NSSA investments add value to contributors’ funds

EVERY pension scheme has to invest the money that is paid into it in order to ensure funds are available to pay members of the pension scheme when they become eligible for their benefits.

There is always a risk with any investment. To minimise that risk, pension scheme managers try to spread it by ensuring they have a balanced investment portfolio.

Some of their investments are in property, others are stock exchange investments, while others may be money market investments.
Sometimes they lose money on an investment that fails to meet their expectations.

They may, for instance, have invested in a company that goes into liquidation or have placed money with a bank that collapses.

Whenever a bank collapses, there are inevitably a number of pension funds with investments or deposits in it that are adversely affected.
Sometimes the returns on an investment exceed expectations. The hope of every pension scheme is that overall there will be more gains than losses.

NSSA, which operates the national pension scheme, as well as the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Fund, has to deal with the same risks as any other pension fund or indeed any other investor.

The only difference is that whereas other pension schemes look exclusively at investments that will give them a good return, a small percentage of NSSA’s investments is directed at investments with a social or economic objective.

Moreover, NSSA may sometimes have to make investments that are considered in the national interest.

For instance, NSSA provided funds to a local bank for loans to local authorities, when requested by its parent ministry to do so in order to help these local authorities avert a possible typhoid or cholera epidemic.

NSSA also deposits funds with banks at a below market interest rate on the understanding that the banks will use these funds to provide loans to businesses at below market interest rates.

It does this to help businesses remain viable and grow in the interests of retaining and expanding employment.

When contributors to the national pension scheme lose their jobs, it affects their benefits, since their contribution period affects the size of their retirement pension or even whether they receive a pension.

However, NSSA insists that its loans are secured, with banks being required to provide collateral security for the money advanced to them.

Even though the funds are intended for on-lending, the banks are required to take responsibility for repayment of the loans on maturity.

NSSA’s overall investment portfolio is expected to provide a rate of return that at least matches or exceeds market standards.

Most of its investments are intended to generate average or above average market returns in the interests of those whom its social  security schemes are intended to benefit.

Because of the risk inherent in any investment, NSSA structures its investments carefully to ensure a balanced investment portfolio. As with any other investor or pension fund, some investments may not perform as well as expected, while others may exceed expectations.

In deciding on where best to invest contributors’ funds, so that contributors can be assured of a respectable pension when they retire in several decades time, NSSA is guided by International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines on the investment of social security funds and International Social Security Association guidelines.

It is also guided by its own investment policy and actuarial advice, as well as its own internal procedures.

The structure of its investment portfolio is based on actuarial advice, which currently is that 65% to 70% of its investments should be in real assets, with the balance in non-real assets.

The actual allocation of assets, which falls within those percentages, is sent for approval each year, along with NSSA’s capital expenditure budget, to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Finance. Once approved, NSSA abides by the approved allocations.

A shareholding of 10% or more in any one equity counter has to be approved by both ministries. Likewise, all real estate investments have to be approved by both ministries.

Money market investment approvals are handled by management, with the exception of investments with Prescribed Asset status.

Proposed investments have to be approved at various levels within NSSA before recommendations are sent to the ministries.

Prospective investments are first considered by investment analysts within NSSA, who make recommendations to NSSA’s investment director.
He in turn makes recommendations to the management investments’ committee, which makes its recommendations to NSSA’s board investment committee.

The board investment committee, after considering the management investments committee’s recommendations, makes its own recommendations to the full board, which makes the final decision or, where the investment requires ministerial approval, makes its recommendation to the Minister of the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, who in turn consults with the Minister of Finance.

Figures published recently by NSSA show that while some of its investments highlighted in the media in recent weeks have not done well, others have done well, with the overall result being that they have added value to contributors’ funds.

Investments with a total actual cost of almost $662 million as at January 31 this year had a market value at the same date of more than $701 million.

NSSA’s investment portfolio is, therefore, doing well overall, despite the losses experienced with some of them. Contributors’ funds are secure and have grown. They continue to grow.

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10 Comments

  1. Ahhh this reporter was paid handsomely to do damage control.Hw much so they collect annually and how much do they give to the pensioners.. They are living like kings whilst the people who contributed are destitutes…Social security plays a big role in a pensioners life or before … Take examples of social securitiesin Europe and USA.. They even cater forkids primary education not chitsotsi nemadhiri ariri kuona aya.. Its better not to be part of it than to trust it and become a destitute… Unfortunately the government madeit compulsory to pay those thieves.. In its current state people must be given a choice than sticking to something that will give head ache… Surely i needto be 65 years to start benefiting… What is our life expectance in Zim… They are giving each other zero interests loans… How much are u givingto my old man inMurehwa per month and can he survive from those meagre peanuts.. You are just waiting for him to die.. How much do you collect as remtals from various sky scrappers and Complexes all over Zimbabwe.. Its peoples money and you must tell them… It must not be a secret… The responsible ministry must overhaul everything and copy from other countries how Social Security is managed.. Second a delegation to South Africa, UK etc and let them stay there until they learn how social securityis managed… We have relatives in other countries. If they tell u how the benefit from this fund unochema misodzi and you will realise kuti yesu is reaping us for.. The reaponsible ministry please we need an overhaul before a proper demonstration is staged for those thieves… Zimbabweans are very tolerant but please dont abuse kupusa kana kunzwisisa kwedu…

    1. enlightened pensioner

      @Bledza you sound very uninformed. Its insane to compare social security in Europe and America with the Zimbabwean one. Consider these questions first, when was NSSA formed, how many people and for how long have they contributed that are benefitting, when did civil servants join and how many are benefitting now, how was and how is Zimbabwe Investment portfolio perfoming. Now when was social security in Europe and America introduced and how is it funded. Now compare NSSA with other social security shemes in the region and in 3rd world countries and you will see that its fairying among the best considering its stage.

      On the issue of giving employees zero interest loans its a pitty you just write but have no clue. Check the Parliamentary Debate on this issue and you will get the intersts rates charged to these NSSA employees. Where i work i also get loans from my employer as an incentive to work harder and serve clients well. So these NSSA employees should not be an exception.

      Social Security if you google is not meant to 100% return a person to the level he or she was when still actively employed its jus to cushion. If you check those NSSA employees they also have private pension schemes to complement the national one. NSSA is a social one with that socialism where people collectively contibite to a pool and benefit even one that has contibuted little. Thats why you see they have minimum pensions to benefit those who would have but for the socialism got very little or meaningless. After all NSSA payments are based on Acturial Recommendations. You wouldnt want them to pay Cuthbert Dube pensions to those currently on retirement only for you to retire when the fund has dried up.

      i recommend that you read a little about social security for an enlightened view so that when you go back home you tell the folks the truth.

  2. Bledza, you do not only sound very angry, but too emotional to appreciate the facts presented to you.So a reporter is only good when he says the bad things and when he says something good and factual atengwa.You have been told the good and factual side of NSSA some highly placed people do not want you to know coz they want to use you and your anger to take over NSSA which should be the best managed parastatal in Zimbabwe.Ask Gorden Moyo who was the minister of parastatals, kana Biti chaiye unzwe coz the Ministry of Finance also had a say in the running of NSSA.Hongu there were some bad investments made just like in any business but at the end of the day NSSA made a huge profit out of its investments overally,and that is how NSSA should be judged instead of selecting a case of one bad investment and ignore the rest of the wise and profitable investments.It sounds too personal.Let’s wait and see if the ministries who are said to have been ultimately responsible for blessing the investments made will deny it.We are being fooled by Ministers who are trying to shift blame from themselves to CEOs yet every investment was made with their knowledge and go-ahead.NSSA is well managed and ine mari yakawanda yavashandi kutodarika reserve bank. Mungwarire in your irrational anger kuti if management changes after a few months even the little pensioners are getting kunenge kusisina mari yatorwa to pay salaries for civil servants.And remember ZANU is already preparing for 2018 elections and they need money.Apa pave ne mafactions.The factions are fighting to put their own people in thriving parastatals coz they need the money.There is no politics or campaign without money.When will you wake up , open your eyes and see the REAL truth. You mentioned SA and Britain. This is how it works Bledza. We adopt British systems and South Africa copies the British systems that work for Africa and in Africa from us.You have no idea how our social security system is an envy of many African countries. The difference between our NSSA and South Africa’s stiffling political policies and an ailing economy. And with Britain…I could take a day to expalin why my British workmates ran away from their country.Enough for the day.Let’s be rational.Hongu kune corruption but it’s always wise to have facts before we burst

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  4. U are talkin from hearsay and not from experience you two boys… Une hama ere iri kuwana mari iyoyo and how much.. The fact yekuti yakatanga riini doesnt authorise them to short change those who must benefit..with that short period they have managed to gather a lot of wealth from property and dubious investiments.. Pensioners are suffering whilst their fund ichiitiswa madhiri pataundi… U guys must be employees of NSSA and u are benefiting..u leaving pretty at the expense of the poor former worker..

  5. U are talkin from hearsay and not from experience you two boys… Une hama ere iri kuwana mari iyoyo and how much.. The fact yekuti yakatanga riini doesnt authorise them to short change those who must benefit..with that short period they have managed to gather a lot of wealth from property and dubious investiments.. Pensioners are suffering whilst their fund ichiitiswa madhiri pataundi… U guys must be employees of NSSA and u are benefiting..u living pretty at the expense of the poor former worker..

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  7. I also feel that NSSA is making a killing at the expense of poor ordinary Zimbabweans. With all the investments that they have made, all the buildings that they are acquiring, what is in it for the ordinary worker. Unonzwa zvichinzi NSSA has invested in housing projects kupi kupi, yatenga building kupi kupi kasi mainvestors arikuisa mari kwavari are living impoverished lives. Mari yavanopiwa haitengi chinhu…. For some it doesn’t even pay for transport yekunotora mari yacho. Arent we insulting peoples intelligence with this scheme. This scheme for me is not designed to benefit varikutorerwa mari mwedzi nemwedzi. Maprojects avarikuita nde e for the rich not the poor. I really feel that NSSA investment is a sheer waste of people’s resources, vanhu better vadye mari dzavo kana kuzvitsvakira mainvestments avon not kutambisa mari vachiisa kuNSSA

  8. Progressive Zimbabwean

    Is this an informecial or an advert for NSSA. This is certainly meant to spruce up NSSA’s image. My wife contributed to NSSA since 1994 and when she left her job she wanted to start a project and she applied for a paltry USD5000 which was part of the equally paltry USD5 million NSSA had set aside for retrenched former employees who had contributed to NSSA. Firstly it is an insult for NSSA to expect a retrenched former Manager to start a project with USD5000. Secondly, for NSSA to set aside a paltry USD5 million for employees who actually made NSSA and then go on to invest in elite projects that gobble hundreds of millions of dollars is a slap in the face. If private investors are putting up millions of dollars to address housing challenges why can’t NSSA set aside USD500 million for housing in the next three years and say eligible people are those that contributed to NSSA for a minimum of say five years and are either in employment or have left and are economically active elsewhere. My wife for instance operates a thriving pharmacy but had contributed to NSSA for close to 14 years when she wanted to set herself up. The requirements for the USD5000 were just daunting and we ended up getting 10 times the amount which she has since paid back from a bank. NSSA where are you?

  9. Simple mathematics

    I have just done simple mathematics and i have just seen NSSA may not be stealing from anyone but is benefiting the ordinary person.

    I start working and contributing to NSSA at 21yrs and contributing $24 per month.

    I work up to 60yrs and retire (die or get incapacited) meaning i have contributed for 39yrs giving total of $11 232.

    After retirement GOD blesses me and i leave another 20 yrs, getting at least $60 (NSSA lowest pension) meaning i will have used $14 400 of my contributions to NSSA.

    I die and my family is paid $300 funeral benefit.
    If my wife and children are still alive they will get survivors pensions and or grants. My wife will enjoy this until she dies and my children until they reach 25 years if still going to school.

    During my few years of working im failing to save even $5 towards my retirement.

    After considering the above i think the government did a sterlin job by introducing this social scheme. It will help most of us who would have been caught unaware by retirement, death or incapacity.

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