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Taking care of Pensioners

Taking care of Pensioners
BIG BOSS: Malindah

This week, Meet the Boss meets Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Moemedi Malindah.

With a background in Mining, the 44-year-old Gaborone native has proved himself a diamond in the investment world, rising through the ranks to lead the country’s largest pension fund, which turned 20 this year.

In this interview, Malindah reflects on a year of growth for BPOPF, growth that is all the more impressive considering the tough economic climate Covid-19 has created.

Briefly take us through your professional journey?

I started my career in the Mining sector as an engineer.

I moved to infrastructure development, leading numerous projects in Botswana as the engineer in charge.

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I subsequently moved into investment management starting as a Mining Analyst.

I had short stint at the Regulatory Authority and then joined BPOPF sometime in 2010, starting off as the Investment Manager, promoted to Head of Investment and then CEO.

What would you describe as the highlight of your career to date?

It will be my full CV.

There are too many to mention, but achieving an outcome that was intended or even surpassing expectations is always a highlight for me.

And the lowest point?

Having an investment under my care go under statutory management.

Regarding the Fund, how has it fared during Covid-19?

Despite the onslaught of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020/2021 financial year turned out to be a great year as the Fund’s investments grew by more than 20 percent following the negative 1 percent of the 2019/2020 financial year.

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What is more exciting, that we would like our members to appreciate, is the effective annual return over the 20 years of the Fund’s existence.

Wow, that’s impressive! So exactly how did BPOPF ride the Covid storm?

The Covid-19 pandemic was one of the biggest disruptors that the global landscape has experienced.

Prior to this, when we were dealing with a lot of unknowns, it was easier to decide to move assets to where it was deemed safe.

However, with its conviction to the investment strategy, the Board of Trustees took a contrarian view of being fully invested and continued to actively invest as per the strategy.

Ultimately, this approach paid-off significant dividends for the Fund.

What is the total value of BPOPF’s Assets Under Management (AUM) [the total market value of the assets that a mutual fund manages at a given point in time], and how much of that is invested locally and offshore?

As at end of September 2021, total AUM was BWP 88.3 billion (67 percent offshore and 33 percent onshore).

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BPOPF recently appointed NMG Administrators as Fund Administrators, what impact has this had on operations?

We outsourced Fund administration services to NMG Botswana in June.

At the time we had a huge backlog of claims that fell outside our service standards.

NMG Botswana was able to substantially clear the backlog.

That notwithstanding, we are still faced with the challenge of a high number of claims that are pending, members’ settlement of their tax affairs with the Tax authorities.

We continue to appeal to our members to do the needful in this regard.

There have been some teething issues during the on boarding phase, resulting in slow service delivery by the administrator.

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These issues are being resolved through collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders, being: the Fund, Fund Administrators, BURS and the Employer (Government), and we anticipate that service delivery will continuously improve.

The outcome of these collaborative efforts will be evident to our members and stakeholders to see and experience from January 2022 and beyond.

We are already experiencing that turnaround as we look at our September/October numbers.

What kind of investments opportunities is BPOPF currently looking at?

In active pursuit of its investment strategy, the Fund’s main focus is currently on the implementation of the local alternative investment program.

That is: Botswana infrastructure investments, local direct properties and we have appointed private equity managers who are actively pursuing private equity investments in Botswana.

And finally, on a personal note, away from work, what keeps you busy?

Being a Father – in the natural and spiritual.

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PERSONAL PROFILE

FULL NAMES: Moemedi Malindah
PLACE OF BIRTH: Gaborone
DATE OF BIRTH: 07 August 1977
MENTORS: Numerous, spanning different areas
DREAM HOLIDAY DESTINATION: All exciting areas I haven’t visited in Botswana
CAR DRIVING: My wife’s car
FAVOURITE FOOD: Bogobe and Seswaa

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