RFIN Profile

RFIN was established in 1997 with the aim of being an umbrella association of all the retirement funds in Namibia.

1. BACKGROUND

Retirement Funds Institute of Namibia (RFIN) is a company incorporated in terms of Section 21 of the Company Act No 28 of 2004, which is aimed at legitimately representing, promoting and advancing the interests of retirement funds industry in Namibia. RFIN represent the retirement funds industry in negotiations with government authorities on matters that affects the retirement funds, its members and all stakeholders.

RFIN was established in 1997 with the aim of being an umbrella association of all the retirement funds in Namibia. Retirement funds consist mainly of:

  •   Pension Funds
  •   Provident Funds
  •   Retirement Annuity Funds
  •   Preservation Funds

Since most retirement funds are dependent on their service providers,service providers are also considered as members of RFIN, thereby enabling RFIN to act as a collective voice addressing the needs of the entire retirement funds industry, and advancing the overall rights and interests of all its members.

Service providers to retirement funds consist mainly of:

  •   Fund Administrators
  •   Actuaries
  •   Investment managers/ Asset managers
  •   Benefit consultants

RFIN has been actively involved in setting out the key principles of retirement provision for all Namibians. These are: All segments of Namibian population need to be addressed by any retirement provision objective and policy;

  •   Private sector participation in the process is vital;
  •   Continuation of tax incentives to encourage saving for retirement; 
  •   A solid funding and financing system to ensure stability and certainty for the future;
  •   Transparency and member involvement;
  •   Preservation and saving of funds;
  •   Investment of Funds to the contribution of the economic growth;
  •   Contribution to legislation reform such as regulation 28, 29 and Financial Institutions Markets Bill

2. GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT

RFIN is a non-profit company, which adheres to strictformalities prescribed by the Companies Act. RFIN has a Constitution which governs the administrative function of RFIN. In terms of the Constitution its Board of Directors, which composes of representative members of RFIN perform the governance roles in line with industry best practice. The Board discharge its duties through various committees that are accountable for the administrative functions of the board.

2.1 The Constitution

RFIN has a Constitution that was adopted on 11 September 2003, and amended in August 2012 at the AGM. The Constitution sets out the legal function, status and governance of RFIN. RFIN operation must be conducted in accordance with the principles laid down under the Constitution.

2.2 The Board of Directors

Following the 2013 AGM, the RFIN has a composition of seven boardof directors. In terms of article 18 of the RFIN Constitution, the board of directors shall consist of at least 7 persons. Such persons shall be elected from among Ordinary Members of the RFIN of which at least four Directors shall be a serving trustee of a board of trustees of any Namibian registered retirement fund, or it’s Registered Representative, provided that such trustee or Registered Representative shall not be employed by a service provider. Directors shall hold office until the conclusion of the third Annual General Meeting after their election, subject to the provisions of Section 19.
All nominations and election of candidates to the Board of Directors shall be as prescribed under the Constitution. An elected member of the board shall serve for a period of three years.

2.3 The Sub-Committees

The Board discharges its duties via the following committees:

  •   Finance & Administration Committee
  •   Pension Funds Committee
  •   Marketing& Education Committee
  •   Service Providers Committee

The committees perform any duties as delegated by the Board. The committees are accountable to the Board and all reporting shall be made to the Board. The committees have no decision making powers on issues of policy and governance of RFIN, they may only make recommendations to the Board. All the committees operate on a voluntary and non-remunerative basis and meetings are held on a monthly basis.

The committees serve the following functions:

2.3.1 Finance and Administration Committee

The objective of the Finance and Administration Committee is to oversee that controls are in place to ensure that the income and assets of RFIN are solely applied for the investment and promotion of the objectives of RFIN as per the Constitution. The Finance & Administration function encompasses the following:

  •   Human resources
  •   Tracking of strategic goals
  •   Procurement
  •   Preparation of budgets
  •   Monitoring of expenses
  •   Audits
  •   Treasury

The committee is currently chaired by Sepo Lamaswala – Haihambo, with Mr Melki Uupindi as second member.

2.3.2 Marketing and Education Committee

The objective of the Marketing and Education Committee is toprovide guidance to the board in positioning RFIN as the industry representative.This is to be achieved by:

  •   Marketing and branding of RFIN and its industry role;
  •   Facilitating the skills and training to the retirement funds industry;
  •   Profiling the relevant training programs;
  •   Developing communications strategies and channels.

The committee is chaired by Mr Elvis Nashilongo, with Ms Hilya Nandago and Mr Neville Field as members

2.3.3 Pension Funds Committee

The purpose of thePension Funds Committee is to discuss and promote the interests and needs of Pension Funds and Trustees. The committee aims to engage with the members to address the various needs, problems and interests of the members within the retirement funds. This committee provides a platform for retirement fund members to address their concerns through concerted voice.
The Committee is chaired by Mr Gerson V Kamatuka with Ms Bonita De Silva as a second member. The committee may co-opt an external person as a third member. The person to be co-opted must belong a retirement fund that is a member of RFIN and such fund must have fully paid up its annual membership fees. The co-opt member may serve a term as determined by the committee.

2.3.4 Service Providers Committee

The purpose of the Service Providers Committee is to pool knowledge and experience in a combined and equal effort from the service providers in view of imposing the relationship between the service providers and the retirement funds.

2.3.5 Secretariat

The Operations Manager of RFIN is the appointed as a Secretary of all the committees.

2.4 Management

The operational matters of RFIN are conducted by the Operations Manager. The duty of the operations manager is to ensure that RFIN fulfils its mandates and add value to its members and the industry, which includes but not limited to:

  •   Manage the day-to-day operation of RFIN;
  •   Assist the Board in discharging its duties in terms of the Constitution;
  •   Ensures proper implementation of that the decisions of the Board and decision taken at the AGM and business strategies are implemented.

The current operations manager as from 01 March 2013 is Ms Notburga Kutyowa.

3. STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES

3.1 Vision

The vision of RFIN is to obtain self-regulatory status in the retirement funds industry, by promoting and advancing the interests of retirement funds as envisaged in Act, therefore subsequently recognized by the relevant statutory authorities in Namibia as the official and sole representative of the retirement fund industry.

3.2 Mission

RFIN mission is to serveand advance its members interest by protecting and promoting the image of the retirement funds industry throughout Namibia.

4. MEMBERS

As at 31 July 2013, RFIN had a total of 57 members, which members had a total of 180 000 retirement fund members. This represents 67% of the retirement industry. Our members consist of Retirement Funds, Fund Administrators, Service Providers and Consultants.

5. KEY PERFORMANCE AREAS

5.1 Training Session

As per its Strategic Plan, RFIN conduct the trustee training sessions. The purpose of the trustee training is to educate member trustees on their dutiesand responsibilities to ensure that pension funds are managed in accordance with the applicable laws and principles of good governance as well as to ensure that trustees are fully aware of their fiduciary duties in the collection of member contributions, safeguarding and investment of assets as well as payment of benefits to their members.
RFIN had two trustee training sessions per year. The first training is usually a basic training for newly appointed trustees. The training aims to familiarise trustees with the pension fund laws and the responsibilities that ensure. The second training is at advanced level, which focuses more on administrative and financial responsibilities.
RFIN will endeavour formalise trustee training by applying for accreditation from the National Qualification Authority (NQA) on courses offered and to improve on quality of training. In addition, RFIN endeavours to extend its training focus to pension fund members to ensure that they understand their rights and obligations, and also appreciate the essence of a pension fund.

5.2 Information Session

RFIN host quarterly information breakfast sessions for its members. At these sessions, RFIN aims to explore and deliberate issues of concern that need sharing with the industry. At the information sessions RFIN invitesits members and the general public to interact and discuss current matters.
In April 2013, the information session discussed the Individual Tax reduction as per the 2013-2014 National budget and its contribution to saving. At the July 2013 information session, RFIN discussed the Principles of Responsible Investment. At both session, RFIN invited industry representative and general discussion were held with its members.

5.3 Annual General Meeting

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held annually. The purpose of the AGM is to provide RFINs members an opportunity to air their concern regarding the industry. In addition, the members are required to elect board of directors are elected at the AGM is to elect directors in case there are vacancies, to decide on matters for the year as well as note the financial and administration affairs for proceeding and current year.

5.4 Annual Conference

RFIN holds annual conferences aimed at mobilizing members on matters of mutual concern so as to forge a united front towards the development of the industry and to consistently mobilize the industry in the participation of issues of mutual interest. The annual conference is a platform for influential speakers in both the public and private sectors, and the industry to share views and encourage industry stakeholders to make a concerted effort in addressing social-economic issues concerning retirement funds.

The themes of the past annual conferences were:

  2011 - 5th Gearing for a new Regulatory Landscape:

  •   The New Regulatory Framework for Pension Funds;
  •   Non preservation – The impact on replacement ratios and investment strategies;
  •   Risk Based Supervision;
  •   The Financial Crisis and its Consequences on Asset Allocation and Equity Investing National Pension Fund: The Progress.

  2012 - 6th Mobilising domestic savings for economic and social development:

  •   The opportunities and challenges with Regulation 28: A South African perspective;
  •   The transformation of the financial sector: The Financial Sector Strategy View;
  •   The relevance of a mobilised industry for retirement funds;
  •   Unlisted investments in Namibia from Pension Funds and SPV experience.

  2013 - The theme for the upcoming 7th Annual Conference is:

  •  “Housing challenge in Namibia: The role of the Public and Private Sector’’ this conference will look at what the GRN policy is on housing, and whatrole can be played by pension funds in addressing the housing challenge in Namibia.
  •  At this year’s annual conference, RFIN has thus far secured speakers from Bank of Namibia (BON), National Housing Enterprise (NHE), National Planning Commission and also Investment Management Namibia.

The annual conference also provides anopportunity to the service providers to market and network with the industry. Sponsors of the conference receive an opportunity for company and products branding on the conference venue as well as the conference documents.

5.5 Research

RFIN envisage the possibility of conducting research from time to time, and as deemed necessary on complex or emerging industry matters. RFIN conducts research with the aim of meeting the needs of its members and the retirement funds industry on matter that they encounter in their respective areas of operations. RFIN conducts research and source assistance of professionals in various industries.

Currently the anticipated research is:

  •   The risks faced by pension funds in their provision of security/guarantees for their members’ pension backed home loans;
  •   Whether Namibian pension funds that invest in South Africa lose a portion of their dividends due to the application of the dividends taxin South Africa.

6. MEMBER COMMUNICATION

6.1 Newsletter

The newsletter is a valuable communication tool which RFIN publishes on a quarterly basis. The information in the newsletter aims to update members and serve as reading material on matters relevant to the retirement funds industry. The information is researched from credible sources and serves as good reference in the business of retirement funds and the service providers.

6.2 Website

Members can click on www.rfin.com.na to access the website.

7. STAKEHOLDERS ENGAGEMENTS

RFIN represents the retirement funds industry in negotiations with government authorities on matters that affects retirement funds and its members. This involves regular engagement with authorities and government, RFIN has identified the following stakeholders:

  •   Ministry of Finance (MTI)
  •   Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authorities (NAMFISA)
  •   Members
  •   Service Providers

On the 24TH June 2013, RFIN board of directors had a consultative meeting with the Ministry of Finance. The board met with the Commissioner of Inland Revenue and aimed to establish a working relationship to surfaceadialogue and fruitful engagement between the two institutions. At the meeting with the MTI, RFIN highlighted issues pertaining to tax legislation, which issues will be formally addressed by further engagements with MTI.
On the same day, the board of directors also engage with NAMFISA. RFINs meeting with NAMFIS has however been formalised to now be heldbi-annually. So at the meeting with NAMFISA, RFIN discussed the following:

  •   Progress on FIM Bill, standards and regulation
  •   Progress on amendments to regulation 28 and 29
  •   Communication with the industry
  •   Response on questions from the industry about FIM Bill provision on Principal Officers, Removal of trustees, Transfers, fit and proper person; risk based supervision.
  •   Proposed projects on consumer protection, pension funds member education and compilation of industry statistics.
  •   All engagements yielded good results and continuous feedback is provided to our members.

8. MEMBERS BENEFITS

8.1 Key Achievements to date

It is beneficial to be a member of the association to give contribution to the industry in a combined and well-structured manner. Member Funds have accessibility to service providers and vice versa. Information is well dispersed and members have access thereto. Training and support of members is offered. It is an international standard for an industry that fosters the benefit of the economy to be cohesive and organised by contributing to the socio-economic development of the country and the region.

The key achievements of RFIN are:

  •   RFIN has strengthened its relationship with NAMFISA. As testimony to this, the two parties have agreed to establish regular industry consultative meetings. Furthermore, the parties have executed a joint project on updating industry data on trustees and principal officers. This signifies that RFIN has finally been recognised as an industry representative by the regulator on industry level.
  •   At a national level, RFIN retained its strategic partnership withBON, NAMFISA and MTI on national projects such as:
  •   The Namibia Financial Sector Strategy steered by the Hon Prime Minister and Governor of the Bank of Namibia; and
  •   The Financial Literacy Initiative steered by the Ministry of Finance;
  •   RFIN joined the stakeholders’ forum for the implementation of the NDP I steered by the National Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance.
  •   Participated in promulgation of the new Financial Intelligence Act 13 of 2012
  •   Contributed towards the development on the Draft FIM Bill and Regulation 27, 28 and 29 which are expected to be gazette soon.
  •   Information session on UNPRI

The key performance area has been identified for the benefit of the members and the industry. RFIN now has human resources capacity and continue to get financial resources from our members to carry on its noble task. Over the years RFIN received national, regional and international recognition as industry representative. RFIN therefore looks forward in fostering relationship that aim to contribute towards the socio-economic growth of the Namibian people.With participation of all partners and stakeholders, RFIN can achieve more and ensure a safety in retirement savings, investments and socio-economic growth.