoek

    Mrs. Theron offers a wealth of experience and expertise and is keen to further improve the functionality and offering of the Benchmark Retirement Fund for the benefit of all its stakeholders.

    The Board congratulates Malverene on her appointment and looks forward to working closely with her in protecting and promoting the interests of the Fund and its members in the years to come!

     

  • Early Bird 2019-12

    The Early Bird fund performance indicators for December 2019 have been released. To get an early feel for what to expect of the month in terms of returns on your pension investment, the market gained 3.13% (Allshare Index ex div), ranging between -9.91% (Telecommunications) and 8.61% (Technology). The Rand strengthened by 4.59 % to the US$. Typical prudential managed pension portfolios returned between 3.088% (Old Mutual Namib Growth Fund) and -0.275% (Sanlam Balanced Fund) after fees.

  • Benchtest 2019-11

    In November 2019 the average prudential balanced portfolio returned -0.7% (October 2019: 1.6%). Top performer is Old Mutual Pinnacle Profile Growth with 0.0%, while Investment Solutions with -1.0% takes the bottom spot. For the 3-month period, Namibia Asset Managers takes top spot, outperforming the ‘average’ by roughly 1.2%. On the other end of the scale Stanlib Managed Fund underperformed the ‘average’ by 1.4%. Note that these returns are before (gross of) asset management fees.

    What do we expect of investment markets in 2020?

    Based on our above analysis, we do not foresee a return to a normal interest rate environment in 2020 but rather expect real interest rates to decline further some into more negative territory. Global consumer and investor sentiment should stand a fair chance of improving rather than declining further. We believe locally consumer and investor sentiment is probably as low as it can get with a fair chance of also improving in 2020, just thinking of the early rains we thankfully experienced in parts of the region and a faint hope that the new Escom management may be able to make some progress. We would thus expect global equity markets to show some real growth in 2020. We expect the trend in interest rates to continue downward which in turn will impact positively on the performance of bonds. Bonds should also be able to produce a real return in 2020. Money market rates are consequently likely to decline globally. As the result, the typical prudential balanced portfolio should outperform the money market portfolio and we would expect it to achieve its long-term objective of inflation plus 5%.

     

  • Quarterly reports 2019 Q3



  • Benchtest 2019-10

    In October 2019 the average prudential balanced portfolio returned 1.6% (September 2019: 1.3%). Top performer is Momentum Namibia Growth Fund with 2.2%, while Investec with 1.2% takes the bottom spot. For the 3-month period, Allan Gray Namibia Balanced Fund takes top spot, outperforming the ‘average’ by roughly 1.2%. On the other end of the scale Stanlib Managed Fund underperformed the ‘average’ by 1.2%. Note that these returns are before (gross of) asset management fees.

    The Monthly Review of Portfolio Performance to 31 October 2019 provides a full review of portfolio performances and other interesting analyses.

    Evaluating your investment managers and your investment portfolio

    When evaluating investment managers, the text books will tell you that you should consider the 6 P’s:-

    • the people responsible for managing the portfolio;
    • the philosophy applied in managing the portfolio;
    • the process followed in managing the portfolio;
    • the characteristics and composition of the product or products available for investment;
    • the price charged for managing the portfolio; and
    • the performance track record of the portfolio.

    Of these, only performance is an objective measure. All the other criteria are subjective and require the person who evaluates them to apply his personal judgment in order to reach a conclusion. When one considers performance track record, every expert will tell you that you cannot place any value on this criterium as historic performance gives no reliable indication of future performance and this has been shown to be true by just about every piece of research that has ever been published on this topic, but it is the only measurable criterium. When you consider all the criteria, aren’t you also only looking at historic evidence in any event, even if it was obtained a minute ago – it is history when you look at it and there is no way you can be sure that what you have seen today will be the same you will see tomorrow, as long as you consider anything that involves people.

  • Unclaimed benefits

    A number of members of employer groups have unclaimed benefits in the Benchmark Retirement Fund. They were employees of African Business Investments, Agra Ltd, Brandberg Construction, Gondwana Group, Hartlief Corporation, Hollard Insurance Company of Namibia, Medfam Holdings, Namibia Engineering Corporation, Namibia Nature Foundation Trust, Plastic Packaging, Scania Namibia, Schoemans Office Systems, Tunacor Fisheries Limited, The Free Press of Namibia, Tyrepro Namibia and Wilderness Group. Members should please contact Retirement Fund Solutions’ offices on tel. 061 - 446 000 and present a valid Identification Document or valid Drivers License. If you know a person on this list, please inform her or him

  • Benchmark Actuarial Report 2018

  • Benchmark announces 2018 results to members

    In 2018 the local Benchmark Retirement Fund’s assets grew to N$2.920 billion, up from N$2.744 billion in 2017. Its membership grew to 11 548 members.

    Despite the challenging operating environment and the proliferation of regulatory requirements, the Fund continues to grow, with new participating employers joining the Fund as well as with a growing number of members preserving their retirement capital in the Fund or choosing to draw monthly pensions from the Fund.

    Read the full article here...

  • 2018 Benchmark Annual Report

  • 2018 Financial Highlights

    The Benchmark financial highlights for 2018 have been released and can be downloaded here.

  • Selecting asset managers to diversify risk

    Trustees mostly understand that it is a risk to engage a single manager to manage their fund’s assets within a single investment mandate. But do they understand what risk or risks they face and which one will be reduced through the appointment of more than one manager and what is the correct number of managers to use?

    Read more...

  • Fund membership must be a condition of employment

    We wish to draw the attention of employers who participate in the Benchmark Retirement Fund, to the fact that it is a requirement that all new employees joining the employer after the date the employer joined the fund, must be enrolled as members of the fund. This is not optional and employers affording new employees the choice whether or not to become a member are transgressing the rules, the agreement with the fund and the requirements of the Income Tax Act.

    Employers who engage in such practice firstly may find that the Receiver of Revenue cancels the tax approval of the employer’s pension fund. In terms of the Income Tax Act, membership of a fund must be obligatory in order for employee contributions being allowed as a deduction against the employee’s taxable income. Cancellation of tax approval will mean that the contributions that employees have made to the fund will be disallowed. In other words the employees that participate will be punished for the transgression by those the employer afforded the choice to join and who chose not to join.

    From the fund’s and the insurer’s perspective it is also important that membership is a condition of employment. This serves to ensure that the employees cannot apply anti-selection. In other words healthy employees are more likely not to join while those who know to have a health impediment are more likely to join. As the result the fund may end up with the poor risks undermining the principles of group underwriting. To protect the fund against such practices, the trustees have the powers to terminate membership of an employer.

  • Seven habits of financially healthy retirees

    Seven habits of financially healthy retirees

    Sanlam has provided a guide to the seven good habits of financially healthy retirees. How do you measure up? Click here for the bigger picture...

  • Why preserve your retirement capital?

    Why preserve your retirement capital?

    How you manage your pension fund when you resign will decide your wealth. You may withdraw it, but is that the best choice for your future?

  • Benchmark retirement capital preservation

    Benchmark retirement capital preservation

    When you change jobs, stop working or are retrenched and have to withdraw from the retirement fund you have been contributing to, you can preserve your fund credit in the Benchmark Retirement Fund.

    By transferring your fund credit to the Benchmark Retirement Fund you will preserve it for retirement and will be able to grow it with investment returns.

    Preserving your fund credit is imperative to ensure that you reach your retirement objectives and is a tax efficient way to exit your current retirement fund.

  • Benchmark living annuities

    Benchmark living annuities

    When reaching retirement age (depending on the rules of your current retirement fund), you can invest your fund credit in an investment linked living annuity in the Benchmark Retirement Fund to receive your monthly pension.

    You can join Benchmark Retirement Fund on retirement. You do not already have to be a member of the Fund at that stage.

    The monthly pension can be chosen by you, taking the requirements of the Income Tax Act into account. The monthly pension will be a function of the amount of capital available, the investment returns earned and the period for which you require a monthly pension.

Retirement Fund Solutions

Managed by Namibians. Trusted by Namibians.

Benchmark Retirement Fund

Efficient. Trusted. Namibian.

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