AI Magazine Issue 12 2018

Acquisition International - Issue 12 2018 53 The Natal Joint Municipal Pension/ KwaZulu-Natal Provident Fund (NJMPF/Fund) is recognised globally for excellence in governance, investments, treating customers fairly, financial literacy programmes and best practices in retirement funding services. he Natal Joint Municipal Pension Funds/ KwaZulu-Natal Joint Provident Fund provides retirement benefits for municipal employees in the Province of Kwazulu- Natal (KZN), South Africa. Currently, the NJMPF is serving 22,000 activemembers and 8,800 pensioners across 55 municipalities in KZN. In total, the NJMPF membership is approximately 30,000 and includes current members, pensioners, and beneficiaries. The NJMPF thrives in offering superior retirement services and benefits to members, beneficiaries and pensioners. The Fund is responsible for collection contributions, investing contributed funds and paying members upon exiting the Fund. The retirement industry is currently being reformed and is evolving from its previous state, research studies done show that on average, 5% of people contributing to a retirement Fund can retire comfortably. Most of the population end up depending on the state after retirement after having worked most of their lives and contributed towards a retirement Fund. This is due to the large gap between what members pay and what members get paid out. The development in the retirement industry is a way the state is trying to relieve some of the burden and pressure it’s under when it comes to the large number of people relaying on state pension. Some of the challenges that cause the burden on the state are the low financial literacy levels faced by South Africa. The retirement reforms regulations and laws have been put in place to improve the state of retirement in the country. The overall strategy of NJMPF is improving stakeholder’s outcomes, through striving to provide superior retirement service by collecting contributions, investing and paying out benefits to members, beneficiaries and pensioners at optimal levels, the NJMPF uses a more personalised retirement solutions to make sure individual members needs are met. By addressing the specific challenges of the NJMPF membership whilst progressing a change in members’ attitudes and behaviour on money matters. Leadership, innovation and communication enhance interactions with members and increases trust in the services provided by the NJMPF. The Fund makes information more accessible and transparent and comprehensible to all its stakeholders, by understanding the power and importance of knowledge and education and it can be used as a tool to shape and shift behaviours when it comes to retirement planning. The improvement of NJMPF members’ retirement outcomes is concerned with building a retirement Company: The Natal Joint Municipal Pension/ KwaZulu- Natal Provident Fund Investing in the Future T 1807AI28 funding service which achieves a cost-effective retirement administrative platform, welcoming the future through innovation and technology whilst strategically positioning members total value proposition regarding retirement services by empowering members through our financial literacy programme, to make good financial decisions through gamification, competitions and education. When undertaking a new client or project, communication, research, brainstorming and placing members at the centre of decision-making are critical factors for the NJMPF in forming and establishing best practices in achieving value-for- all. Research is always the first step in ensuing that new implementations benefit stakeholders. The mission of the NJMPF is to serve the best interests of the members by ensuring a high standard of retirement services to provide financial security. In order to achieve projected outcomes resource, skill, strategy, capacity, personal and technology are contributing factors towards the success of the NJMPF. This mission is accomplished through the Funds responsibilities, which includes pension administration; the collection, reconciliation and sound investment of contributions through prudent investment risk parameters. With regards to the future, the NJMPF has some exciting plans. Some of these futuristic digitally- motivated plans include the EPIC system which is an online contribution submission system, automates this area of operations and improves accuracy and efficiency. The system will serve as a client portal system, allowing the employer to submit contributions and member information online. The introduction of electronic barcoding ballot system will allocate all members a unique barcode designed specifically for them, which will systematically provide the fund with the member’s details and information. This system will allow the NJMPF to identify each member through their unique barcode. The electronic voting system has been enhanced to include voting via the NJMPF website and mobile app. Members will be able to log into the web portal and click the voting tab to nominate and cast their vote, for their preferred Trustee. Trustees are faced with a greater number of statutory duties and obligations. The industry requires Trustees to make informed decisions, yet it is common knowledge that many lack resources, time and expertise. The Fund, in understanding this, places a lot of time and emphasis on Trustee development and training.