BPOPF dealing in big billions

Baitshepi Sekgweng
  • Fund’s assets reach P90.1 billion mark

Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) continues to soar, with the recent financial year proving just as successful as its Pula-potent predecessor.

The fund saw its assets from various investment portfolios rise from an already impressive P83.6 billion in 2021 to P90.1 billion this year.

Those with a calculator handy will know this represents an increase of 7.83 percent for the financial year 2021/22, which ended 31 March.

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The Pension fund’s unlisted investments, which include amongst others local and offshore direct investment, rose from P5.9 billion to P7.7 billion – an increase of 30.92 percent!

Listed equities grew by 22.67 percent to reach P13.1 billion while local fixed income increased by P200 million to hit the P6.2 billion mark.

Cash, offshore equities and bonds also experienced good performance, closing the last financial year at P9.5 billion, P51.2 billion and P2.4 billion respectively.

As a result, BPOPF’s assets exceeded its liabilities, with a funding level standing at 101.7 percent.

It means the Fund has adequate assets to discharge all its financial obligations to its members as the funding level is above 100 percent, while also maintaining healthy reserves in all its portfolios.

Speaking at a media briefing on Monday, BPOPF Chief Executive Officer, Moemedi Malinda said local equities’ good growth saw them emerge as principal contributors this year as compared to 2021.

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“The plan is to add an incubation manager to the lineup. Botswana has deep skill base and we strongly believe home grown managers should dominate and grow outside the borders,” he stated.

Furthermore, Malinda admitted that despite recording positive growth, the offshore equities went through what he called ‘a rough patch’.

“We had a great run up to December 2021 in this portfolio but went through a very difficult period beginning January 2022. The complications remain as we experience geopolitical tensions and high inflationary environment,” he explained.

In regards to benefits payable, the fund registered 3, 203 exits this year as compared to 2, 494 in 2021, resulting in P1.2 billion worth of payments in retirement packages.

Death benefits also skyrocketed to 1, 331 from 510, with Covid-19 singled out as the biggest cause of this.

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There was a noticeable surge in withdrawals, with 1, 166 recorded against 428 in 2021.

Members who left BPOPF for other pension funds stood at 53, down slightly from 55 in the previous year.

Malinda further revealed they will soon kick start their 2022/23 corporate strategy though they expect a difficult year ahead.

“We anticipate a rough journey ahead in the first four months of the 2022/23 financial year and the challenge of containing global inflation but our appetite for Botswana infrastructure projects remain high as ever and building local specialised asset management firms remains a priority,” he said.

Ever since the pension fund was established in 2002, its assets under management have been growing steadily every year – apart from 2009 when the global recession resulted its only previous decline.

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