Edition: November 2018/January 2019

The Public Investment Corporation still doesn’t disclose the identities of the external asset managers it uses. The latest PIC annual report once again lists only the “BEE asset managers” appointed since April 2014, with various details of their assets under management, but doesn’t give their names. This, says the report, is for reasons of confidentiality.

It’s a curious thing. The 2017 report of the Government Employees Pension Fund, whose assets are managed primarily by the PIC, lists all 23 external asset managers appointed by the PIC to manage part of its portfolio.

The 23 named by the GEPF contrasts with the 13 “BEE asset managers” numbered by the PIC. Neither by name nor number does the PIC list other external managers who don’t qualify for its BEE criteria of 51% black ownership and 30% management control.

Like the GEPF, the Eskom Pension & Provident Fund discloses all its external asset managers (24 domestic and 10 international) by name. Which begs the obvious question of why the PIC considers such information to be confidential.

It’s a question that the inquiry into the PIC might ask.

The remarks of new-appointed finance minister Tito Mboweni, to the conference of the Association of Black Securities & Investment Professionals in October, took the form more of a chat than a presentation. So informal was it that there’s no formal transcript.

This makes his comments no less relevant, particularly for his observations on land expropriation (agriculture in Tzaneen) and a state bank (lessons from VBS). Against all the analysis of his pre-ministerial tweets, they’re illuminating.

In these troubled times, check ‘Mboweni Absip’ on YouTube for a little lift.

Also worth checking, if for no reason other than to get a sense of job attractiveness in the new Financial Sector Conduct Authority, is the remuneration of officials in the last year of the old Financial Services Board.

Top is executive officer Dube Tshidi. He got R7,3m (inclusive of a R900k incentive bonus and R762k leave commutation). Second from the top is deputy executive officer Jurgen Boyd. He got R4,3m (inclusive of a R461k incentive bonus).

Against what benchmarks are these remuneration levels (ultimately paid by such regulated entities as pension funds) measured? They’re multiples even of ministers, judges and senior civil servants.

But doubtless worth it, given their extraordinary service. At these levels, there should be floods of applicants for FSCA positions. The appointment of a commissioner is still awaited.

A cutting from The Star in 2006 serves as a reminder that Tshidi then expressed the commitment of the FSB to resolve the anguish of unclaimed benefits. “The FSB has contacted all pension funds and has created a database from 967 funds which indicate that 135 479 members are owed about R970m,” he said.

Maybe someday the FSCA will succeed. Latest estimates, in the FSB annual report, are R42,2bn for 4,5m members in 1 141 funds.

In the 1980s the National Party government spent huge amounts of public money to protect Eskom operations from ANC sabotage.

Maybe it worked then.

As if all the changes in street names weren’t difficult enough.