Benchmark announces results to members

Local pension umbrella fund, Benchmark Retirement Fund, announced its 2015 results to members of the Fund, at its annual members meeting held last week.
Principal Officer, Kai Friedrich said investments held by the Fund’s members grew by N$345 million during 2015, and the Fund had assets of N$1.963 billion under management for 8 894 members.
Of the 8 894, Friedrich said, 548 were individual members and the remaining 8 346 were members under participating employer groups. The Fund had 134 pensioners who received about N$17.8 million in pensions during the year. Benefit payments, including withdrawal, resignation and retirement benefits amounted to N$366 million.
Chris Tisdall of Allan Gray gave an overview of the impact of ever advancing information technology on the future of the financial services industry.
He noted that the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to model and test financial decisions is growing. Niche service providers may soon apply AI to assist with investment decisions. He illustrated how robo-advisors are performing some of the duties that financial advisors attend to, sighting various web-based service providers as examples, such as Wealthfront or nutmeg.
Talking about the use of information technology in the Namibian context, Friedrich, said Benchmark Retirement Fund currently uses technology as an underpin of its governance, by preserving data and transaction trails. He added that the Fund’s administrator, Retirement Fund Solutions, has made substantial investments in customised systems, and that these are continuously updated in line with regulatory requirements.
He also said that the Fund has in place online reporting to members.
He added that Benchmark’s asset managers have provided consistent investment performance over the long-term, in spite of global market events such as the 2008 credit crunch and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis.
Friedrich said that the Fund has expanded its product range to cater for various needs to the diverse type of members of the Fund.

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