Edition: September / November 2017
Editorials

TRUSTEE EDUCATION

New heights

Fully sponsored and independent workshops become increasingly successful.

A decade ago the Academy of the Association for Savings & Investment SA (ASISA) decided to make education of retirement-fund trustees a cornerstone of its learning programmes. It’s subsequently worked exceptionally well.

By the middle of this year, a record number of 317 trustees had participated in 26 Academy workshops. In recent years more than 1 200 trustees have been reached.

Trustee education had for too long been an uncoordinated effort by various entities often for self-serving purposes, Academy executive director Terence Berry believes: “This problem has been resolved. In consultation with our stakeholders, the right relationships have been forged.”

Fully funded by the ASISA Foundation, from sponsorship grants, the independence of the programmes is assured. In partnership with the Foundation and Batseta, the Academy offers workshops across the country on a range of topics:

  • Investment fundamentals;
  • Fund governance and ethics;
  • Responsible investing;
  • Analysis of annual financial statements;
  • Formulation and assessment of investment policy statements;
  • Employee and death benefits.

For even greater impact, says Berry, the Academy aims to become more than a trusted provider of independent learning programmes to funds generally: “We want to design and deliver learning programmes that meet the unique requirements of particular funds and their trustees. The deeper learning needs of trustees in the pharmaceutical industry, for example, would differ from those of trustees of a fund in the mining industry.”

Also, the Academy is working with Batseta on a blueprint for trustees to attain qualification as professionals. This will open career possibilities for them to become independent trustees of several funds.