Anglican Church of Southern African

Pension Board Update

The Pension Boards, chaired by the Archbishop, meets quarterly to oversee the management of both the Provincial Pension Fund and the Layworkers Pension Fund.

The pension fund industry falls under the oversight of the Financial Services Board (FSB) who conducts compliance audits from to time to time. The ACSA Provincial Pension Fund recently underwent such an audit and the following is an excerpt from the FSB report to the Pension Board: “the Registrar of Pension Funds wishes to thank you, the Board of Trustees, for your co-operation and the effort expended in ensuring that good governance is maintained in the administration of the fund”.  Most of these accolades need to go to Mr Rob Rogerson, our Principle officer and to Mr David Griesel, the Corporate Consultant of Liberty Life who see to the day to day running of the Pension Funds.

A backlog of death benefit payments exists due to the difficulty of getting families and/or beneficiaries to fill in the necessary forms. The Board recently appointed Mrs. Marlene Whitehead to assist in the process of tracing and assisting the relevant families. The forthcoming Diocesan Secretaries and Administrators conference will also focus on the prompt submission of documents.

The rules of the Pension Funds are currently being revised and updated and will be posted on the website when completed. Over the years various amendments have been made to the rules of the Fund and this revision seeks to bring all these rule amendments into one document.  The amendments are mainly of a technical nature and do not affect the pensions payable. In addition the 'Member's Guide for both Funds is being revised and will be sent out to all members early in 2010.

Many clergy are, following the global financial crisis, apprehensive about the state of the fund. The anxiety is unnecessary as the Provincial Pension Scheme is a “defined benefit pension fund” - in other words, the risks are carried by the Diocese and not by the members. Every member will receive an annual pension based on a pre-determined calculation: final Fund Salary multiplied by 3.75% multiplied by the number of year's service. This pension is payable irrespective of the health, or otherwise, of the Pension Fund. If there is a shortfall in the fund, it is the Diocese who will have to increase their contribution but there is no risk of any Cleric not receiving their full pension.

In the case of the Layworkers, their pension Fund is a 'defined contribution pension fund' and as such they are very dependent on the Rand value available to them on retirement date to purchase a pension. For this reason the downturn in the economy and the events of the last 12 months directly affect the Layworkers however as indicated in the following paragraph the value of member share of fund has been preserved and the Layworkers remain well placed with regard to their fund.

The Pension Funds have weathered the worldwide financial crisis extremely well, thanks largely to the combined input of the Investment Sub-Committee, the Funds investment advisors, Novare Actuaries and Consultants and prudent investment strategies adopted by most of the Funds Investment Houses. The financial statement for 30th June 2009 shows that over the past year, despite the global financial crises the investment value of both Pension Funds lost less than 1% while the JSE Index lost over 17%. Though there are signs of improvement in the economy, the fundamental causes of the problem have not changed and it remains too early to speculate as to what lies ahead for the Pension Fund investments. For this reason the Investment Sub-committee continues to monitor investment strategy and structure on a daily basis through the offices of Novare Actuaries and Consultants.

Liberty Life are looking into the reported problem that some Clergy and Layworkers have not received Benefit Statements this year. The delay was brought about largely through missing data on contributions received however a decision was taken to print the statements and these should have been received a short while ago.

Every three years there is a statutory valuation of the Provincial Pension Fund. This valuation looks to the health of the pension fund by reviewing the value of assets over the value of liabilities. If there is a surplus of assets then the Fund is said to have a surplus and if the opposite applies then the Fund is regarded as a deficit fund. The next valuation takes place on 1 January 2010 and the results of this valuation will be posted on the webpage sometime after June 2010.

Bishops and Clergy, both in service and retired, are represented on the Board. If you have queries or comments or would like to discuss something with the Pension Board, you may wish to contact your representative:

Bishops, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba, Bishop Mervyn Castle;
Clergy: Revd. Canon Rob Butterworth, Revd. Ruthell Johnson;
Retired members: Revd Canon Louis Banks, Revd Canon Ezra Tisani

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