SUNBIZ

Big Changes For FNPF Board End Of The Month

The board terms for the current chairman Ajith Kodagoda and deputy chairman Tevita Kuruvakadua ends this month.
02 Jan 2020 12:15
Big Changes For FNPF Board End Of The Month
Fiji National Provident Fund board members, Front seated from left: Permanent Secretary for Economy Makereta Konrote and Board Member and Head of Administration & Finance for GIZ Kalpana Lal. Standing from left: FNPF board member and Fiji Competition and Consumer Commission chief executive Joel Abraham, Board chairman, Ajith Kodagoda and Deputy chairman and iTaukei Land Trust Board chief executive officer Tevita Kuruvakadua. Photo: Fiji National Provident Fund

At the end of the month, there will be some changes in directorship at the Fiji National Provident Fund (FNPF) board level.

So the question is, who will be the next FNPF board chairman and deputy chairman?

These are big shoes to fill considering the last 10 years where the ‘need to reform FNPF was imminent and the burden also overwhelming!’

The board terms for the current chairman Ajith Kodagoda and deputy chairman Tevita Kuruvakadua ends this month.

Term limits as per the Fiji National Provident Fund Act 2011 :

A Board member holds office for—

(a) Four years from the date of his or her appointment; or

(b) if a shorter period is specified in the instrument of appointment—that shorter period; but maybe re-appointed in accordance with this Act.

(2) A person may not hold office as a Board member for more than two consecutive terms.

However, a person who has held office as a Board member for two consecutive terms may be reappointed, in accordance with this Act, after two years after ceasing to hold office as a Board member.

  • Mr Kodagoda has been a member since June 2009. He is a member of the Board Investment Committee.
  • Also Board Chairman Fiji Revenue & Customs Service (FRCS), Amalgamated Telecom Holding Pte Ltd (ATH), & Vodafone Fiji Pte Ltd.
  • Director Fiji International Telecommunication Pte Ltd (FINTEL), Home Finance Pte Ltd (HFC).
  • Chairman of Biosecurity Authority and Member of the Constitutional Offices Commission.
  • Mr Kuruvakadua is the FNPF board deputy chairman.
  • Board member since January 2010, Mr Kuruvakadua is the iTaukei Land Trust Board (TLTB) chief executive officer.
  • He is the chairman Board Audit & Risk Committee, chairman Board Information Technology Committee and chairman of Board Investment Committee.
  • Board Member at Reserve Bank of Fiji (RBF), Fiji Sugar Corporation (FSC) and Momi Bay Resort Pte Ltd (MBRL).

Board activities

Sanjay Kaba resigned from the board in December 2018.

The board welcomed two new directors in Kalpana Lal and Joel Abraham in April, 2019.

The board and management thanked Mr Kaba for his immense contribution to the growth and development of the Fund during his tenure as director.

Ms Lal and Mr Abraham were appointed following a proper selection process that involved background checks to ensure they were the right fit for the role.

In addition to possessing the desired competencies, skills, experience, and independence identified in the board’s ongoing succession planning, Ms Lal and Mr Abraham also demonstrated commitment to the governance standards that the Fund holds with high regard.

Achievements

During Mr Kodagoda’s term, FNPF registered another remarkable year of achievements despite ongoing challenges in the operating environment.

The Fund is now on a much stronger financial footing with the separation of business between the member Fund and Retirement Income Fund. These changes were introduced during the Reform, through the complete overhaul of the FNPF Act in 2011.

The end of the financial year on 30 June 2019, also marked the first decade of the Fund’s Reform journey.

In the FNPF annual report 2019, he stated upon reflection, they can confidently say that the reform was successful in addressing long-term sustainability and resetting a strong foundation for the Fund’s future.

“The Fund’s core governance and operating structure has been changed and the operating and financial metrics are headed in the right direction.

“We have a stronger sense of purpose as we acknowledge the Fund’s role in Social Security.”

The integration of the Fund’s systems and processes through the organisation restructure and digital transformation have been successful, while they continue to identify areas of improvement.

In 2019, they delivered financial results that have exceeded targets.

The Fund declared an annual interest rate of 6.75 per cent with the crediting of $353 million to over 379,000 members.

This is the highest amount credited to members so far with over $1.37 billion in interest credited to members in the last five years.

As Chairman, he should be proud for another exceptional year, especially after the first 10 years as a reformed institution.

Significant changes

Given the significant changes from the reform, the Fund now has a solid platform to leverage into the future.

“We have collectively acknowledged the need to strengthen our role in social security for FNPF members during their work life and in retirement,” Mr Kodagoda said.

“The Fund will undoubtedly continue to play a critical role in the lives of our members.

An individual’s FNPF savings, has been (to most Fijian families) the silver-lining providing:

  • the opportunities for property ownership,
  • attaining suitable qualifications,
  • alleviating old-age poverty
  • and for immediate financial relief during unexpected events such as natural disasters, unemployment, illnesses and death.

Setting the course for our Members

The Fund must fulfill the ultimate aim for members to save enough money to live on after retirement.

As at 30 June 2019, 69 per cent of members had balances below $10,000.

Mr Kodagoda highlighted:

The Fund will continue to work progressively towards achieving our purpose in the lives of our members through meaningful balances for retirement and beyond.

The continuous review of our framework and policies to ensure members save for retirement as a certainty of life continues to be at the forefront of the Fund’s objectives.

Workers in the informal sector have not been included in the legislative provisions for membership with FNPF and the Fund will continue to explore options and roll out initiatives to make retirement savings more attractive and inclusive for workers in the informal sector.

Investment Diversification

The Fund has progressed significantly in pursuing an active investment growth strategy that balances risks and returns and provides sustainable income allowing the Fund to take advantage of growth through both income yield and capital appreciation.

This has been evident through the current revaluation gains experienced in the past two years.

The resetting of the long-term asset allocation strategy to 40 per cent defensive assets and 60 per cent growth asset has seen the successful diversification of investment with asset allocation now at 68 per cent Fixed income and 32 per cent growth.

Mr Kodagoda said: “In the coming years, we may use an active approach to asset allocation that allows us to take advantage of market conditions by temporarily increasing or decreasing our exposure to a particular asset class.

“This can help shield investments from the risks of being over-exposed to expensive markets and add additional incremental returns by increasing exposures to asset classes when they are attractive.”

KEY FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

a)Total assets grew from $3.3 billion in 2009 to $7.4 billion in 2019;

b)From a negative net profit of -$181.2 million in 2009 (due to the impairment of investment in Natadola and Momi) to $568.4 million in 2019

c)Interest credited to members totalled $113.6 million in 2009, increasing to $353 million in 2019. The last five years has seen over $1.37 billion in interest credited to members. The interest rate also increased from 5% in 2009 to 6.75% in 2019; and

d)Contributions collected in 2009 was $288.5 million. In 2019, a total of $652 million in contributions was collected and is the highest ever collected by the Fund.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

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