At the Finance Economics Ministers Meeting in Palau last month, the Pacific Provident Funds and Social Security made a presentation to the ministers on plans for co-investment between the funds and governments across the Pacific in key infrastructure that will provide a return.
Opening the Pacific Provident Funds and Social Security Forum (PPFSSF) at the National Auditorium yesterday, Brown said the proposal for co-investment was a turning point for the Pacific.
“At the Finance Economics Ministers Meeting in Palau last month, your forum made a presentation to the ministers about the opportunity to work with and co-invest with our governments across the Pacific in investable infrastructure such as airports, seaports, power generation, telecommunications, fishing, banking and finance,” Brown said.
“For the longest of time, we have been reliant on access to investment loans or grants through international organisations for the development of infrastructure vital to the security and growth of our countries.
“The ability to now work in partnership with you presents opportunities for both a shift in ownership that can actually benefit all our stakeholders’ through investment returns and country development.”
Discussions on establishing a framework to enable the funds to work together or to co-invest will be the key agenda in the three-day biennial forum attended by 50 top officials from the Pacific region’s superannuation, provident, sovereign and trust funds.
They include chief executive officers, chief investment officers, senior board officers and international partners, representing 20 funds from 14 countries across the Pacific, worth $70 billion.
The meeting will also see members establish the new Pacific Islands Investment Forum, an evolution of the PPFSSF. The organisation will expand to include all the superannuation funds, provident funds, sovereign funds and trust funds in the Pacific.
It is also an opportunity for the chief executives to hold high-level talks, review the direction and objectives of the forum, plan education and training programmes, hold their biannual general meeting, and decide the host of the next CEO Forum.
“A lot of work in providing security for your members and stakeholders is the reason for you all coming together – investing your money in your funds wisely, balancing risks and returns, having a well-structured framework for decision making, good governance and most importantly, transparency of the process and the reasons for your investment decisions,” Brown said.
“As the minister for our national superannuation fund, I have seen our fund here in the Cook Islands continue to grow through member contribution and investment returns.
“Along the way, we face challenges that pose such schemes and most recently we successfully won our case at the Privy Council in London that found our scheme to be constitutional.
“Many of your schemes face similar challenges and you should be perseverant in your mandate to your stakeholders which is providing security in retirement for your people.”
Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund chief executive officer Damien Beddoes, who praised the government for supporting the fund in the challenges it had encountered.
“They (the government) have implemented new regulations that have helped us build our fund to where it is today,” Beddoes said.
CINSF board chairman Heinz Matysik hopes the forum will deal with issues and challenges faced by superannuation funds in the region.