Botswana Pensions Society (BPS)

Dec 08, 2014
Could you briefly introduce BPS? The Botswana Pensions Society (BPS) is a non-profit making organization registered in 1994 with an objective to promote retirement planning to members of retirement funds and by extension to the general public and to also act as a lobbying body between the industry and policymakers. It is managed by a Committee comprising technically skilled representatives of industry stakeholders engaged in the management of retirement funds and administered by a Secretariat (currently Money Matters (Pty) Ltd). What are your main activities? BPS runs three (3) main activities during their annual calendar:
  1. Member Awareness Seminars provide generic education on the purpose and function of the retirement funds industry. This event is run twice a year in remote areas where access to quality information is limited. It is offered free of charge and is carried out at the full expense of the Society.
  2. Topical Trustee Seminars provide specialist education and guidance on topical issues (including regulatory and legislative matters) essential for the effective and harmonious running of the retirement funds industry. This event is also run twice a year.
  3. Annual Conference, the highlight of the Society's events, provides a forum at which the whole industry comes together to exchange knowledge. Scheme members, service providers, regulators and policy makers attend the conference to share information and improve their understanding of retirement funds from both local and international perspectives.
What are some of your major achievements? A key achievement is the dissemination of unbiased information / education on the manner of and benefits of planning for one's retirement. This information, which is normally presented in vernacular, is well received and appreciated by the general public. Another more focussed and recent achievement has been in the successful lobbying of our Regulator to revisit certain directives relating to investment strategies - seen as too prescriptive for our market and therefore likely to harm the final returns to the members. Could you describe some key challenges BPS is facing? Hugely varying knowledge levels of fund representatives impact BPS communication strategies (e.g. presentations given) at most of the more technical events such as the Trustee Seminar. Industry participation. Despite the fact that BPS represents issues affecting all sectors of the industry we find that the willingness to take up full membership (paid membership) continues to lag behind. This affects our relationship with the Regulator as we are then seen as NOT fully representative of the industry. Fund constraints, emanating from the above problem, impede our ability to develop a fully-fledged independent Secretariat, which could increase direct contact with the retirement funds and offer broader services to the members of these funds. What prompted the decision to establish a Pensions Society? The growth of activity in the industry was the main driving force behind setting up the Society as it soon became apparent that an independent 'voice' that could also research best practices, was needed to protect stakeholder interests. What are the main challenges facing the pensions industry in Botswana? Poor competition, especially in the Pensions Administration area. We have 2 operators in the whole industry thus limiting the competitiveness that would benefit consumers. Investment avenues. Our small market and absence of public / private partnerships does not offer appropriate investment opportunities for the long term nature of the retirement funds industry. This is expressed by our current offshore investment allowed limit of 70%. In what ways can the Making Finance Work for Africa (MFW4A) Partnership support BPS' work? Technical support. Whilst the larger funds have the capacity to develop models suited to their fund structures (including communication, risk and investment) the majority of the funds lag behind in meeting compliance requirements of the Regulator. Running surveys - to ascertain 'real' issues affecting the smooth management of
pension funds
by the people wholly responsible (trustees). Developing (from the survey feedback) generic solutions to reduce consulting costs to the smaller funds. Lesedi Moakofhi currently serves as Chairlady of the Botswana Pension Society. She is also Acting Chief Executive Officer / Principal Officer for Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund, with assets amounting to BWP 46 billion, and serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Botswana Wireless (PTY) Ltd.
Peter Hikhwa currently serves as Deputy Chairperson of the Botswana Pension Society and is also Director of the Employee Benefits Division of AON Botswana.