RETIREMENT

Retirement Funds acknowledged for Best Practice

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With Retirement Funds consistently under the microscope, stringent evaluation of awards and the acknowledgement of best practice remains critical to maintaining the industry’s reputation. However, it also comes with a certain level of responsibility - this year's award winners mustn't end up as next year's ‘crisis’ from a governance perspective.

In a bid to seek out and recognise the most diligent of funds, The Institute of Retirement Funds Africa (IRFA) has added categories to this year's Annual Conference Awards Ceremony, and expanded the award levels in each category – both underpinned by a robust judging process.

IRFA has appointed 11 judges, acknowledged as subject matter specialists, who will judge the entries during a two-day session to be held in Johannesburg at the end of July. All entrants will be provided with detailed feedback on their entries, and then during a workshop at the IRFA Annual Conference will witness the best practices that were evident in the judging process.

This year IRFA will also be awarding a Gold Standard for those who excel - achieving a score greater than 75% - and these will be issued to micro, small, medium, large and umbrella funds. The top-scoring fund will receive a "Best-In-Class" trophy.

Zamani Letjane, IRFA’s Chairperson explains, "Attendees at last week’s open day expressedgreat satisfaction at the addition of two new categories, those of best practices in trustee development, and investment. Other positive feedback has been received on the introduction of gold standard awards certificates, with members noting that this will highlight achievements which rank comparably amongst the best in the world.”

Stephanie Griffiths co-moderator (with Kobus Hanekon) of the awards, "We're seeking to encourage a culture of excellence, by encouraging and motivating all our members to evaluate, review and upgrade their fund's processes. The end results will drivea greater understanding of the value of a retirement fund in South Africa."

Entrants are currently submitting to IRFA prior to the 24 July closing date, in one or more of the five following categories:

• Stakeholder communication: Overall strategy and specific project/programme
• Financial reporting (annual reports)
• Legal and technical compliance
• Trustee development
• Investment performance

"Subject to the positive response we have had about our awards, we took the decision to expand further. Retirement funds understandablywant their excellence to be recognisedto retain or assume an industry leader position, but also share best practice and benefit from the insightful process of evaluation that comes from submitting an entry. We look forward to seeing what this year's entries hold," concludes Letjane.

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