FSCA launches second phase of the Trustee Training Toolkit

03 April 2024 The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA)

The Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) today launched the second phase of the Trustee Training Toolkit (TTK), comprising the last eleven modules of the e-learning platform.

The introduction of these additional modules aims to enhance trustees' knowledge and skills, equipping them to fulfil their fiduciary duties more effectively and efficiently in the retirement funds in which they serve.

“You will all be aware of the significant role that retirement funds play in our economy. With over R5 trillion in assets under management, South Africa’s retirement funds industry ranks among the world’s largest and plays a pivotal role not only in our economy but also in numerous other emerging markets. It is therefore imperative that retirement funds are well managed and that trustees have the necessary knowledge and skills to perform their fiduciary duties more effectively and efficiently. As the FSCA views trustees are integral to the success of the retirement funds industry, we believe that it is our duty to support trustees in their quest to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to fulfil their roles and responsibilities. This is why we developed and have now redeveloped the Trustee Toolkit,” says Astrid Ludin, Deputy Commissioner of the FSCA.

The launch of these modules also brings to completion the TTK as a whole, totalling 22 modules. The modules are more comprehensive in scope and/or coverage. The FSCA has ensured inclusivity, as diverse backgrounds, and the varying retirement fund educational qualifications and experience of board members was considered when developing the TTK. The TTK content is delivered in a manner which facilitates an easy training process, comprising a variety of learning methods, activities and graphics, which are used to cater for different learning styles. The content is therefore not overwhelming and focuses on the outcomes to be achieved.

The FSCA would like to remind trustees that completion of the TTK is compulsory. This is pursuant to the legislative requirements that board members must attain such levels of skills and training as may be prescribed by the FSCA. Conduct Standard 4 of 2020 (CS4) prescribes the minimum skills and training requirements for board members of retirement funds. It also prescribes the TTK as the official minimum training requirement for all trustees of retirement funds in South Africa. In accordance with CS4, a board member must attain the certification of the TTK within 6 months from the date of appointment or election to the board.

Section 7A(3) of the Pension Funds Act also requires board members of retirement funds to attain prescribed levels of skills and training within 6 months after being appointed or elected and to retain such prescribed levels throughout their term of appointment.

The FSCA would like to encourage trustees to complete the first eleven modules launched in September last year, as well as the second set of modules published today.

According to Zareena Camroodien, Departmental Head of the Fund Governance and Trustee Conduct, the FSCA has decided to extend the deadline for the completion of the redeveloped TTK as a result of the various technical challenges experienced by trustees. The first 11 modules (modules 1-11) are to be completed by 30 September 2024 and the second 11 modules (modules 12 -22) are to be completed by 30 September 2024.

After completing the TTK, board members ought to be in a better position to assess and evaluate the quality of advice given to them by external experts. To this end, the TTK includes modules such as Default Regulations, Statutory Returns, Section 14 Transfers, Liquidations, Deduction for damages and Reserve accounts.

As mentioned, completion of the TTK is compulsory for all trustees. The FSCA will monitor its completion and take regulatory action where there is a lack of compliance.

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