Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana announced the increase in the foreign investment allowance for pension funds during his 2022 budget speech. Now the plan has been gazetted. Image: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg


Variations to Regulation 28 of the Pension Fund Act, and particularly the improve in the proportion of a retirement fund that asset managers can spend offshore, have been discussed since 2019, when Nationwide Treasury 1st stated that it was time to update laws. These modifications to legislation ended up gazetted this week.

Read through: Treasury listens to market on Regulation 28

Treasury reiterated that the unique subsections of the regulation, usually referred to as Reg 28, aims to defend retirement fund customers by imposing limitations on investments in a certain asset or in unique asset lessons to avert extreme focus danger.

In limited, the regulations pressure pension funds to reduce risk to retirement cash by diversifying investments.

Even though Reg 28 enforced diversification, asset supervisors have complained that specified of the boundaries limited prudent fund administration concepts, in certain the preceding prerequisite that a retirement fund can spend a maximum of 30% of its assets offshore, as nicely as another 10% in African international locations.

Offshore prerequisite

The offshore necessity is one of the most sizeable improvements of Reg 28.

The 30% international and 10% African allowance have been changed with a single offshore limit of 45%.

Examine: Pension money could now commit up to 45% of their money offshore

In addition, pension cash will be allowed to maximize their investments in infrastructure initiatives as the new restrictions recognise infrastructure as a separate asset class.

Boundaries for the share a fund may devote in personal equity resources and hedge funds have also been enhanced.

“The regulations widen the scope of possible investments for retirement money, but carries on to depart the closing selection on any investment decision to the trustees of every fund, who figure out the investment decision plan for any fund,” says Countrywide Treasury in a brief explanatory be aware to the gazetted alterations.


The effect of raising the limit for offshore expenditure from 30% to 45% has led to speculation that billions worth of expense cash can go away SA. Even so, the most recent Alexforbes Supervisor Observe survey of retirement money identified that most expenditure administrators had been now on or extremely shut to the previous offshore allocation of 30%, when some have actually improved their exposure to domestic equities, as neighborhood businesses were being found to supply superior worth than worldwide shares.

The Alexforbes Manager Observe, analysing investments at the end of 2021, discovered that “most supervisors even now keep on being shut to the limits of 30% for investment in global belongings permitted by Regulation 28 of the Pension Cash Act.

Of the 36 managers, only 8 have been reduce than the restrict of 30% by much more than 5%.

“Nedgroup [Balanced] was the most affordable at 18.9% adopted by ClucasGray on 19.3%. Oasis had the greatest publicity to global assets at 38.5%, which we infer contains some exposure to Africa equities,” states Alexforbes.

It observed that while most administrators retained their domestic asset allocation rather secure, some elevated their allocation to domestic equities about their positions in December 2020.

Referring to Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana’s announcement in the February 2022 budget speech of the increase in the overseas expense allowance for pension funds, Alexforbes reported: “It will be appealing to keep an eye on how asset administrators react to this selection. Foreseeable future iterations of the Alexforbes Supervisor Check out will incorporate these kinds of detail.”

Glacier by Sanlam welcomed the enhance in offshore investments from an efficient 40% (30% earth and 10% Africa) to 45%, with no distinction produced amongst Africa and the relaxation of the planet.

“This is welcome information as it lets retirement fund associates to additional diversify their investments. However, a credible argument can be designed that it has not gone considerably more than enough,” claims Sanlam.

“Savers are forced to have 55% publicity to domestic assets inside their retirement portfolios when South Africa’s contribution to world wide GDP is a mere .6%.

“This 55% publicity also needs to be regarded as within the context of the regular saver’s complete publicity to South Africa which may possibly be north of 90% when one particular considers that their work opportunities are based mostly here, as nicely as their principal residences. They also facial area a dwindling range of expenditure possibilities as a final result of firms delisting from JSE,” adds Sanlam.

It also famous that it is “irresponsible” to aim on the preservation of capital in rand conditions, as the rand proceeds to decline against other currencies.

The most current decrease in the worth of the rand to over R16 per dollar – seemingly heading to R17 – proves this argument.


Treasury suggests that the ultimate amendments posted in the Governing administration Gazette goal to explicitly help and reference longer-expression infrastructure financial commitment by retirement resources, by escalating the optimum boundaries for investments in infrastructure.

“To this extent, the amendments introduce a definition of infrastructure and sets a restrict of 45% for exposure in infrastructure expense.”

“To further more facilitate the investment in infrastructure and economic progress, the limit in between hedge money and non-public fairness has been break up. There will now be a individual and better allocation to personal fairness property, which is 15% (increased from 10%),” it notes.

Study: Proposed alterations to Reg 28 give prospects to revive the financial state

“A restrict of 25% has been imposed, across all asset courses, to restrict exposure of retirement money to any one particular entity (organization),” says Treasury.

Enabling laws

Futuregrowth Asset Administration claims that while the changes in limits were mostly driven by National Treasury’s intention to generate a additional enabling laws for retirement resources to commit in infrastructure and similar property, the truth is that money could beforehand commit in these options off the back again of Reg 28’s unlisted asset allowance of 35%.

“In the context of infrastructure, Futuregrowth supports the push to make retirement cash much more aware of alpha-adding options in this room – and consequently the authentic position that the retirement fund industry can enjoy in aiding financial advancement by this sort of investments, although earning hazard-adjusted returns,” it states.

“We are, on the other hand, even now of the see that the remaining definition of infrastructure as now described inside of Regulation 28 stays wide and, as a final result, could have unintended outcomes,” it notes.

Go through:
Just transforming Regulation 28 is not more than enough
How Regulation 28 modification modifications the activity

“Listed instruments [both equity and debt] could be considered as infrastructure [MTN, Vodacom, Netcare, etc], which is in particular problematic presented that National Treasury has put an overall 45% cap on infrastructure investments.

“It is thus possible that numerous retirement resources will bump into these limits extremely speedily with no the launch of any guiding rules from Nationwide Treasury on what is considered infrastructure,” adds Futuregrowth.

It also notes that SA has a huge shortfall to fund the development of infrastructure in excess of the next two decades, in that all around R1.8 trillion will be needed. Pension cash can play a significant position in this regard as a lot of haven’t created much financial commitment in this sector owing to deficiency of comprehending and/or anxiety.

“We congratulate those pension money that have previously designed significant investments in infrastructure and linked investments, and we know that they are eager to make investments even further,” states Futuregrowth.


National Treasury is continue to wary of cryptocurrencies.

“Retirement funds will continue to be prohibited from investing in crypto property,” it claims.

“The abnormal volatility and unregulated mother nature of crypto assets involve a prudent method, as current marketplace volatility in these kinds of property demonstrates,” it adds.

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Headlines of failing cryptocurrencies and trading platforms, as properly as investing cons and missing millions, recommend that this ban is likely to continue being in spot for a very long time.

Treasury reiterated that retirement money have a fiduciary duty to act in the best interest of its customers whose benefits depend on the accountable administration of fund belongings.

“This obligation supports the adoption of a dependable expense tactic to deploying capital into marketplaces that will earn sufficient chance adjusted returns acceptable for the fund’s distinct member profile, liquidity wants and liabilities.

“Prudent investing really should give acceptable thing to consider to any aspect which may possibly materially have an affect on the sustainable prolonged-term overall performance of a fund’s property, together with aspects of an environmental, social and governance character. This thought applies across all belongings and categories of belongings and ought to boost the interests of a fund in a steady and transparent surroundings,” it states.


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