The Financial Services Board (FSB) has commended the efforts of the South African Retirement Funds Industry in ensuring that fund trustees are better equipped to discharge their responsibilities.
Speaking in Durban yesterday on the side-lines of the 2016 conference of the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa (IRFA), Head of Prudential Supervision in the pensions division of the FSB, Wilma Mokupo, said it was encouraging that the industry was looking at global best practice when it comes to the work of trustees.
A research study commissioned earlier this year by the IRFA, and supported in terms of research modelling and survey administration by the FSB, has been key in gauging the perceptions of trustees and getting the industry to rate itself in terms of fund governance and its various subsets. The research, undertaken by an independent research consultant to ensure objectivity, was co-sponsored by the SABC Pension Fund.
Speaking earlier on a panel looking at the results of the research study, Ms Mokupo said the research indicated that trustees need more training on board evaluation, vendor selection, and business ethics.
“Trustee training is part of good governance and trustees need to have the right skills and a moral compass to be able to make good decisions for their funds, in the interests of beneficiaries. The FSB will continue to work with industry in providing the guidelines for minimum training to be attained and retained by trustees”
Mokupo said the FSB was receiving great feedback from trustees on the online toolkit the regulator launched a few years ago. The FSB is now awaiting approval from the South African Qualification Authority for the National Trustee Qualification, which is set to be a ground-breaking move, one of the first such qualifications in the world.
“The goal is to have the trustee toolkit accredited so it can be considered for prescribed learning for trustees. We will also need accredited trainers and service providers to administer the training. So, there are a number exciting developments ahead,” said Mokupo.