NASFUND Releases Audited 2020 Results

by PNG Business News - March 23, 2021

The National Superannuation Fund Limited (Nasfund) is delighted to release its full-year 2020 findings.

The audited results for the year ended December 31, 2020, as reviewed by the Board at its meeting, included a Net Profit of K222.9 million and a Net Asset Value of K5.57 billion.

Following these findings, the Nasfund Board of Directors approved a 4.5 per cent interest-crediting rate for the 2020 Financial Year, amounting to over K235 million, which has already been credited to members' accounts.

On behalf of the Board, Chairman Charles Vee indicated that the findings reflected the Fund's most difficult year to date, especially in light of the weakened economy and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In response to these headwinds, I am pleased that the Fund has demonstrated once again strong resilience and exceeded its budgeted cash profit after tax of K266 million by K15 million due to tight control on operating expenses and lower tax costs,” he said. “The pandemic and other external factors beyond our control adversely impacted the economy which resulted in valuation losses of K155 million across our property and equities investments, including K38 million in additional provisions to comply with international accounting standards (IFRS 9), which was partially offset by foreign exchange gain of K97 million due to the Kina depreciating against other currencies. This resulted in an overall net valuation loss of K58 million which represents an additional 1.10 per cent crediting rate, members have missed out on. While the crediting rate of 4.5% has been achieved for our members, we remind members again of the benefit of locking away savings over a long period.  The value of a member’s savings grows significantly through the effect of compound interest and additional contributions. I am pleased to inform our members that we continue to meet our investment target of achieving returns above CPI over a rolling five year period which on average is 5.7 per cent compared to CPI average of 5.4 per cent over the same time. Additionally, over the last five years, Nasfund has paid over K1.27 billion in interest to members and paid out K2.18 billion in superannuation entitlements to its members. We remind members that your long term Nasfund savings does have its benefits to ensure a comfortable retirement after active employment.”

Other highlights for 2020 include:

  • Contribution receipts increased by 2%, totalling K575 million.
  • The membership base has grown by 3% to 604,587 contributors.
  • The number of employers has increased by 7% to 2,576.
  • Superannuation withdrawals increased by 22% to K469 million, compared to K384 million in the budget.
  • The launch of a new logo.
  • The opening of a new Member Services Center in Waigani, NCD, with plans to expand to Lae.
  • Hagen and Goroka headquarters are being refurbished.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Provincial Government of East Sepik to provide superannuation services to cocoa and vanilla farmers.
  • The third Employer Awards Evening was a huge success.

“In 2021, we are continuing our focus on enhancing our member services, including housing developments while actively seeking to grow our membership and new investment opportunities,” Vee said. “I would like to acknowledge the commitment of our CEO Ian Tarutia, the management team and staff for their hard work and support in delivering commendable results in 2020.”

CEO Ian Tarutia said, “During this period of uncertainty, a lot of our employers had to take drastic action to keep afloat. Labour shedding and workforce rationalizing were initiatives taken by employers to remain operational during the COVID State of Emergency imposed last year. Additionally, fall in Oil Prices and the closure of Porgera Mine impacted companies like Oilsearch and Barrick Joint Venture and resulted in a large number of employees being laid off. As a consequence, while this placed pressure on our member services due to the increased volume of applications and enquiries, I am pleased to inform you that we paid all clean applications as and when they became due. On this note I commend our staff for their professionalism and empathy to meet member demands, during these trying times. I also acknowledge those members opting to not withdraw all their savings, managing themselves through other means and retaining a portion for their future benefit.”  

Tarutia also warned that, while withdrawals in 2020 were well managed, if Porgera is not opened in the near future and other major resource projects are not launched to stimulate the economy, more job losses will occur, and we may see a surge in withdrawals this year that exceeds what we paid in 2020.

He added, “COVID-19 prevention and containment requires distancing from one another. This is a problem for our members as a majority do not have their own homes and live with extended family. Secondly, we are already experiencing the inadequacies of our current health system, as COVID-19 transmission rates escalate throughout the country. We already know how to grow members wealth, we have been doing this successfully since 2000 through late Sir Mekere’s superannuation reforms. Now it is timely to look at how we can assist members with quality homes they can afford. Not just release some of their retirement savings for housing, but provide a whole house, land package. The target audience will be first home buyers only. We should also be looking at investments in the health sector to look after members and their families when they are ill. A lot of our members are dying from preventable diseases. What is the point of saving for retirement when their health cannot be looked after?” 



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Photo credit: Nasfund - Ian Tarutia As the long-serving CEO of the fund, Ian Tarutia, CEO of Nasfund, will step down on March 31, 2023. Mr Tarutia has informed the board of his desire to retire at the end of March 2023, according to chairman Charles Vee's announcement. He said that the board appreciates his choice and has begun the search for a suitable replacement. “Ian has served the fund, Nasfund its predecessor NPF and the fund members over the last 35 years with distinction and his departure will be a big loss for the organisation. “He has led the fund as CEO since November 2011 and presided over a period of sustained profitability, membership growth, balance sheet growth and improved member servicing over his watch. He has built a strong leadership team and pleasingly most are all competent Papua New Guineans. The board is comforted that the business of the fund and service to members will continue while a new CEO is recruited and appointed,” Mr Vee said. In the first quarter of 2023, he will say his final goodbyes formally. Mr Tarutia declared that he is confident in his choice to leave the fund at the beginning of 2023. “I have served Nasfund and its predecessor National Provident Fund (NPF) for almost 35 years. Out of this, I have served 15 years at the CEO level. “As my first employer straight from university, the fund has been a significant part of my adult and professional life. “I have seen the fund from its lowest time as an organisation on the brink of extinction to its peak of distinction as a leading superannuation and financial institution in Papua New Guinea and the Pacific today,” Mr Tarutia said. He said that via better governance, an emphasis on customer service, innovative products, higher retirement savings, and return on investments, members had greatly benefited from the fund's revival. “More importantly, the fund today is staffed by well-qualified, competent and dedicated Papua New Guineans who are as passionate as I am in serving members to the best of our ability. I am privileged and honoured to have played a role in the consolidation, rebuild and transformation phase of the fund to where it is today. “But the time has come to pass the baton to someone else to take the reins,” he said. “I am keen to pursue other personal interests and endeavours and look forward to the next phase of life. “The board has commenced a recruitment process to find my replacement, I will assist with the transition to ensure stability and continuity.” Mr. Tarutia stated that in the interim, he is still committed to seeing that the fund achieves its goals for the year and continues to produce gains for its members.   Reference: Post-Courier (2 August 2022). “Tarutia To Retre In 2023”. 

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