Pension adjudicator wrong, say funds

Johannesburg 23-10-18 South African currency, the Rand. Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA)

The administrators of SALT Employee Benefits and the Transport Sector Retirement Fund (TSRF), have taken issue with the comments made by the Pension Funds Adjudicator (PFA) that they failed to respond timeously to the high volume of complaints about the Private Security Sector Provident Fund (PSSPF), and that there was a significant increase in complaints lodged against the TSRF (“Withdrawal benefits top concern for PFA”, Off My Trolley, February 14).

“In terms of Salt’s service level agreement with the PSSPF, it is not our responsibility but that of another service provider. Salt’s records show the number of complaints about the TSRF have reduced over the last two years. In 2017/2018, Salt on average dealt with 66 complaints a month (794 for the year),” said Advocate Leslie Primo, head: legal, risk and compliance, Salt Employee Benefits (EB).

“During 2018/2019, the number of complaints reduced by eight cases a month (96 for the year). With this in mind, you can’t infer that adjudicator complaints are increasing. The PFA also comments on Salt systems and capabilities despite the historical challenges on data taken over on funds from previous administrators,” said Mr Primo.

Salt EB have sent a letter to the PFA asking her to refrain “from making these allegations, which could cause reputational damage to Salt and its client-funds”.

Mr Primo said they are confident that they have turned a corner.

“Employers who have found themselves in dire straits have now entered into long term agreements to settle their outstanding debts to protect their business interests and their employees’ benefits. Our collection rate is more than 97% as our employer-members’ businesses are becoming viable again and their chances to full recovery continue to improve.”

Joe Letswalo, principal officer, of the TSRF, said they launched an initiative to address non-compliance which included education and awareness campaigns to inform members and their employers of their rights and responsibilities.

“Which means the TSRF (and Salt EB) could also actively lodge applications to the PFA to enforce compliance.”