Early in 2019 the Batseta Board resolved to establish a special umbrella fund interest group.
The Retirement fund industry is consolidating and we are seeing significant growth in umbrella funds. They appear to be well run and respected but because they were never specifically legislated for, there are some technical issues that require attention.
In the interests of all the stakeholders we represent, Batseta wishes to make sure that this development takes place on a sound and structured basis and that the interests of our members are properly served.
First Phase: Commercial Umbrella Funds
We engaged with the 10 largest commercial umbrella funds and together with the FSCA and agreed on a high-level strategy going forward. This strategy will help ensure that new legislation such as the COFI Act and the conduct standards to be issued with the various types of retirement funds will be able to regulate them effectively.
As part of this initiative we established the Batseta Umbrella Forum. The forum will consist of a discussion forum where all interested parties can discuss and consider solutions to their more pressing operational issues and reach consensus on the way forward.
It will also consist of a consulting forum to facilitate a process in terms of which this industry can engage with Batseta as well as the authorities and help formulate required changes to the legislation and the content of future conduct standards.
At the Batseta Conference which took place on 10 June 2019, we provided stakeholders with an overview of our strategies and action plans.
The inaugural sessions of the Batseta Umbrella Discussion Forums took place in Sandton and Cape Town on 23 and 24 July 2019 respectively. These meetings were very well attended and the terms of engagement and the high-level strategies presented received overwhelming support. A steering committee was appointed for each region. They will help arrange the agenda and the speakers for the next sessions and will assist with the formulation of concerns and strategies they wish to be added to the agenda for discussion with authorities.
Batseta Project Leader
Batseta Umbrella Forum Committee Gauteng
Liberty Corporate Umbrella
Alexander Forbes Retirement Fund
FNB Umbrella Fund
Batseta Umbrella Forum Committee Cape Town
NMG Umbrella Fund
Sygnia Umbrella Fund
Prescient Umbrella Fund
Allan Gray Umbrella Fund
While this discussion forum will be run by the POs, trustees and sponsors of commercial umbrella funds, all persons who have an interest in commercial umbrella funds will be invited to attend meetings as observers. The Umbrella Discussion Forum will seek to cooperate and not compete with other industry bodies. We extended a standing invitation to the FSCA, ASISA, the IRFA and other bodies to attend these meetings and contribute.
Second Phase: Non-Commercial Umbrella Funds other commercial funds
The task team is in the process of arranging similar forums for union and bargaining council umbrella funds (Non-Commercial Umbrella Funds). Based on our research however, there appears to be an equally big need for a forum for all other commercial funds (funds other than umbrella funds) such as preservation funds (unclaimed benefit funds), retirement annuity funds and beneficiary funds. The dates identified for these forum meeting are set out below.
We are very mindful of the fact that while these funds have a great deal in common, there are significant differences between them. It is for this reason that the Batseta Board resolved that separate forum meetings be held to allow each forum to consider the need for and the likely objectives of such a forum. Once this has been resolved we will facilitate a joint session where participants can consider the pro and cons of a joint forum, possibly with subcommittees that can attend to the unique interests of the various types of funds.