The Africa 53 Pension Trust Scheme, a fund registered and regulated by the Pensions and Insurance Authority (PIA) records a 52 per cent increase in Fund size as compared to the previous financial year.
The increase in the fund value is mainly driven by member contributions as well as positive performance from investments (government bonds and equity). In 2022, the scheme closed with its highest weighting in Government securities (61%), in addition to Equity (18%), and Term deposits (16%).
During the period under review, contributions saw an increase from ZMW 12.2 million in 2021 to ZMW 17.7 million in the current year, whilst total payments to members reduced from ZMW 7.7 million in 2021 to ZMW 5.8 million in the current year. Furthermore, the overall investment income also saw an increase from the prior year ZMW 12 million to ZMW 16.7 million in the current year.
The Pension Fund Board of Trustees Chairperson Mrs Harriet Katongo said as at 31 December 2022, the Fund had a total membership of two thousand one hundred and seventy-six (2176), having commenced with one thousand nine hundred and twenty-one (1921).
Mrs Katongo was speaking during the Annual General Meeting held at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel where she further added that the Scheme had a steady increase in investment returns throughout 2022. At the same event, Mrs. Katongo announced that that Trustees had declared a net return of 22.93 per cent distributable to members for the year ended December 2022, achieving annualized returns above the benchmark of inflation for 2022. The primary contributors to performance can be attributed to equity assets (dividends & capital gains) and income from government securities.
The Fund received total contributions amounting to ZMW 24.3 million which was inclusive of transfer ins from other Schemes of ZMW 6.6 million representing an increase of forty-three per cent from the year ended 2021. The scheme contribution rates for the year were as per the scheme rules of each scheme under the Africa 53 Pension Trust fund. The fund recorded a reduction in member pay-outs even though there been an increase of members separating with employers, resulting in early withdrawals. A total of ZMW 5.8 million was paid out to members as benefits during the year.
Mrs Katongo further added that the Fund Trustees that held office during the year conducted member awareness, through the Administrator, including Pre-Retirement Workshops to help members adequately prepare for retirement. The Trustees also held quarterly meetings as required by the regulation, the Trustees have formulated various scheme policies that are a key governance tool. Mrs. Phyllis M Tiller, who is Managing Director of Octagon Financial Services Limited also advised that they had increased engagements with members over the last two years as a result of the Fund’s member communication policy which endeavors to keep members and participating schemes informed. She emphasized that transparency was key in ensuring that both members and sponsoring employers were adequately informed.
The Africa 53 Pension Fund , a multi-employer fund, which has been operational for over 12 years after its establishment in May 2011 is administered by Octagon Financial Services Limited (Octagon; formerly Alexander Forbes Financial Services) which primarily manages member records (claims and contributions management) and assist the Board with scheme governance matters. The Fund Auditors are HLB Zambia and Investment managers are Prudential Pensions Management.