South Africa: The Long and Curious Battle Over the Amplats Pension Fund

analysis

The jury is still out about umbrella funds being better for members, so why is Amplats seemingly unilaterally deciding to move the Amplats Group Provident Fund to an umbrella fund without any consultation with either the Board of Trustees or the employees?

On 14 February, a full bench of the South Gauteng High Court reserved judgment in what could be a landmark legal case for South Africa's concentrated pension fund industry. A few months ahead of reporting its strongest earnings ever, Amplats approached the Court to effectively force the Board of Trustees of the Amplats Group Provident Fund (AGPF) to transfer the assets of the fund - a Section 14 (of the Pension Funds Act) into Old Mutual's Superfund Umbrella Fund.

In court documents submitted by the Board of Trustees of the AGPF, they contend that they have not been given enough information to make informed decisions, or effectively communicate about the reasons, which led Amplats to decide to change the structure of the AGPF from a standalone fund to an umbrella fund. The move will effectively end worker participation in the future management of the fund.

The case is also unique in that the affidavit submitted by the Board...

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