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Sunday, December 5, 2021

African Pension Schemes Leverage COVID Opportunities

Pension scheme institutions from all over East Africa met in Malindi to discuss the emerging opportunities and alternatives in changing investment opportunities following the global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The conferences organized by Samlam investment East African limited brought together their clients from the Retirement Benefits sector (pension schemes) in the East African countries which was also highly affected by the pandemic.

Managing director of Sanlam investments East African limited Mr Jonathan Strichbury said this year’s conference provided an opportunity for them to look into the future and strategize on the revival of their sector by exploring emerging investment opportunities.

Speaking during the launch of the Conference at Dream of Africa hotel conference Malindi, he said currently things have changed Post covid and are now looking forward to diversifying their clients’ funds into new areas including property, and infrastructure sustainable investments.

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Mr Strichbury said their focus now is to see their clients focusing on investing in infrastructure, property, sustainable investments private equity among others.

He said in the conference they brought in experts from all those sectors to display the advantages of investing in such areas to tap on them.

"We are lucky we have been joined by several experts including the Chief Executive Officer of Capital markets Authority Wyclif Shamiah who talked about the regulatory sign box, about incubating new products, new ideas new initiatives to help propel Kenya's economy to new levels in the years and decades ahead," he said.

The MD said the lifting of the curfew will have a positive impact on the economy of the country which was highly affected since the covid 19 pandemic struck

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He said the move will help give in opportunity for the economy to develop and grow faster going forward.

He said some of the lessons learnt which they discussed was the importance of diversifying whether it’s a pension fund, institution or individual investor.

"It is important not to have all your eggs in one basket, and to think about different types of assets clauses they all have different characteristics they all meet different requirements at different times in an economic cycle and try to match those together to ensure you have one portfolio is one of the major challenges," he said.

On his part, Shamiah said he came to stand with Stanlam investment which is doing a lot of work on the pension funds who are meeting their clients from all over East Africa.

He said by so doing it gives back clients confidence and as regulators, he encourages such initiatives as they are important to help bring their markets into the track.

The CEO also said in Kenya despite the pandemic there was a growth of 0.3 percent which was commendable.

So far he said the investment of infrastructure in the country is geared at growing the economy in the future and the fruits will be seen shortly.

He said the lifting of curfew will also have a positive impact on the economy of the market in the country

"Following the president's message it is reaffirming that we are free again to go back opening the economy with the curfew having been lifted," he said.

The CEO said Kenyans should however know that the pandemic is still around and people must ensure they get vaccinated and follow the protocols issued by the government to avoid going back to the previous challenges.

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He said as regulators they need to see the market going back on track so that the economy can grow.

Shamiah said covid affected people and it has been difficult for some things to be done because people were sick or they died.

On pension funds, he said there were effects of the number of funds collected because of the different sectors affected by the economy.

"If you look at the hospitality and others their contribution cannot be same as in the past, there has been job losses," he said adding that all that had a serious impact to the economy," he said

The CEO said the financial sector has a role to play to see how to bring back market confidence because people do certain things because they feel their investments are safe.

For now, he said it’s time investors make use of the technology to do even better than before Covid-19.

*This article was written by Ramadhan Kambi for Uzalendo News.  Email: uzalendonews24@gmail.com to submit your story.
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