GRAVY: Editorials: Edition: April / June 2019


Naheem Essop, analyst at the FSCA, breathed fire and brimstone at the annual conference of the Pension Lawyers Association. This new body, different from the old, would put a stop to the corruption that he considers prevalent in the retirement-fund industry. But a few observations:

  • By not identifying the funds and service providers in the examples he cited, they couldn’t defend themselves and the entire industry was tarnished;
  • Hammering away on fund costs, nobody dared challenge him over the effect of government performance on investment returns that have a greater impact on member benefits;
  • High time that the industry began to question whether the mounting levies paid by retirement funds (a component of their costs) provided value for money from the FSCA, just as it should have (but rarely did) from the FSB;
  • It’s a little rich to have a go at the private sector when revelations about the state-owned Public Investment Corporation, the largest service provider of all, are pouring from a sewer.

Neither does it pass unnoticed that, much as the FSCA doesn’t like the sponsorship by service providers of retirement-fund events, it itself isn’t too averse to the practice.

See the FSCA’s three-episode ‘Insurance Apprentice’ series. The episodes have been sponsored respectively by Emerald Africa, Aon and Marsh Africa.

And back to the PIC, perhaps asleep at the wheel.

Each day, titles of Independent News & Media SA continue to be produced. Each day, therefore, the group’s exposure to the PIC must compound.

Difficult as it is to imagine a SA without The Star, Cape Times, Daily News etc, more difficult is to imagine why the PIC allows publication to continue.

George Herald, Jan 10

Only a Van could have produced something so multi-purpose.

CalPers, the largest retirement fund in the world, is disinvesting from tobacco stocks. But it is climbing heavily into shares of companies that produce cannabis.

They’re for buying, not for smoking. Or if for smoking, then not for inhaling.

Onto the board of Sygnia has arrived former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas, as an independent non-executive director, for annual remuneration of R1m. Also on the board is Prof Haroon Bhorat, non-exec chair, for R500k.

Well worth it, considering that Jonas also has experience as former PIC board chair.

In his SONA address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a significant gas find off the Mossel Bay coast.

Funny that, before elections, the National Party government also used to announce a significant gas find off the Mossel Bay coast.

A golfing buddy of Donald Trump told him of a fantastic dream he’d had. In it there was a huge parade, the biggest ever in Washington DC, with millions of people cheering along the route as Donald passed.

“That’s really great!” said Donald. “The best! But tell me, how did I look? Was my hair okay?”

“Couldn’t tell,” replied the buddy. “The casket was closed.”