Benchtest 05.2024 – making hay, the NPF looms, planning your retirement, housing loan risks, unpaid contributions in multi-employer funds and more...

Benchtest 04.2024, the emerging global conflict and Africa, housing loans, the value of the Rand and more...

Benchtest 03.2024 – the resource curse, rule amendments without tax approval, risk benefits and PI cover and more...

Benchtest 02.2024 – offsetting housing loan debt, do we need the ILO for our NPF, new PFA regulations and more...

Benchtest 01.2024 – we need a competing global financial system, risk management, housing loans and co-owners, and more...

Benchtest 12.2023 – another great war looming, employer arranged death benefits and more...

Benchtest 11.2023 – rotation of underwriters, trustee expenses and more...

Benchtest 10.2023, ethics in governance, tax rulings create legitimate expectations, and more...

Benchtest 09.2023 – best practice for retirement savings, provident fund tax loophole and more...

Benchtest 08.2023 – the future of pension fund administration and more...

Benchtest 07.2023 – is RFS really inflexible, the ILO’s NPF Model, Facebook censored in Namibia and more...

Benchtest 06.2023 – direct vs indirect loans, the Consumer Credit Bill and loans, and more...

Benchtest 05.2023 – Is China back in vogue, changes to FIMA standards, the Minister’s FIMA committee, and more...

Benchtest 04.2023 – the National Pension Fund, FIMA standards’ changes, unpaid contributions, and more...

Benchtest 03.2023 – FIMA consultation feedback, the less I know, the better and more...

Benchtest 02.2023 – additional voluntary contributions, changes to FIMA standards, Trust Moneys Protection Act and more...

Benchtest 01.2023 – What is a service worth to you? Insurance policies and the ITA and more...

Benchtest 12.2022 – Access to Information Act, other relevant law amendments, and more...

Benchtest 11.2022 – end-of-year message to RFS stakeholder, the FIMA goes back to parliament, and more...

Benchtest 10.2022 – NAC findings on administrators, tax directives on death benefits and more...

Benchtest 09.2022, RFS logo and name change unveiled, RA’s vs retirement funds, and more...

Benchtest 08.2022 – FIMA and costs, disability benefits and tax, and more...

Benchtest 07.2022 – Will employers discard retirement funds? An industry in legal jeopardy and more...

Benchtest 06.2022, BRF’s new P.O., FIMA and law making in Namibia and more...

Benchtest 05.2022, FIMA changes, late payment interest, governance and more...

Benchtest 04.2022, PFA vs FIMA; legislating around parliament; where are the employers? And more...

Benchtest 03.2022, compulsory preservation; the less I know, the better? And more...

Benchtest 02.2022, RFS’ fees are fair and transparent, Minister’s last chance on FIMA consequences and more...

Benchtest 01.2022, expropriation of umbrella fund sponsors, don’t over-insure, trustee fees, and more...

Benchtest 12.2021, Income Tax, VAT amendments, umbrella funds and regulatory intervention and more...

Benchtest 11.2021, MD year-end message, NAMFISA bombshell, and more...

Benchtest 10.2021, transition to FIMA, no risk benefits under FIMA, brokers outlawed under FIMA and more...

Benchtest 09.2021, not being top performer, joining another fund under FIMA and more... 

Benchtest 08.2021, impact of FIMA on fund transfer, insuring risk benefits and more...

Benchtest 07.2021, FIMA and independence and more...

Benchtest 06.2021, the state of employers’ funds, the Benchmark Default Portfolio’s performance, and more...

Benchtest 05.2021, rapidly rising inflation, which FIMA was approved, and more...

Benchtest 04.2021, FIMA and risk benefits, FIMA and the Income Tax Act and more...

Benchtest 03.2021, Namibia to learn from changes to SA reg 28, Namibia needs ‘thriving private sector’ and more...

Benchtest 02.2021, the demise of fund backed housing loans, survivor benefits from other funds and more...

Benchtest 01.2021, Fiscus will forego N$ 640 million p.a., plans to nationalise pensions industry and more...

Benchtest 12.2020, the purpose of a pension fund, FIMA and hybrid funds and more...

Benchtest 11.2020, MD’s year-end message, the future of stand-alone funds and more...

Benchtest 10.2020, pension funds industry in sorry state, the future of stand-alone funds and more...

Benchtest 09.2020, COVID to save the world, circumventing Reg. 13 and more...

Benchtest 08.2020, Digital Webinars on FIMA, Digital Benchmark AGM and more...

Benchtest 07.2020, RFS celebrates, penalties and fines under FIM Act and more...

Benchtest 06.2020, reassurance on Covid-19, S14 transfers and more...

Benchtest 05.2020, chairperson affidavit impractical and more...

Benchtest 04.2020, provident funds – a time to change and more...

Benchtest 03.2020, Corona relief measures, ITAS matters and more...

Benchtest 02.2020, Corona alias Covid 19, FIM Bill passed through parliament and more...

Benchtest 01.2020, Electronic Transactions Act summarised and more...

Benchtest 12.2019, the back door in the FIM Bill and more...

Benchtest 11.2019, year end message, reckless trading, GIPF too large to fail, fishrot and more...

Benchtest 10.2019, disabled members and retirement and more...

Benchtest 09.2019, prescribed assets are blatant theft of pensions and more...

Benchtest 08.2019, IMF report, provident funds and the IT Act, Benchmark member meeting and more...

Benchtest 07.2019, 20 years of RFS, minors to be expropriated, tax and annuities and more...

Benchtest 06.2019, National Pension Fund Part 7, FIM Bill and Income Tax Act challenges and more...

Benchtest 05.2019, National Pension Fund Part 6, treating your customers fairly and more...

Benchtest 04.2019, National Pension Fund Part 5, pension fund vs insurance policy investment and more...

Benchtest 03.2019, National Pension Fund Part 4, Namibia's debt metrics and more...

Benchtest 02.2019, National Pension Fund 3, Proportionate Supervision, COEs and more...

Benchtest 01.2019, Administration of Estates, National Pension Fund 2, the CoA Return and more...

Benchtest 12.2018, the National Pension Fund, FIM Bill concerns, new CoA report, Admin of Estates Act and more...

Benchtest 11.2018, season's greetings, comments on IT Act changes, Prescription Acts and unclaimed benefits and more...

Benchtest 10.2018, Government should lead by example, smoothing investments returns and more...

Benchtest 09.2018, the role of RFIN, cost of regulation, powers of the regulator, impact of investment regulations and more...

Benchtest 08.2018, a special edition devoted to the FIM Bill and other developments threatening the survival of the pensions industry...

Benchtest 07.2018, message from Managing Director, pension or provident fund, risks of dismissal, conferences and more...

Benchtest 06.2018, are we ready for the FIM Act, RF.S.5.20, RF.S.5.22 and RF.S.5.23 analysed and more...

Benchtest 05.2018, change of guard at RFS, Telecom vs CRAN, RF.S.5.18 and RF.S.5.19 analysed and more...

Benchtest 04.2018, s14 and unclaimed benefits, levies on long-term insurers, RF.S.5.14 and RF.S.5.15 analysed and more...

Benchtest 03.2018, trustee term of office, RF.S.5.12 and RF.S.5.13 analysed and more...

Benchtest 02.2018, new FIM regulations analysed and more...

Benchtest 01.2018, employer participation in different funds, new FIM regulations analysed and more...

Benchtest 12.2017, rather manage your own investments, SSC benefits and tax and more...

Benchtest 11.2017, Christmas greetings, NAMFISA levies, NAMFISA circulars, FIM Bill training, do we need a National Pension Fund, rule amendments and affidavits, and more...

Benchtest 10.2017, new reporting, new levies, a new law for administrators and more...

Benchtest 09.2017, tax and the state old age pension, death benefits outside a fund, service provider rotation and more...

Benchtest 08.2017, regulation hindering the ease of doing business, regulators putting established service providers’ business in jeopardy and more...

Benchtest 07.2017, housing loan interest rate declines, Benchmark breaches N$ 2 billion and more...

Benchtest 06.2017, will Namibia attract foreign investors, tax and payment to an estate and more...

Benchtest 05.2017, Sanlam Benchmark survey, sharing annuity with a child, the future of provident funds and more...

Benchtest 04.2017, switching at quarter ends, RFS staff movements, status of chart of accounts project and more...

Benchtest 03.2017, NAMFISA levies to increase 2,400%, trustees and corporate governance and more...

Benchtest 02.2017, consequences of PN 5 of 2003, does your fund provide adequately and more...

Benchtest 01.2017, paying less can become expensive, member communication, safeguarding your nest egg and more...

Benchtest 12.2016, ERS returns due, owning shares in SA companies, industry chart of accounts, purchase of member owned annuity voluntary contributions, state of financial literacy and more...

Benchtest 11.2016, is RFS really arrogant and inflexible, rules should provide for maternity leave, deducting employer debt, member choice in group schemes  and more...

Benchtest 10.2016, NAMFISA on transfer to insurance policy, tax on retirement from preservation fund, first month end done on MIP and more...

Benchtest 09.2016, smooth growth vs market linked portfolio, who qualifies as a beneficiary upon death, MIP goes live and more...

Benchtest 08.2016, a privacy policy, nomination of a church, resignation of disabled member, preservation should become compulsory, the risk of terminating membership upon dismissal, Industry Meeting feedback, permanent life partners and death benefits and more...

Benchtest 07.2016, trustee term of office rule, payment of remaining pensioner capital, NEEEB vs NIP Act, Benchmark now N$ 2 bn strong and more...

Benchtest 06.2016, a code of ethics, benchmarking fund management costs, the Benchmark member meeting and new products, disability income to be paid by insurers, trustee and principal officer’ fees now subject to PAYE, our safety net, our recent client function and more...

Benchtest 05.2016, regulation 28 compliance, the move towards umbrella funds, a generic ‘unclaimed benefits policy’, nominating a successor to your annuity, new Benchmark product to rid you of your fiduciary duties, tax & death benefits and more...

Benchtest 04.2016, a generic communication policy, NAMFISA powers, vesting scales, industry meeting and more...

Benchtest 03.2016, housing loan interest up again, 45 days to submit SIH returns, a generic risk management policy, the risk of member owned annuities, lump sum death benefits upon death of a pensioner, the role of the principal officer, employer funded insurance policies and more...

Benchtest 02.2016, how not to circumvent the new death benefits tax regime, the Income Tax Act needs an urgent overhaul, regulation 28 breaches require a practical framework, new ERS reporting format, commentary on investment markets and more...

Benchtest 01.2016, a trustee code of conduct, taxation of death benefits, transfer to an insurance policy, study policies, the ‘Cash4Lovedones benefit’, commentary on investment markets and more...

Benchtest 12.2015, commentary on the oversupply of oil, a generic trustee performance appraisal form, the Regulator’s interaction with the industry, recovery of tracing costs circular, reporting due dates looming, the NEEEF and more...

Benchtest 11.2015, Namfisa reporting deadlines, RFS safety net, fund governance and investment policy, dread disease cover, industry under pressure and more...

Benchtest 10.2015, the administrator's job, absence from work, payment by cheque to be abolished and more...

Benchtest 09.2015, where SPVs invest, more on PN5, cheques to be phased out, and more...

Benchtest 08.2015, investment market commentary, joint bank accounts, PN 5/2003 rediscovered, commutation of annuities, new admin platform and more.

Benchtest 07.2015, housing loans present risks, payments of death benefits in a stalemate, Ms Skoppelitus joins RFS board, RFS Exco expanded, 6th annual member meeting of Benchmark coming up, SSC considering new social security benefits and more...

Benchtest 06.2015, our new logos, investment commentary, trustee guidelines to register with FIC, whether a fund should be constituted as a private fund, the purposes of a pension fund and more...

Benchtest 05.2015: investment commentary; the dilemma created for UIMs; the all new Child Care and Protection Act; reviewing the purpose of a pension fund; quarterly ERS reporting in question and more...

Benchtest 04.2015; thought leader or unneccesary product; the life stage model; what was all the fuss about; death benefits, housing loans and tax and more..

Benchtest 03.2015, anger in the pension fund industry, new information on SPVs, new Namfisa reporting requirements, retirement investment guidelines and more...

Benchtest 02.2015, pension fund death benefits and beneficiary trusts, disposition of trust capital upon death of the beneficiary, technical analysis of the draft FIM Bill regulations and more...

Benchtest 01.2015, RFS philosophy explained, Namfisa reporting, draft FIM Bill standards and more...

Benchtest 12.2014, remuneration packages and pension benefits, RFS safety net, S14 transfer to SA, the team to lead RFS, news from Namfisa and more...

Benchtest 11.2014, year-end message, the geopolitics of oil and more...

Benchtest 10.2014, due diligence, tax and benefits, SIH, unlisted investments and more...

Benchtest 09.2014, the PF Act and housing loans, RFS celebrates 15 years and more...

Benchtest 08.2014, investment market commentary, diversifying investment risk, quarterly reporting, unlisted investments and more...

Benchtest 07.2014, Complying with Reg 28 & 29, Namfisa reporting, Abil and more...

Benchtest 06.2014, tax debt and tax directives, Sanlam umbrella fund survey, Namfisa reporting & inspections and more...

Benchtest 05.2014, tax debt and pension benefits, repo rate increases, Sanlam survey on pension funds, Namfisa reporting coming up and more...

Benchtest 04.2014, Benchmark membership until 75, the implications of SA staff being members of a Namibian fund, Namfisa reporting and more...

Benchtest 03.2014, can money be transferred from a retirement annuity to a pension fund, Namfisa is embarking on a new fund inspection mission and more...

Benchtest 02.2014, staff news, news on Namfisa industry meeting, a new reporting template circulated by Namfisa, a new administrator enters the market and more...

Benchtest 01.2014, investment in foreign unit trusts, unlisted investments, payment of unclaimed benefits to the Master, final feedback on Africa Cup of Investments Conference and more...

Benchtest 12.2013, Africa Cup of Investments Part 4, staff news, regulation 28 re-issued with a few changes, PI cover explained in comprehensible terms and more...

Benchtest 11.2013, Africa Cup of Investments Conference part 3, equity markets trending down, PMR diamond arrow again awarded to RFS, more staff pass exams in financial planning, season's greetings and more...

Benchtest 10.2013, Africa Cup of Investments Conference part 2, commodities and how they impact our equity markets and more...

Benchtest 09.2013, the Benchmark Actuarial Report 2013, investing in offshore unit trusts, RFS office closure, news on the National Pension Fund and more...

Benchtest 08.2013, a report on the Benchmark 2013 AGM, feedback on Namfisa industry meeting, new reporting requirements, new pension fund regulations, funds required to now invest a minimum of 1.75% of assets in unlisted investments and more...

Benchtest 07.2013, ambiguous law and unclaimed benefits, investment benchmarks can mislead, Namfisa reporting may sink the pensions industry, has your fund had money invested in First Strut and more...

Benchtest 06.2013, layman trustees to be replaced by professionals? Guidance on how to the apply rules where these are ambiguous, RFS staff movements and more...

Benchtest 05.2013, how do you cost for a service, should you rotate service providers, a change of guard at RFS, developments re National Pension Fund and more...

Benchtest 04.2013, driving down costs and the question of value, legislation affecting pension funds, competitive rankings and more...

Benchtest 03.2013, the Cyprus crisis, the NTA skills levy and how they impact pension funds, and more...

Benchtest 02.2013, RFS and Benchmark reach billion dollar milestones, what to consider before you restructure your fund and more...

Benchtest 01.2013, RFS earns PMR award, what to consider before you restructure your fund and more...

Benchtest 12.2012, two staff members earn CFP qualifications, the new FIA Act and more...

Benchtest 11.2011, company news, changes to Schedule 1 of FIA, changes to Unit Trust Control Act and more...

Benchtest 10.2012, where the industry is heading, costs and trustee roles resulting from new Namfisa reporting requirements and more...

Benchtest 09.2012, a glimpse into upcoming strategic and other company developments and more...

Benchtest 08.2012, company news, the final (?) version of Regulation 29 and more...

Benchtest 07.2012, a new client joins Benchmark, Namfisa industry meeting, two interesting case studies and more...

Benchtest 06.2012, Namfisa reporting, investment regulations, the FIM Bill, latest amendments to the Labour Act and more...

Benchtest 05.2012, latest developments concerning Namfisa reporting, a review of key changes to regulation 29 new forms of land tenure and more...

Benchtest 04.2012, RFS news, new draft regulations 1, 26, 27 and 28, payment of benefits into a beneficiaries account, foreign vendors and more...

Benchtest 03.2012, has increasing complexity benefited pension fund members, changes to social security and more...

Benchtest 02.2015, pension fund death benefits and beneficiary trusts, disposition of trust capital upon death of the beneficiary, technical analysis of the draft FIM Bill regulations and more...

Benchtest 02.2012, Namfisa reporting and withholding tax update, 2011 Retirement Reform Conference notes and more...

Benchtest 01.2012, Namfisa wants more reporting of the same, Allan Gray Namibia Investment Trust to be converted, switching is bad for you and more...

Benchtest 12.2011, withholding tax on foreign services and other changes to the Income Tax Act and more...

<table border="0" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="4" width="440">
            <td align="left" bgcolor="#0071bb" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="2" colspan="6" valign="top" width="440"><span style="color:#FFFFFF;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">In this newsletter:</span></span><br />
            <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Benchtest 08.2017, regulation hindering the ease of doing business, regulators putting established service providers&rsquo; business in jeopardy and more...</span></span></span></td>
            <td align="left" bgcolor="#ffffff" colspan="6" valign="top" width="440">
            <p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Important notes and reminders</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">Tax arrears incentive programme extended</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">The second incentive programme to recover outstanding tax debt commences on 11 September and will run until 11 March 2018. Take note that the Bank of Namibia account number is different from the normal tax account number.<br />
            <br />
            Download the press release from Ministry of Finance, <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/images/blogdocs/0241blogdoc-tax-amnesty.pdf">here...</a></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">Bank of Namibia VAT account number changes</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">Take note that the account number for VAT payments was changed as per notice by Bank of Namibia to the Bankers Association of 15 August 2017. It is now 165060.<br />
            <br />
            Download the letter, <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/images/blogdocs/0242blogdoc-vat-number.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">Is your service provider properly insured?</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">Service providers to retirement funds should take out sufficient professional indemnity and fidelity insurance cover for the sake of good governance. Trustees are well advised to ascertain that their service provider do in fact have adequate professional indemnity and fidelity insurance cover.<br />
            <br />
            For your convenience find feedback from the service providers we have approached on behalf of our clients, <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/images/blogdocs/0243blogdoc-professional-indemnity.pdf" target="_blank">here....</a></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-size: 24px;">Newsletter</span></span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Dear reader</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">In this newsletter we look at more examples where government policy militates against its own objective of promoting economic development through ever increasing regulation, regulator working across purposes and the ease of doing business as the result declining continuously; we question the reasons for NAMFISA seemingly being on a mission to interfere with the free market system &ndash; as it seems the Competition Commission is too, at the same time; we caution trustees to not become too comfortable on our reporting; we suggest that it is high time for the Income Tax Act to be amended with regard to contributions not allowed as a tax deduction; we provide feedback on the annual RFIN conference that took place at Swakopmund in September, we present eye-opening reader&rsquo;s letters&nbsp; and in our Benchmark Monthly Performance Review of 31 August 2017 we contemplate on the impact on our financial markets and pension investments of the Fed&rsquo;s recent announcement of its view on interest rates and bond issues.</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">The topical articles from various media should not be overlooked &ndash; they are carefully selected for the value they add to the management of pension funds and the financial well-being of individuals...<br />
            <br />
            ...and make a point of reading what our clients say about us in the &lsquo;<a href="https://rfsol.com.na/testimonials" target="_blank">Compliments</a>&rsquo; section. It should give you a good appreciation of who and what we are!</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">As always, your comment is welcome, so open a new mail and drop us a note!</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:12px;">Regards<br />
            <br />
            Tilman Friedrich</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 24px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Tilman Friedrich&#39;s Industry Forum</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:20px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Monthly Review of Portfolio Performance<br />
            to 31 August 2017</span></span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">In August the average prudential balanced portfolio returned 0.85% (July: 3.55%). Top performer is Stanlib (1.50%); while Allan Gray (0.23%) takes the bottom spot. For the 3 month period, EMH takes top spot, outperforming the &lsquo;average&rsquo; by roughly 1.10%. On the other end of the scale Allan Gray underperformed the &lsquo;average&rsquo; by 0.93%.</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">Interest rates are on the way up &ndash; tighten your belt and reduce your return expectations!</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">Since the US Fed out the way forward we expect volatility in global financial markets to decline and we expect low real returns on pension portfolios over the next couple of years. We see no opportunity to leverage returns for a better outcome. What is left to us to do, is to reduce one&rsquo;s return expectations, reduce one&rsquo;s draw-down rate if one is already in that phase of one&rsquo;s life and tighten one&rsquo;s belt.<br />
            <br />
            Read part 6 of the Monthly Review of Portfolio Performance to 31 August 2017 to find out what our investment views are. Download it <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/?tab=brf&amp;atclid=838" target="_blank">here...</a></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:20px;">If government was serious about promoting economic development</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">If government was serious about promoting economic development in Namibia it should make every effort to reduce bureaucracy and streamline regulation throughout the government agency web. Unfortunately we are currently moving into the opposite direction where more and more regulators are created and where each regulator seems to be intent on establishing its authority through the tightening of bureaucracy. For the purpose of this column we consider retirement funds to be part of the business infrastructure of the country. The following points in case reflect a regulatory development that undermines the desire to improve the ease of doing business in Namibia.<br />
            <br />
            At the recent client functions RFS and the Benchmark Retirement Fund hosted, Glenn Silverman made reference to this very concern of ours that it becomes ever more difficult to do business in Namibia, with an overwhelming proliferation of regulation, to my mind inappropriate for a developing country. In a contribution published in local media, where he suggests &ldquo;&hellip;Unemployment, and its related cousin poverty, are two areas that must be given the highest priority by the governments of SA, and Namibia. All other priorities should be subservient to these, with creative measures from all sources sought to deal with both.<br />
            <br />
            &#39;Talk is cheap&#39; but action is now needed. A collaborative, well-thought out, inclusive and well-communicated strategy is required. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be the case at present in either country, with more focus seemingly being placed on the past than on the future.<br />
            <br />
            Size matters. As a small country, Namibia needs a strategy to position itself relative to SA, and others in Africa. The lesson of tiny Mauritius provides some useful lessons and guidance. Competitive advantage can be created in the ease of investment and doing business, in lower taxes, in less, less complex and more supportive legislation, along with a supportive and consistent policy environment. Utilizing a country&rsquo;s geography to best advantage, is sensible too&hellip;.&rdquo;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />
            <br />
            Namibia wants to become an industrialised nation. Mauritius did not need to go that route and prides itself with a per capita GDP of nearly twice ours. Do we have what it needs to become an industrialised nation or are we going to destroy the greatest asset we have in the process &ndash; our nature and wide open spaces?<br />
            <br />
            If you missed Glenn Silverman&rsquo;s report, download it <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/images/blogdocs/0244blogdoc-silverman.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:20px;">Competition Commission to investigate retirement funds industry</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">It seems that the Namibian Competition Commission has resolved to join forces with NAMFISA in promoting more competition in the retirement funds industry. Interestingly though, it chose to&nbsp; bracket out two-thirds of the retirement funds industry comprised of retirement annuity funds and surprise, surprise... the GIPF! In this endeavour, RFS and the only other larger player in the private funds market segment, and RFS and three other larger players in the umbrella fund market segment,&nbsp; were served with a notice of an investigation by the Namibian Competition Commission into alleged uncompetitive practices in the pension fund service provider industry. It appears that the Competition Commission took its clue for such an investigation from an article in the American Journal of Marketing Research which comments on &ldquo;The Nature of Commercial Practices in the Namibian Pension Fund Administration Market&rdquo;. The article is the result of a dissertation by a Namibian in cooperation with the Maastricht School of Management. The study claims that &ldquo;&hellip;the Namibian pension fund administration landscape is highly concentrated with 3 administrative firms controlling 80% of the market...&rdquo;<br />
            <br />
            If the Namibian retirement fund service provider industry were to be investigated, it is incomprehensible that the investigation will not cover retirement annuity funds and the GIPF who cover two-thirds of the market, with the GIPF of course being by far the largest player in the Namibian retirement funds market. By our estimates retirement annuity funds and the GIPF together control 71% of total assets and 61% of total active membership (excluding pensioners) of the retirement funds industry. RFS in contrast, controls a mere 11% of total assets and 12% of total membership (excluding pensioners) of the retirement funds industry!<br />
            <br />
            Although GIPF may argue that it is administering the government staff in the fund, it is in fact also offering its services to the wider pension funds market and is competing with private pension fund administration companies, particularly in the parastatal pension fund market and it competes with other private funds that offer membership to quasi government employers.<br />
            <br />
            Against this background I would argue that the conclusions reached in this study are factually incorrect since the study excludes the retirement annuity funds, and the GIPF as largest administrator by far. In fact the GIPF&rsquo;s&nbsp; disproportionately size in the Namibian financial sector should ring alarm bells at our regulators, as it presents a major systemic risk to the Namibian economy in general and the Namibian financial market specifically. There is no competitor in Namibia that has the resources to meaningfully compete against a GIPF that has the added advantage of employing taxpayers&rsquo; moneys to fund its activities.<br />
            <br />
            Considering that the Namibian employer based pension fund market only covers some 200,000 employees, of which roughly one-half is the exclusive domain of the GIPF, the remaining 100,000 employees are covered by 5 administration companies. Considering further that an administration company needs to administer at least 20,000 employees to be viable, Namibia would have 5 administration companies that are all on the border line of not being viable if the total remaining market were to be shared equally between the 5 administrators. This is substantiated by the fact that since Namibia&rsquo;s independence every time more than 3 administration companies were active in the non-GIPF market, one of them closed down its administration operations sooner or later.</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:20px;">NAMFISA out to promote competition in the retirement funds industry</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">As commented in the preceding article it is not only the Namibia Competition Commission that has taken up the cause of competition in the retirement funds market, but so has NAMFISA it seems, and established service providers have become the proverbial &lsquo;sausage in the bread roll&rsquo;. Being a sausage in a bread roll of course is never a good place to be in. The likelihood is that you will be eaten. So instead of just minding your business of being a sausage peacefully, you are now squeezed from two sides that want to ensure that you can and will be eaten and will not be a sausage in due course anymore.<br />
            &nbsp;<br />
            In this endeavour, NAMFISA recently issued offsite inspection reports to a number of retirement funds. Besides a few factual findings that funds need to attend to, the common thread in these reports is that service providers have been serving the fund for very long periods. It is alleged that this fact poses a &lsquo;familiarity&rsquo; risk to funds and the relevant funds are directed to explain their risk management policy in this regard.<br />
            <br />
            I certainly never heard of &lsquo;familiarity&rsquo; as posing a risk to the operational activities of a retirement fund. In fact, we have always been very proud of our long association with most of our clients and believe that our understanding of the business of the participating employer and the fund, our familiarity with the business, has actually mitigated operational risks. First and foremost, our experience and our qualifications have contributed largely to us and our clients appreciating the operational risks of pension fund administration and we make a point of managing these risks based on our familiarity of the risk, and assisting our clients to be appraised of how these risks are managed. Since RFS commenced business, fund structures have become exponentially more complex. The risks this complexity presents to a fund every time it changes its service providers are enormous and probably much greater than the perceived risk of trustees having become familiar with their service providers on a personal level. It appears that this is how NAMFISA interprets &lsquo;familiarity&rsquo; &ndash; i.e. the trustees know their service providers on a personal level and hence they are less inclined to objectively assess the service provided by the service provider, or am I missing the true risk that NAMFISA has identified?<br />
            <br />
            Familiarity on a personal, rather than operational level is typically dealt with in trustees&rsquo; code of conduct. To remain objective and avoid having their objectivity fettered as the result of personal or family relationships, most codes of conduct require a trustee to recognise such relationship and to avoid this fettering his or her decisions. Up to now, this was the thrust of codes of conduct and the general understanding of a fiduciary&rsquo;s independence. In fact I am not aware of any official pronouncement by NAMFISA or any other pensions regulator that aims to encourage service provider rotation for the sake of avoiding too close personal relationships developing over time. The closest pronouncement by NAMFISA is draft General Statement 9.8&nbsp; to be issued under the FIM Act once this become law. This statement however, deals with &lsquo;independence&rsquo; and mainly applies to trustees and statutory appointments by pension funds such as auditors and actuaries. These appointments have a statutory purpose that goes beyond the requirements of the client fund that requires independence of the party they are reporting on. However, even as far as statutory appointments go, it has only quite recently become&nbsp; a topical issue in the audit profession whether or not there should be compulsory rotation of firms that provide such statutory service.</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Of course the typical layman trustee will be intimidated by NAMFISA&rsquo;s directive to review the manner in which this new version of &lsquo;familiarity risk&rsquo; is managed and mitigated, and may just take the easy way out by firing their long standing service providers for the sake of being able to tell NAMFISA &ndash; &ldquo;yes we fired the service providers as you required!&rdquo; &ndash; without due consideration of the genuine risks of doing so!<br />
            <br />
            Is this what NAMFISA wants to achieve? I do not believe so but, this will be the reality and NAMFISA will not take the blame for any ill-considered decision that may prove to have been very costly to the fund and its members!</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">So trustees be cautioned. Before you take a decision on the basis of the recent NAMFISA off-site inspection feedback, make sure that you obtain professional and independent advice by someone who is not in the industry but understands the industry! Personally I am not sure there is someone like this around because the moment you are out of our industry you lose insight and expertise very, very rapidly! And, trustees please take note &ndash; I do not have a hidden agenda, I do have a very personal interest in this matter!</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:20px;">Ever heard of the &lsquo;comfort in a service provider&rsquo; risk?</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">Never heard of this risk? Read on and I will explain!<br />
            <br />
            Talking about &lsquo;familiarity risk&rsquo; in the foregoing commentary - from our own experience I believe there is another risk that trustees need to consider seriously &ndash; call it &lsquo;familiarity risk&rsquo; for the lack of a better description and for reason of its close relationship with the &lsquo;familiarity risk&rsquo; now launched by NAMFISA, but do keep on reading because it is close to my heart and it does concern me!<br />
            <br />
            As a new kid on the block in 1999 when RFS was founded, most funds we took on were actually taken over from another administrator. At the time, many trustees were sick and tired of poor service, poor turnaround times, poor data quality, etc. and were anxious to get out of the claws of their administrator. The fact that we have been so successful undeniably speaks for a reputation we developed in the market. Key to our success I believe has been our expertise and experience, our focus on fund administration and our reporting. In many instances it took us years to sort out the mess we inherited, but we did. Our reporting was designed to support our efforts of implementing and maintaining due risk management and governance for our funds and for boards of trustees who were mostly comprised of layman trustees with very little exposure to and knowledge of the requirements of risk management and governance.<br />
            <br />
            With many funds having come from a frustrating era with poor or no reporting before appointing RFS, trustees initially keenly followed our reports, questioned, probed and actioned where required. Over the years of our tenure however, we find that trustees in many cases have become so acquainted with our reports and so comfortable that &lsquo;things are running smoothly&rsquo; that we are often not provided an opportunity to present our reports anymore! Of course our reports are extensive because they cover everything that is happening in the &lsquo;engine room&rsquo; of the fund. Where the oil level is low, the report would point this out. Where a gear is worn of the report would say so. The meters are all there &ndash; it is left to the board to take the readings and make sure they are comfortable with the readings or take corrective action! Much more time it often spent on investments. But which fund takes active investment decisions? None I know of other than perhaps GIPF so, trustees award full discretion and cannot and do not want to intervene. The only active decision is the decision to hire and fire, but how often can you do this and how often can you do this meaningfully and with conviction?<br />
            <br />
            So here is a true risk! Trustees get all information they need but choose to take the information as a given having developed a high level of comfort with their service provider. Shall we coin a new risk &ndash; the &lsquo;comfort in a service provider risk&rsquo;? If this is what NAMFISA had in mind when coining the new &lsquo;familiarity risk&rsquo; I would be fully on its side! Who wants to live with this risk &ndash; any takers?</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:20px;">The Income Tax Act &ndash; time to change</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size: 12px;">For many years now (since the 2012 tax year) the maximum tax deductible contribution by an employee towards a retirement fund has stagnated at N$ 40,000 per annum, and ever since Act 24 of 1981 was promulgated, no allowance was granted for contributions above foresaid tax deductible limit or for additional voluntary contributions! To make things worse from the taxpayer&rsquo;s point of view, the increase in the maximum tax deductible contribution by an employee has been adjusted only infrequently since 1981 and has never kept up with inflation.<br />
            <br />
            If it were possible to determine, which it is not, it would certainly be interesting to establish how much of the capital in retirement funds today actually represents member contributions that were never allowed as a tax deduction. My guess is that it will be around 25%. This would mean that one-quarter of all tax deducted by government would in that case be deducted irregularly. From the fund average member point of view, he/she is paying away in unnecessary tax around 5% of retirement capital assuming all one-third of all retirement capital is commuted tax free and further assuming an average rate of tax on the unfairly taxed two-thirds balance at an average rate of tax of 30%.<br />
            <br />
            This can certainly not be considered to be fair towards the taxpayer where fairness is towards the taxpayer is internationally accepted as a key expectation of any tax regime. Despite this fact, government believes that for the tax concessions the Income Tax Act affords, justifies that it considers&nbsp; &lsquo;captive retirement capital&rsquo; as a source of cheap debt funding and for the advancement of its socio-economic development objectives.<br />
            <br />
            It is high time that government recognises its obligation towards the taxpayers from a fairness point of view. It is also high time to adjust the maximum tax deductible contribution the taxpayer may make to a retirement fund. Perhaps NAMFISA as custodian and protector of pension fund members should pursue this leakage of retirement capital to... Government!<br />
            &nbsp;</span></span><br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 20px;">Pension fund governance - a toolbox for trustees</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">The following documents can be further adapted with the assistance of RFS.</span></span></span></span></p>

                <li><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Download the privacy policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-09-privacy-policy.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download a draft rule dealing with the appointment of the board of trustees <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-07-ethics-2.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the code of ethics policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-07-ethics.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic communication policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-05-communication.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic risk management policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-04-risk-management-b.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic service provider self-assessment <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-04-provider-self-assess.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic conflict-of-interest policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-03-conflict-of-interest.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic trustee performance appraisal form <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-01-board-assessment.pdf" target="_blank">here&hellip;</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic investment policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2015-12-generic-investment-policy.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the generic trustee code of conduct <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-03-code-of-conduct.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the unclaimed benefits policy <a href="http://rfsol.com.na/images/trustees/trustee-2016-06-unclaimed.pdf" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">Download the list of fund service providers duly registered by NAMFISA <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/images/blogdocs/0232blogdoc-registeredserviceproviders.pdf">here...</a></span></span></li>

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                        <td><img alt="Tilman Friedrich" src="https://rfsol.com.na/images/newletter-images/2015-friedricht.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px; height: 110px; width: 88px;" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Tilman Friedrich is a qualified chartered accountant and a Namibian Certified Financial Planner &reg; practitioner, specialising in the pensions field. Tilman is co-founder, shareholder and managing director of RFS, retired chairperson, now trustee, of the Benchmark Retirement Fund.</span></span></span></td>

            <table border="0" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="1" style="width: 430px;">
                        <td align="left" style="background-color: #7acaff; width: 420px;" valign="top"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 16px;">Compliment from a principal officer</span></span><br />
                        <br />
                        <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">&ldquo;Thanks I.. for the great service always. It is highly appreciated that the service we get from RFS is excellent not to mention the turnaround times. It really means a lot to us as a client. Please keep up the good work.&rdquo;</span></span><br />
                        <br />
                        <span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Read more comments from our clients, <a href="https://rfsol.com.na/testimonials">here...</a></span></span></td>

            <p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:20px;">The RFIN Conference at the Dome in Swakopmund</span><br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;"><em>A summary by Marthinuz Fabianus</em></span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">The Social Security Commission (SSC) at last broke its silence on the long oncoming NPF.<br />
            <br />
            The Executive Officer of SSC Ms Milka Mungunda shared some off-the-cuff information on the latest developments regarding the NPF at a well-attended RFIN conference held in Swakopmund recently. Her public comments where followed by a panel discussion on the practical implications of the NPF which again included herself, Mr Marthinuz Fabianus &ndash; Deputy MD at Retirement Fund Solutions and also a SSC Board Member representing employers and Ms Sophia Amoo-Chimunda a legal practitioner with vast knowledge of the Namibian pension fund industry. The panel discussion was facilitated by Mr Loth Angula of Riscura.<br />
            <br />
            In her public comments Ms Mungunda indicated that the long oncoming NPF has finally dawned on us. She intimated that a policy document that guides the basis of NPF has been approved by the SSC board and will be submitted to the Ministry of Labour. A team of experts driving the establishment of the NPF is for a change dominated by Namibians with appropriate skills in actuarial science, law and investments. She did not provide any detail of what is to be expected, however there were some intimations that were telling and could be summarised as follows:</span></span></p>

                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;SSC is looking at a defined contribution pension fund scheme</span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">There are talks of at least two contribution pillars</span></span>
                    <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">One pillar underpinning contributions towards retirement benefits</span></span></li>
                    <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">A second pillar underpinning contributions towards social benefits (death and disability) as well as fund management expenses</span></span></li>
                    <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">A possible third pillar which underpins contributions towards a re-distributive element of the NPF</span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">&nbsp;It would seem there is a strong position on exempting existing pension fund arrangements from contributing to the first pillar on retirement funding</span></span></li>
                <li><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">However, it was also clear that there would be some compulsory contributions most obviously towards the second pillar and the third pillars of the NPF.</span></span></li>

            <p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 12px;">From the panel discussion, Ms Mungunda intimated that the NPF is now imminent and may come into operation as soon as 2018. Although this sounded a bit optimistic considering that the process of crafting new legislation can be awfully long, it did provide an indication that the NPF may come into operation possibly in the next 2 years.<br />
            <br />
            It also came out from the panel discussion that SSC will be mandated with the administration of the NPF. It is impossible to speculate on the administrative readiness of SSC to take on the animal the NPF is expected to be. Mr Fabianus raised the point that any employer and employee that would be required to contribute towards retirement savings for the first time would find it very painful. He suggested that consideration be given to phasing in the contributions over a certain period (say 3-5) years to avoid adverse social and financial challenges for employees and employers respectively. Mr Fabianus also pointed out that for too long public institutions like SSC and NAMFISA have not optimally harnessed the information at their respective disposal into meaningful statistics to inform decisions on national projects like the NPF. NAMFISA for example will doubtfully provide any information on contribution and benefit levels of all occupational funds under their regulatory ambit. This would have aided the prognosis of the appropriate level of contributions and benefits a NPF should look at and its eventual viability.&nbsp; Thankfully, there now seems to be an acceptance that pension fund models dictated by first world bodies like the World Bank and International Labour Organisation (ILO) have no pragmatic place in developing nations like Namibia. Ms Mungunda gave her assurance that there will be wide consultations and input requested from all stakeholders and one can only hope that she did not merely pay lip service to this important factor.<br />
            <br />
            In the final analysis, there is no argument that the introduction of an NPF if crafted on a win-win basis can have positive socio-economic benefits. It remains to be seen however if the reasons that have dogged the failure of previous attempts to introduce the NPF will be successfully overcome this time around.</span></span></p>

            <table bgcolor="#0071bb" cellpadding="4" cellspacing="2" width="430">
                        <td><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:12px;"><img alt="" src="http://www.rfsol.com.na/images/newletter-images/2017-01-b-marthinus.jpg" style="float: left; margin-left: 4px; margin-right: 4px;" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">Marthinuz Fabianus is Deputy Managing Director of Retirement Fund Solutions. He graduated from Namibian University of Science &amp; Technology with a Diploma in Commerce and Bachelors in Business Management. He completed a senior management development programme from University of Stellenbosch and various short courses including a macro-economic policy course which he completed at the International Training Centre of the ILO in Turin, Italy. Marthinuz has 23 years&#39; industry experience.</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></td>
            <br />
            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:24px;">News from RFS</span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:16px;">New appointments</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:12px;"><strong>Ashley Thlabanello</strong> joined out team during March from Lady Pohamba Hospital and has already endeared himself with his super friendly demeanour to all his colleagues and not doubt to those of our clients he has visited. Ashley is our friendly interface with the outside world in his capacity as company driver responsible for the timely and smooth transition of documents and information between our clients and other stakeholders and the company. We extend a hearty welcome to Ashley and look forward to enjoy his warm-heartedness and effectiveness for many years to come!<br />
            <br />
            <strong>Bonita Uris </strong>joined us from Old Mutual in April, where she served&nbsp; in various pensions related positions since 2006. She obtained a B Admin degree from UNAM in 2004 and now takes care of a portfolio of free-standing funds. Her friendliness will undoubtedly serve her well with her clients and take her a long way in her career. We welcome Bonita and look forward to her making her mark in the pensions industry with RFS!<br />
            <br />
            <strong>Andrea van Wyk</strong> joined us in April as a trainee administrator in the Benchmark department. After she had temped for RFS for a short while, we realised that she had just the right personality and demeanour to fit perfectly into our team and to make in-roads in pension fund administration. We welcome Andrea and wish her well in her future career with RFS.</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">RFS visits Oude Rus</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:12px;">RFS recently visited Oude Rus Old Age Home in Windhoek to distribute gifts to the elderly.<br />
            <br />
            <img alt="" height="254" src="https://rfsol.com.na/images/newletter-imgs/2017-09-ouderus-01.jpg" style=" height:254px;  width:380px; " width="380" /><br />
            <em>Above, two elderly residents receive gift packages.</em><br />
            <br />
            <img alt="" height="254" src="https://rfsol.com.na/images/newletter-imgs/2017-09-ouderus-02.jpg" style=" height:254px;  width:380px; " width="380" /><br />
            <em>Nobody was excluded. Above, RFS Director Frieda Venter had a chat with staff of the home.</em><br />
            <br />
            <img alt="" height="254" src="https://rfsol.com.na/images/newletter-imgs/2017-09-ouderus-03.jpg" style=" height:254px;  width:380px; " width="380" /><br />
            <em>Above, the RFS team on the visit to the home. The visit is an annual highlight on the RFS social responsibility calendar. </em></span></span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:20px;">Letters from our readers</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">Where is the pension funds industry heading?</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:12px;">In the previous newsletter I expressed my personal reservations about the future of retirement savings in the light of government increasing the minimum local investment and the impact of this on future investment returns. Here is a letter in a similar vein from a principal officer of a retirement fund that &lsquo;the powers that be&rsquo; should not simply ignore.<br />
            <br />
            <em>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m also very much concerned regarding the future of pension funds in Namibia, and regulation is not making it easier or perhaps I&rsquo;m paranoid but the fact that everybody wants something out of the Funds is scary and more than ever should we unite and stand our ground. The bigger part of the annual conference just focused on how the government and entities can get pension fund money for every project that they want, I&rsquo;m scared, worried to the extent that I even want to quit my current position because I will not be able to tell the members, &ldquo;your money is gone&rdquo;, there is nothing!.&rdquo;</em><br />
            <br />
            Thank you to the principal officer for raising your concerns through this letter! We would also like to encourage all readers to voice their opinions on pension fund matters so that we can use this newsletter to give at least some publicity to well-founded concern.</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">Reader&rsquo;s comment on the Benchtest 07.2017 newsletter</span><br />
            <br />
            <span style="font-size:12px;"><em>&ldquo;This newsletter, once again, packed with valuable information. It is a paradise for a trustee and Principal Officer who has no choice but to share this information with colleagues, even with friends. Hence, why I usually make use of Benchtest when compiling member communiques because the information shared with us by RFS is just too valuable not to be shared. Kindly note the feedback regarding NAMFISA&rsquo;s last meeting held on 28 July 2017 on the proposed amendments to Regulation 29 under the Pension Funds Act (PFA).&nbsp; Unfortunately, I was not one of the only 3 or 4 pension fund representatives.&nbsp; Thank you Marthinuz for giving us detailed feedback. Take a kit-kat break and start reading...&rdquo;</em><br />
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            Thank you principal officer for your feedback &ndash; always good to read how readers receive our newsletters.</span></span><br />
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            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:24px;">Media snippets</span><br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">(for stakeholders of the retirement funds industry)</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size:16px;">Why is it so difficult to pick a winning fund manager?</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size: 12px;">&ldquo;Past performance is not necessarily an indication of future success, or so the disclaimer warns. And yet, it arguably remains by far the most important factor many investors consider when they choose a fund manager. Research conducted by Fundhouse shows that of those South African General Equity Funds that managed to outperform over a ten-year period, only one in five (21%) were able to do so over the following five-year period. Twenty-four percent outperformed during the following ten years. The main reason for that (when you go and dig behind it) is change &ndash; that the manager or the business or the circumstance that led to this ten-year of out-performance is no longer there. Stats lie. Don&rsquo;t use past performance alone to select funds&hellip;&rdquo;<br />
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            Read the full article by Ing&eacute; Lamprecht in Moneyweb of 1 August 2017, <a href="https://www.moneyweb.co.za/mymoney/moneyweb-financial-planning/why-its-so-difficult-to-pick-a-winning-fund-manager/" target="_blank">here...</a></span><br />
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            <span style="font-size:16px;">Your tolerance for investment risk is probably not what you think</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size: 12px;">&ldquo;Anybody who has ever been to a financial adviser knows the drill. The adviser begins by asking you to fill out a questionnaire, aimed at getting at a key measure: your appetite for risk. By knowing how much risk you&rsquo;re able to tolerate, the adviser knows how much you&rsquo;re willing to lose to get where you want to go. The adviser can then construct a portfolio that reflects your risk tolerance. Pretty simple, no? If only&hellip;.&rdquo;<br />
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            Read the full article by Meir Statman in Wall Street Journal of 10 September 2017, <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/your-tolerance-for-investment-risk-is-probably-not-what-you-think-1505096160" target="_blank">here...</a></span><br />
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            <span style="font-size:24px;">Media snippets</span><br />
            <span style="font-size:16px;">(for investors and business)</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size:16px;">The secret dangers of sitting at your desk all day</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size: 12px;">&ldquo;Keith Diaz, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, and colleagues at five other institutions, somehow managed to convince 7,985 people aged 45 and older to wear an <a href="http://www.actigraphy.com/solutions/actical" target="_blank">Actical accelerometer</a> which measures physical movement and energy expenditure&mdash;on their right hips for more than 10 hours a day over a stretch of at least four days.<br />
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            After a median four years of post-study follow-up, those in the least sedentary quartile (sitting a mean 649 minutes a day in typically 6.5-minute bouts) had a dramatically lower rate of death from all causes than those in the most sedentary group (835 minutes at rest, in periods of relative motionless averaging just under 20 minutes each).<br />
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            Not surprisingly, those who were more active also tended to be younger, have less body mass, and have fewer health issues (diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease) in general&hellip;&rdquo;<br />
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            Read the full article by Clifton Leaf in Fortune of 12 September 2017, <a href="http://fortune.com/2017/09/12/sitting-health-risks-exercise/" target="_blank">here...</a></span><br />
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            <span style="font-size:16px;">JP Morgan slams Bitcoin as a fraud</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size: 12px;">JPMorgan Chase &amp; Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said he would fire any employee trading Bitcoin for being &ldquo;stupid.&rdquo; The crypto currency &ldquo;won&rsquo;t end well,&rdquo; he told an investor conference in New York on Tuesday, predicting it will eventually blow up. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a fraud&rdquo; and &ldquo;worse than tulip bulbs.&rdquo; If a JPMorgan trader began trading in Bitcoin, he said, &ldquo;I&rsquo;d fire them in a second. For two reasons: It&rsquo;s against our rules, and they&rsquo;re stupid. And both are dangerous.&rdquo;<br />
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            Read the&nbsp; article by Hugh Son, Hannah Levitt and Brian Louis, in Bloomberg on 13 September 2017, <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-12/jpmorgan-s-ceo-says-he-d-fire-traders-who-bet-on-fraud-bitcoin" target="_blank">here...</a></span></span><br />
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            <span style="font-size:24px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">And finally...</span></span><br />
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            <span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:16px;">Something to smile about</span><br />
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            <span style="font-size: 12px;"><em>This is from a book called &#39;Disorder in the American Courts&#39; and are things people actually said in Court, word for word, taken down and now published by Court reporters that had the torment of staying calm while these exchanges were actually taking place.</em><br />
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            ATTORNEY: This myasthenia gravis, does it affect your memory at all?<br />
            WITNESS: Yes.<br />
            ATTORNEY: And in what ways does it affect your memory?<br />
            WITNESS: I forget.<br />
            ATTORNEY: You forget? Can you give us an example of something you forgot?</span></span></td>


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