Govt employee? Your pension fund made huge mistakes, and just wrote off billions

(Also read: A compelling argument for using SA's pension funds to build infrastructure)

The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) has written off a R4.3billion investment it made in the Lancaster Group, Steinhoff's empowerment shareholder.

On 31 March 2017, the GEPF owned about 10% of the entire Steinhoff International Holdings.

The GEPF’s shareholding in Steinhoff represents1% of its total assets.

The GEPF also wrote off a R1billion loan and investments in preference shares in Iqbal Surve's Sekunjalo Investments and Independent News and Media SA (INMSA).

Other write-offs were a R375million investment in VBS Mutual Bank and R492 million in Afgri Poultry.

Despite these write-offs, the GEPF's portfolio grew by 8.3% to R1.8 trillion, yielding investment returns of 8.5%.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Abel Sithole, Principal Executive Officer at the GEPF.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and scroll down for quotes from it).

If you are appointed in terms of the Public Service Act, you have to be a member of the GEPF.

Abel Sithole, GEPF

The GEPF does not get instructions from anybody else…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

…We’re still enjoying the Ramaphoria uplift…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

We’re paying more benefits than we’re receiving in contributions… there is a shortfall [R95 billion] financed by investment returns…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

We’ve had a significant uptick in resignations…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

We’ve never been asked to invest in SAA. We are, however, invested in Eskom… They give you a good return… There’s a guarantee of the capital…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

All our investments [90% is local] is impacted by Eskom… A failing Eskom has a devastating impact on the economy… We want to ensure that Eskom continues to provide energy…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

Half of the trustees are labour… including people whose job is to protect their own membership…

Abel Sithole, GEPF

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