The Transport Sector Retirement Fund (TSRF) has been recognised by peers as an innovative trailblazer in the industry. Supplied

The Transport Sector Retirement Fund (TSRF), a non-aligned, standalone fund with assets worth to R7.5 billion and whose shareholders are its members, has been recognised by peers as an innovative trailblazer in the industry, getting top honours at a recent awards event.

At last week's Institute of Retirement Funds Africa annual awards, the fund came up tops on governance, transformation, stakeholder engagement and education, investment practice, trustee development as well as financial management and reporting.

It has about 70,000 members, 70 percent of whom are truck drivers.

“With them in mind we have developed a responsible-investment strategy to build truck stops that ensures our members and the broader transport sector community are able to park and sleep safely and also have access to accommodation, refueling, mechanical services, primary healthcare- and appropriate nutrition facilities,” TSRF principal officer Joe Letswalo said.

He said the first of these truck stops, the Harrismith Highway Junction Truck Stop, was one of the biggest in Africa and had provided a more than 25 percent return on investment over the past 12 months. It was now one of the largest work providers in Harrismith, employing 200 locals.

"All the proceeds of the fund's initiatives are reinvested and we pursue ways of finding savings, such as the more than R700 million we have generated through our self-insurance initiative," said Letswalo.

The TSRF has placed a target of more than 70 percent of its assets to be managed by black-owned investment firms. To date 75 percent of its assets are invested with black-owned and transformed managers.

"We’ve extended this to our stockbroker policy, which gives clear guidelines on the percentage allocation given to black-owned firms. In addition, all the asset managers appointed by the fund allocate more than 50 percent outsourcing to black-owned business," Letswalo said.

Having grown the TSRF’s assets from R2 billion in 2013 to R7.5 billion in 2018, Letswalo is confident its outlook is positive and its various strategies are on target. 

“We are definitely shaking up the industry with our nimble investment strategies and people are really starting to sit up and take notice," he said.

"We run a clean business where we place our members at the heart of it, and we are grateful that the industry has given us recognition for it."

African News Agency (ANA)