Court paves way for Akani to take over chemical workers’ pension fund
JOHANNESBURG – In a historic win for the chemical workers in the retirement fund industry, Judge J Vally of the Gauteng High Court Local Division dismissed with costs the NBC Holdings application to hold on to the lucrative R6 billion Chemical Industries National Provident Fund (CINPF) – which they have administered for the past 21 years – paving way for Akani Retirement Fund Administrators (Akani) to take over the administration of the Fund.
In a scathing 52-page judgement, Judge Vally characterised the reasons advanced by retirement fund administrator NBC to continue to administer the CINPF after they were fired by CINPF Trustees in December 2019, as “woefully inadequate, abuse of court process, destructive, disruptive”, among other epithets.
Akani Managing Director, Zamani Letjane said the court victory belonged to the 21 000 members of the CINPF who would now realise major savings as a result of the prudent decision of their Trustees to move the Fund to Akani.
“We have a proud track record of offering superior retirement fund administration services to our clients at affordable rates in our 21 years of existence,” he said.
CINPF Trustees, after conducting a fair bidding process, awarded the retirement fund administration services to Akani in December 2019. Other bidders were Futura and Fedsure. This decision was, however, suspended for seven months until the final court order on Friday.
Letjane said the court judgement reinforced the power of retirement fund Trustees to exercise their fiduciary duties, without fear or favour, and in the best interest of pension fund members.
NBC’s inciting of CINPF members against their Trustees, interference in the affairs of the Chemical, Energy, Paper, Printing, Wood and Allied Workers’ Union, NBC’s poor service and disrespect to CINPF and exorbitant fees – were also exposed in the Judge Vally’s judgement.
“This final court order by Judge Vally brings to a close a difficult period in the history of retirement fund administration in our country. This level of uncertainty, given the Covid-19 pandemic, when workers’ lives are most vulnerable, is not needed. As service providers to the retirement needs of workers, we must learn to respect the decision of the Trustees and not prioritise profits at the expense of workers,” added Letjane.