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Pension Fund Trustees urged to embrace good governance

The pensions industry in Kenya has witnessed phenomenal growth in the last 20 years with the total pension assets increasing from KShs. 80bn in 2000 to over KShs. 1.3trn currently.

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Pension Fund trustees and administrators have been urged to adopt good governance practices to ensure effective service delivery, viability, and sustainability of such schemes.

Speaking at the official opening of a two-day Pension Trustees Seminar organized by Zamara, Manager of Supervision at the Retirement Benefits Authority Caroline Wanjala asked pension fund trustees to adopt the RBA guidelines on good governance and treating customers fairly.

“The guidelines are intended to ensure that pension schemes are well anchored on robust governance principles and optimal investment strategies to ensure continued growth of the industry” said Ms. Wanjala.

Zamara Group CEO Sundeep Raichura however expressed concern at the volume of current governance initiatives from the regulator and the risk of overwhelmed trustees reverting to box-ticking rather than considered responses.

“There is a clear link between good governance and good scheme performance, but my biggest worry is that the guidelines could become a tick-box exercise and leave insufficient room for effective decision-making by trustees” said Mr. Raichura.

“Good governance is not about ticking boxes.  In the context of a pension fund, it is about achieving good outcomes for members of pension funds” added Raichura.

Raichura urged pension funds to play their rightful role in developing the country. “The pensions industry in Kenya has witnessed phenomenal growth in the last 20 years with the total pension assets increasing from KShs. 80bn in 2000 to over KShs. 1.3trn currently.

With the correct incentives and regulatory interventions, the pensions sector in Kenya can play a significant role in our country, particularly in financing the country’s developmental needs, which include infrastructure and provide much needed financing to industry and businesses through capital markets and private equity financing,” he said.

Participants at the seminar will also review the pre and post COVID investments opportunities and engage with PS Charles Hinga on the Government’s affordable housing program and the new RBA mortgage regulations.

Zamara is a diversified financial services group offering pensions, medical, insurance and actuarial services with a presence in six countries in Africa.

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