Global Guru on Pension Reform to Deliver Keynote at June Symposium

15 May 2007 Sanlam Employee Benefits

Following the February announcement of proposed sweeping reforms to South Africas social security system, it is clear that the countrys economy, and in particular, the retirement fund industry, are facing some significant changes.

As a key catalyst for ongoing dialogue with government and other players in the retirement fund industry, Sanlam Employee Benefits (SEB) has secured Jose Pinera, the worlds pre-eminent authority on social security reform, as the keynote speaker at its annual symposium in June. Pinera is known for his progressive reforms, empowering workers and improving accessibility to retirement funds. He will offer insights from his extensive research experience and offer his views on the proposed reforms in SA.

According to Robert Roux, CEO of Sanlam Employee Benefits, Pieras insights and opinions will be a welcome addition to the discussion. He is recognised as a champion of liberty and worker prosperity and is best known for overhauling Chiles social security system. As the founder and president of the International Centre for Pension Reform, he is currently devoted to sharing with the world his experience as the architect of his countrys successful transition to a pension system based on personal retirement accounts.

Contributions to an individual savings account form one element being considered by the government as part of its proposed introduction of mandatory contributions to a national social security scheme Pieras expertise is a perfect fit for this aspect of the governments proposal, said Roux.

Pinera said that he believed that South Africa has an opportunity to evolve its retirement system for the benefit of all citizens, as had been successfully undertaken in Chile. Twenty-five years ago, pension reforms were introduced in Chile based on the principles of ownership, choice and personal responsibility.

The SEB symposium is about driving constructive dialogue, examining innovative ideas and equipping those who oversee funds on behalf of more than nine million retirement fund members with knowledge to navigate the significant changes occurring in the industry, added Roux. Fundamentally, we want to collaborate with the government to institute more comprehensive and inclusive social security and retirement funding, building on the efficiency and competitiveness of the current system to help South Africans save more and become more self-reliant.

A former Minister of Labour and Social Security, and Mining, in Chile, Pinera holds a M.A. and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University and in 1993, was a Presidential candidate in Chile. He was the architect behind Chiles Social Security Reform Act of 1980 that allowed workers to opt out of the government-run pension system financed by a payroll tax and instead contribute to a personal retirement account. Today, more than 95 percent of the labour force participates in the scheme, a reform that has also made a huge pool of capital available for domestic investment, spurring a dramatic and positive effect on both the Chilean economy and society as a whole.

The SEB symposium will take place in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg from June 26 to 28 and will feature the countrys most comprehensive retirement fund industry research on issues relevant to trustees and members. Attendees will be given direction as to how to navigate the numerous changes in the sector and in particular, the potential ramifications of the governments proposed social security and retirement reforms.

For further details about the Sanlam Employee Benefits Symposium or for bookings, visit, call (021) 592 5214 or email For more information on Jose Pinera, visit

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