ANC ‘unlikely’ to use ‘prescribed assets’ to make retirement funds pay for govt spending – ASISA

By Roxanne Henderson

(Bloomberg) — South Africa’s government is unlikely to force retirement funds to plow money into specific companies or projects, an industry body of fund managers and insurers said.

Of the economic plans under discussion to revive South Africa’s economy, none are calling for prescribed assets to be used as a solution, the Association for Savings and Investments South Africa Chief Executive Officer Leon Campher said in an emailed statement.

The African National Congress has said previously it would investigate forcing retirement funds to help fund social development, but the idea has been strongly opposed by investors. Since then, the National Treasury has shunned proposals to instruct pension funds on where to invest. Asisa’s members have urged the government to instead provide the industry with bankable projects.

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“Retirement funds would consider investing in well-structured viable infrastructure projects,” Campher said. “This should not be confused with pumping money into state-owned enterprises.”

While the government may still be considering ways to expand a regulation in the Pension Fund Act to ease barriers to infrastructure investment, this does not amount to prescription and is also not necessary, Campher said.

“Asisa is of the view that the current Regulation 28 provisions do not prevent increased investment in infrastructure,” he said.