The first Budget speech under the presidency of Cyril Ramaphosa was delivered on 21 February 2018 by Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba. The 2018 National Budget directs spending to the most pressing national priorities namely educating the youth; protecting the vulnerable and investing in enablers of inclusive growth. Budget 2018 charts a path out of economic stagnation, anticipating a steady increase in economic growth which will create a path to prosperity for South Africans and improve our nation's finances over time.
On 1 December 2017, the amended Financial Services Sector Code (Code) was issued by the Minister of Trade and Industry. The Code has been issued in terms of the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Act and makes reference to retirement funds and service providers to retirement funds.
The circular seeks to clarify how to report or disclose information that a Board member, principal officer and deputy principal officer, auditor, valuator and administrator of a retirement fund consider necessary to bring to the attention of the Registrar during their term of appointment or following termination of their appointments.
In the matter of T v University of KwaZulu-Natal Pension Fund and ABSA Consultants & Actuaries, the Pension Funds Adjudicator dealt with the extent of investigations to be done by trustees in the distribution of a death benefit.
Effective management of complaints by funds is a vital component of treating customers fairly. The effective management of complaints enables trustees to see if they are meeting their responsibilities as set out in the Pension Funds Act; they can also determine if the benefits provided by the fund and the quality of the services provided by its service providers are appropriate.
The president has signed the Financial Sector Regulation Act (the Act) into law, introducing the twin peaks regulatory framework to South Africa. The effective date(s) of the Act are not yet known. Different effective dates will apply to different sections of the Act. While the Act comes into force over a period of time, there is bound to be overlap between the Act and the Pension Funds Act.
The minister of finance issued the final "default" regulations to the Pension Funds Act ("regulations") on 25 August 2017, effective on 1 September 2017. The regulations have three components: (i) a default investment strategy, (ii) a default preservation strategy, as well as (iii) a fund annuity strategy (which is not a default as such).
The Taxation Laws Amendment Bill 2017 (TLAB) has been released for public comment. The purpose of the TLAB is to give effect to the tax changes announced in the 2017 National Budget. Comments on the TLAB are due in August 2017.
While the Pension Funds Adjudicator (the Adjudicator) provides guidance on whether or not to give effect to a divorce order, there have been judgments which have applied the law by looking at the purpose of the legislation, rather than applying a strict legal interpretation. The cases in this article provide further guidance on how to resolve issues which funds have faced in trying to give effect to divorce orders.