Monday 18 April, 2016

Touching base with contributing employers regionally

Touching base with contributing employers regionally

The NASFUND 2016 annual employer conferences hosted in Port Moresby, Lae, Kokopo and Mt Hagen attracted a record number of attendees with Port Moresby recording 400, Lae 195, Kokopo 132 and Mt Hagen rounding off with 130 attendees.

These regional conferences, attended by Payroll and Human Resource officers from contributing employers, provide an avenue for the FUND to inform contributors about its overall performance for the previous year. The FUND also uses this opportunity to reinforce its policies and processes, and how compliance with these ensure the safeguarding of members’ accounts. The conference also provides a forum for employer representatives to express to the FUND’s management the challenges faced by members and employers and suggestions for improvement to services.

This year’s conferences were boosted by the inclusion of members of the NASFUND Board and representatives from the Bank of Papua New Guinea (BPNG), the Regulator of the Superannuation industry in PNG.

Board Chairman William Lamur, told employers at the Kokopo conference that it was the Board’s role to ensure members’ funds were safeguarded by providing direction to management through The FUND’s Strategic Plan and governance framework.

Mr. Lamur said that the Board has worked hard in the past 4 years to ensure there is stability and continuous improvement in systems, processes and client services. He said all these were ongoing activities and expressed confidence in the current management team and staff.

In a similar setting, Vera Raga (Board Director) expressed the same sentiments to those who attended the Mt Hagen conference. Mr. Raga said that although past experiences of bad management and board decisions were still raised by members, they could be assured that the governance framework within the FUND, and the prudential standards introduced by the Regulator meant these practices were legacies of the past. Members should have confidence that the Board and Management are fit and proper individuals to act as custodians of members’ funds.

Ms. Nonza Makip from the BPNG’s Superannuation & Life Insurance Supervision Department outlined to the conferences the role her department plays in supervising organisations such as NASFUND. She stressed that members are the owners of an Approved Superannuation Funds (ASFs) and the Regulator’s role is to ensure that all directors and officers comply with the provisions of the Superannuation (General Provisions) Act 2000 and its associated Prudential Standards.

A particularly important task for her department is to ensure that the board and management of a superannuation fund are ‘Fit and Proper’ by conducting a thorough assessment of those individuals. BPNG retains the right to object to the appointment of a person whom they felt did not meet the standard required.

Ms Makip told the audience that the Board and Management of NASFUND were subject to this requirement to ensure the right people were appointed to fill these very important roles within the organisation.

These are important to ensure that the best interests of members and prospective members of any ASF are paramount.

During his address, Chief Executive Officer, Ian Tarutia outlined how previous incidents were the catalyst for reform of the industry. He stated that in particular, the events of the National Provident Fund (NPF) saga in 2000 prompted the introduction of the new Superannuation Act which now govern the industry. These reforms have led to the benefits and successes that members now enjoy by providing strong checks and balances based on a platform of good goverance, transparency, accountability, innovation and client servicing.

Photo caption: Chief Operating Officer, Mr Warwick Vele addressing Employer reps at Port Moresby Employer Conference in March 2016.

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