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Superfund booms with $30m growth

Thursday 15 February 2024 | Written by Supplied | Published in Economy, National


Superfund booms with $30m growth
Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund CEO Damien Beddoes. PHOTO: AL WILLIAMS/22101430

The Cook Islands National Superannuation Fund (CINSF) ended 2023 on a high with their assets under management at NZD$236 million, up almost $30 million on 31 December 2022.

In a statement, Fund chief executive officer Damien Beddoes acknowledged the strong results in global equities, in particular the end of the year.

Beddoes said steady contributions from members also provided solid growth for the Fund.

The superfund was able to declare the following 2023 returns to members: growth fund 15 per cent, balanced fund 12.6 per cent and conservative fund 8.8 per cent.

The growth comes after negative returns of 11.6 per cent in the conservative fund, 11.8 per cent in the balanced fund and 11.9 per cent in the growth fund in 2022.

CINSF board chairman Heinz Matysik then said although negative returns are always disappointing, the 2022 investment return was not a surprise to the board or trustee.

“The board and trustee receive monthly updates on how the investment portfolio is tracking for each investment option,” Matysik told Cook Islands News in May last year. “The volatility and price movements in global markets was also widely reported in financial and mainstream media and negative returns were a feature of funds invested in global markets in 2022.”

“The board is less concerned with returns in any specific month or even year and more concerned with how returns trend over a longer time horizon in line with the objectives of CINSF and the board has full confidence in its management team to deliver these objectives.”

The CINSF investment options are 100 per cent invested in global markets, particularly in North America.

Beddoes also explained the CINSF with the support of the Board and Trustee have now implemented three major strategic initiatives being the transition to a reference portfolio by the investment team, bringing the Fund Administration and Member Registry from New Zealand providers back to the CINSF office, and building a robust Risk Management Framework across the Fund.

The reference portfolio is designed to obtain market returns at the lowest possible cost, and the CINSF Investment Team are using global Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) provided by finance giants Vanguard and Black Rock to achieve this with significant investment fee savings to members, the statement said.

The Fund Administration and Member Registry was previously outsourced to New Zealand’s Link Market Services, and in October 2023 the CINSF successfully transitioned onto the NZX Wealth Technologies software that enables the Fund’s Avarua office to perform all the administration and registry services in-house.

“This has created skilled local employment opportunities at CINSF whilst achieving cost reductions,” the statement added.

To support the governance oversight of the internal investment and administration, the CINSF have also implemented a Risk Management Framework supported by a new risk management software to monitor, manage, and report on the internal operations and the Fund’s fiduciary obligations.

Beddoes expressed his appreciation of the CINSF Board’s support for continuous improvement, having a highly skilled executive team that enabled the Fund to take on tactical strategies and deliver the intended objectives. He also acknowledged the staff that have taken up the challenges, career progression opportunities, and are now administering the Fund.