Pension fund investment in unlisted companies as a means of stimulating economic growth in Namibia : risks and opportunities

Malan, Johannes Hendrik Josephus (2012-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.


Poverty reduction, employment creation and economic growth are priorities in the development of Namibia. Although Namibia has a relatively high domestic savings rate in the form of long-term insurance, unit trust and pension contributions, these savings do not translate into economic growth and job creation. Under Regulation 28 of the Pension Funds Act, Namibian pension funds are required to invest a minimum of 35% of pension fund assets in the domestic economy, with a minimum of 5% of assets to be invested in unlisted entities. Both measures are aimed at using domestic savings to stimulate economic growth. Regulation 28 also requires pension funds to diversify the investments of assets across different asset classes, both domestically and internationally, in order to reduce exposure to the risk posed by a specific asset class. Taking cognisance of the additional risks involved in investment in unlisted entities, Namibian legislators drafted Regulation 29 through which these pension fund investments in unlisted entities are to be made once Regulation 29 is promulgated. Such investments will take the form of private equity investments, although provision is made for debt financing of unlisted entities. This research paper investigates the potential risks and benefits associated with the requirement to invest in unlisted entities, and whether draft Regulation 29 will provide sufficient safeguards to mitigate the risks to pension funds of investing in this asset class. Regulation 29 has been drafted taking into consideration lessons learned from the experience of the Government Institutions Pension Fund in investing in unlisted entities. In order to invest in unlisted entities, draft Regulation 29 requires pension funds to invest in a special purpose vehicle through which investments are made in portfolio companies that have been identified by unlisted investment managers. Pension funds will not be allowed to make direct investments in unlisted entities. The draft regulation details the contractual relationship between the pension fund and the various parties to the unlisted investment. It imposes strict reporting requirements on the pension fund, the special purpose vehicle and the unlisted investment manager, and creates a heavy regulatory burden for the Namibian Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority as the regulator. In addition to access to sufficient funds for private equity investments, adequate investment opportunities, appropriate experience and skills of managers in the industry, and a supportive regulatory environment, private equity investors require ways to exit their investments, either through listing on a stock exchange or disposing of investments on a secondary market.

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