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KwaZulu-Natal Joint Municipal Pension/Provident Funds (NJMPF)

2019-08-27


OUR HERITAGE

The KwaZulu-Natal Joint Municipal Pension/Provident Funds (NJMPF) drives inclusive, transparent and sustainable practices through innovation and financial literacy. NJMPF was founded through an ordinance of Natal in 1942 and has been in existence for over 75 years. "It was founded to provide financial security for municipal employees in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal as a vehicle for their retirement savings," says Bongi Mkhize, Deputy CEO/Principal Officer.

The non-profit organisation is self-administered and responsible for three retirement funds, namely; the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Municipal Pension Fund (Superannuation), KwaZulu-Natal Joint Municipal Pension Fund (Retirement), which are both Defined Benefit Funds as well as the KwaZulu-Natal Joint Municipal Provident Fund which is a Defined Contribution Fund.

The organisation is leading the pack as a financial institution and offers an example of what is meant by superior service. NJMPF is recognised globally for excellence in governance, investments, treating customers fairly, financial literacy programmes and best practices in retirement funding services.

OUR LEADERSHIP

We have a team approach where the management team meets and discusses topics of the day." says Bongi. The Board of Trustees are very involved in the running of the Funds and meet at least once a month where extensive agenda covering legal, financial and operational matters are deliberated.

"Essentially, we are looking after 30 000 people's retirement funding - it is them who we are interested in not numbers only. We feel like a family, have a dedicated responsibility to them and this should hopefully come through in results," added Cheryl Ward, Chief Operating Officer.

OUR EMPLOYEES

NJMPF has a staff complement of just over 40 members and the people who are hired must fit into the ethos the organisation. "We don't only look at  ualifications whether or not someone will blend with the team," explains Bongi. As NJMPF looks after over R20 billion in retirement funding, it is important that the people employed can follow the leadership role models, which are based on sound ethics.

"We have values that we stay true to which are honesty, integrity, transparency, and accountability," says Zinhle Ndlovu, Chief Financial Officer. The staff are dedicated, are often selfless and are focused on enriching other people's lives, which in turn makes NJMPF successful. "Our staff members spend long hours on the road attending road shows to take the brand to municipalities all over KwaZulu-Natal. This ensures that there is a twoway interaction between our staff and our members," says Zinhle.

"When there our big projects that we need to do, everyone from the CEO to the admin staff will get involved and its just for the love of our members," added Sizwe Tshabalala, Client Relations Officer.

"Passion drives us to make sure that our members are well looked after," explains Bongi.

Members and PensionersNJMPF provides retirement funding benefits for municipal employees in KwaZulu-Natal. There are 20,000 active members employed at the 55 municipalities in the province and 10,000 pensioners and beneficiaries. "The members are at the core of everything that we do. It is very important for us that they understand the information they are receiving from us, consequently education is central to our approach to them, as we want our members to be better off. A recent survey showed that members have a sense of trust and confidence in us," says Sizwe.

OUR SUCCESSES

NJMPF has achieved excellent short and long-term investment performance, which has enabled the Fund to increase and improve benefits to members and pensioners, which greatly improve their standard of living. The Fund has continued to keep abreast of the changing landscape of the retirement fund industry. NJMPF has gained recognition for consistent excellence in, amongst others, governance, communication, education and training, treating customers fairly, top quartile investment performance, financial soundness and superior retirement services. It has been named 'the most awarded pension fund' in South Africa. Internationally and locally, NJMPF has distinguished itself as a pension fund where 'best practice' is keenly embraced and has become part of its culture.

Finding innovative ways to enhance member participation in a retirement funding arrangement is important. Some of the most recent innovations introduced by NJMPF is an interactive webpage to promote information sharing and a mobile application was created to promote education and communication. In recent years, NJMPF teamed up with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) as it has recognised that within its own membership, members are burdened with debt. Partnering with the regulator allows for leveraging of expertise on credit/ debt management education and educating NJMPF members at no cost.

In previous years NJMPF has partnered with the Financial Sector Conduct Authority and the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator and a law firm to educate stakeholders about issues relating to financial literacy. Globally financial literacy levels are low and many lack the ability to understand essential financial concepts in making informed decisions about saving, investing and borrowing.

THE FUTURE IMPACT

NJMPF is introducing a barcoded ballot voting system for election of the Board of Trustees. NJMPF is among a few if not the only South African retirement fund provide a barcoded voting system in-house for election of trustees. NJMPF is also moving towards a more fun and playful manner of engaging stakeholders. The "playing cards" project now forms part of the Fund's financial literacy programme.

"We have to keep evolving and making sure that members are interested in what we are doing and that can provide a proper service," concludes Cheryl.




KwaZulu-Natal Joint Municipal Pension/Provident Funds (NJMPF)

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