Issue: September/October 2006
Editorials

FIRST WORD

Right side of the law

POOR trustees. Hammered from all sides, and now having the threat of personal liability coming atop the arduous duties they’re required to perform as best they can, they know better than anyone how complex the entire area of retirement-fund law has become. Unless they keep abreast of latest developments, they’re a risk to themselves and their funds. With a whole new generation of trustees now representing fund members, the need for ongoing skills development and refreshment is the more pressing.

This applies whether trustees are experienced or inexperienced, whether they are nominated by employers or elected by employees. For trustees are the backbone of South Africa’s retirement-fund industry, commanding assets of perhaps R2 trillion in national savings, and a working knowledge of the law as it affects their funds is a prerequisite for proper performance of their duties.

Help is at hand. From a platform that Today’s Trustee is pleased to offer, pre-eminent pension lawyers Rosemary Hunter and Graham Damant will present a morning seminar – designed especially for trustees, but in which principal officers and others involved in fund management might well be interested, too – in Johannesburg on November 7.

Topics they will address include critical issues raised in determinations by the Adjudicator and decisions by the High Court:

  • Personal liability for trustees;
  • Whether funds’ management boards owe fiduciary duties to fund members;
  • Use of market-level adjusters in determining early termination values;
  • Penalties imposed for early termination of retirement annuity policies;
  • “Secret profits” derived by service providers from the conduct of fund business;
  • Pitfalls and opportunities for “one-stop shops”;
  • The first Shell tribunal determination;
  • Limited powers of the Registrar in relation to reports on the valuation of funds at their surplus-apportionment dates;
  • Limited powers of the Registrar in determining whether a surplus-apportionment scheme is “reasonable and equitable”;
  • Apportionment of “future surplus”;
  • New position of the “common-law wife”;
  • Divorce issues;
  • Use of trusts for payment of death benefits to minor children;
  • Proposed reform of the law on retirement funding.

It’s hoped that this seminar will be the first of several regular updates, as frequency requires, and that they will be held in other major centres. As part of the event, to facilitate informal discussion and networking, proceedings will conclude with an informal lunch.

All delegates will receive a compact disc, containing unique course material, for their exclusive reference. For detail on booking arrangements, please see the separate advertisement in this TT edition and contact Bridget Reynolds on bridget@rgcom.co.za or (011) 325-6006 at your earliest convenience.

We greatly look forward to having you with us, and to providing real value for trustees in their roles of high responsibility.