Salt EB recently completed a comprehensive overhaul of its largest sectoral pension funds, in which it digitised more than a billion transactions and cleaned up, to within R1 000, several hundred thousand employee pension fund balances.

The completion coincides with the introduction of a digital self-help terminal where individual pension fund members can track their fund, digitally map different investment options and find answers to commonly asked questions.

“In recent months, the Pension Funds Adjudicator and the Department of Finance have highlighted the alarming rate of non-compliance among employers when it comes to the contributions to their sectoral pension funds,” says Eddie Strydom, CEO of Salt Employee Benefits.

“In many cases, the employer would deduct the funds and tell employees that they have been paid to the sectoral pension fund, but the money is never transferred. This often leads to employees blaming the pension fund and administrator when they retire or are laid off, only to find that their pension fund contributions were never made.”

Thanks to the completed clean-up of the pension funds and the integration with the digital terminals, individual pension fund holders can personally track their contributions and fund growth and make informed decisions about their savings.

Salt Employee Benefits is an independent specialist pension funds administrator that specialises in complex sectoral umbrella funds. It administers funds such as the Private Security Sector Provident Fund, the Electrical Contracting Industry Pension Fund and the Transport Sector Retirement Fund, among others. Each of these funds has thousands of member companies, who in turn employ thousands of workers who contribute to the fund.

In the case of the Private Security Sector Provident Fund (PSSPF), Salt has digitised and cleaned up over 1,4-billion transactions, which are now digitally indexed and searchable.

“We started with our clean-up process at the PSSPF in May 2016 and managed to be fully operational by September of that same year. The comprehensive clean-up process took some time, but we can confidently say that we start this year being able to provide members with a complete and transparent view of their contributions and the growth of their individual contributions,” says Strydom.

Strydom explains that the digitisation of the PSSPF database has allowed it to take over the front office duties for this provident fund, which in turn has helped the company to more directly assist individual fund members.

“From our front office work and in the process of administering these complex sectoral funds, we have found several trends in non-compliance from employers, and this has led to frustration and confusion from employees. We hope our efforts of bringing information closer to the individual pension fund holders will help curb this non-compliance,” says Strydom.

The information available to each pension fund member includes information on members’ choice of investment strategy, information on their contributions – independent of their employer – and the way in which they can resolve any disputes, from direct access to the fund to complaints lodged with the Pension Funds Adjudicator.

“We note with concern the high number of complaints lodged by pension fund members of all pension funds to the Pension Funds Adjudicator. We hope that our efforts and the roll-out of our digital terminals will assist in educating members and resolving many of the complaints that are lodged with the PFA,” says Strydom.