Benchmark Retirement Fund surpasses N$5bn assets

May 11, 2022

Benchmark Retirement Fund (BRF) is now the third largest pensions administrator in Namibia after its assets breached the N$5 billion mark in February this year, The Brief can reveal.

Gunter Pfeifer, BRF’s Principal Officer, said the milestone was a combination of member growth, as well as the new legislation in the retirement funds industry that influences employer companies to move from private funds to umbrella funds.

Pfeifer noted that while it was impossible for BRF, which boasts of over 15 000 members, to predict how pension investments will perform under the current tough conditions, he was confident that the umbrella retirement fund had the right portfolio mix to grow its asset base and strengthen its balance sheet.

“A carefully selected investment strategy needs to be followed to minimize any negative impact,” he told The Brief.

“While the investment portfolios utilized by the members and member organizations are determined in conjunction with their investment advisors and employee benefit consultants, the Fund has made a suitable range of investment portfolios available for the members to choose from. People also need to remember that an investment into a pension fund requires a long-term investment horizon. Although investment returns may be volatile and negative at times, the typical market-linked, balanced investment portfolio has delivered growth more than inflation over periods longer than five years.”

Marthinuz Fabianus, a trustee of Benchmark and Managing Director of RFS Fund Administrators said the proper administration of member investments ensures that unnecessary leakage is avoided.

Commenting on the latest industry trend of appointing Namibian administrators, Fabianus said individuals and organisations were increasingly recognising that Namibia has its own set of legislative requirements.

“The benefit of a Namibian administrator is compliance with those local regulatory requirements. Members and member companies should also benefit from local expertise, accountability, and transparency,” he said.

“Benchmark excels with detailed, regular, and transparent reporting and provision of information to its members. The fund also recently introduced a new communication platform called the Benchmark Benefit Counsellor, which allows members transparent and easy access to their personal pension fund information, fund forms, as well as annual benefit statements. This platform also empowers members to change beneficiary nominations, as well as understand their risk benefit.”

He added that Benchmark has consistently provided communication above and beyond the regulatory requirement, which includes the Annual Member Meeting, voluntary annual actuarial valuations and financial reports.

“The Fund’s growth can, to a large extent, be attributed to the market appreciating this approach. The expected amendments to legislation affecting retirement funds will have a major impact on our members, as we foresee additional upsurge of employer companies moving away from private funds to umbrella funds like Benchmark. We expect the industry to continue to mature, and as a result of this, more and more Namibians will switch to highly focused, expert administrators,” Fabianus said.

Established and administered by RFS Fund Administrators, the Benchmark Retirement Fund was started in the year 2000, at the request of financial professionals, to manage their retirement investments. The Fund subsequently expanded its operations to include participating employers that do not require or are too small to have their own private retirement fund.

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Last modified on Thursday, 12 May 2022 21:40