Seychelles Pension Fund Symposium – Making SPF fit for the future

The Seychelles Pension Fund organized its first symposium at the International Conference Centre on Monday 30th January 2017. This was the last activity of its “10 for 10” campaign which started in January 2016, aimed at celebrating the 10th anniversary of the SPF. The title of the symposium was “Making SPF fit for the future” with special emphasis on discussing the ideal retirement age.

 

The event which was in 2 parts, started with four presentations from specialist speakers about the current state of the SPF and an outlook on the future of the organization. Mr. Sergio Biletsky, a social protection specialist with Pensions and Social Insurance Global solution Group of the Social Protection and Labor Practices at the World Bank outlined the requirements of a pension system. His presentation focused on promoting good pension scheme design and supporting reforms with financial modeling tools.  The second speaker was Ms. Martha Kelly, a pension advisor providing technical assistance to the Financial Services Authority (FSA). Her task is to develop a risk-based supervisory framework for the Seychelles Pension Fund and she provided an overview of SPF’s investments. Other speakers included the SPF’s actuary Mr. Chris Latham, who specializes in advice to retirement and accident compensation schemes. His presentation concentrated on the present health of the SPF and proposal on how to keep it sustainable for the future.  The SPF CEO, Mrs. Lekha Nair was on hand to run an overview of the SPF today to the 250 plus invitees in attendance. The main topics of interest of the symposium was “retirement age and the sustainability of the Fund”.

 

The second segment of the event was marked by a discussion on the ideal retirement age for Seychelles. Members of the public were invited to present their views on the issue, whilst a panel consisting of 8 professionals was on hand to guide their thinking with facts from their respective area of expertise. Ms. Helena De Letourdis provided an insight on statistics and demographic changes, supported by an input from the social affairs perspective from Mrs. Marie-Josee Bonne. Whilst Ms. Anaelle Bodwell presented findings from research she made from the youth segment on pension and reitrement, Mr. Willy Confait, presently retired assisted the discussion through his experience as a pension administrator stressing on sustainability of the Fund. Other pertinent inputs where provided from the legal and health viewpoint from professionals Mr. Bernard Georges and Dr. Meggy Louange. 

 

Members of the public was also accorded the opportunity through a question and answer session to clarify issues on SPF. It could be noted that members were very concerned about how the Fund could continue to be sustained at such minimal contributions of 4%. Most agreed with the experts proposal that an increase in contribution to 6% is now needed. It was also noted that people prefer flexibility on the age they retire. They favoured to be given the freedom to choose. While some agreed that the retirement age should increase others disagreed preferring that it should remain as it is. Members also pointed out that the Fund should carry out meetings on a district level to get more inputs from other members.

 

In conclusion the symposium was a great success. The need to increase contributions and what should be the ideal retirement age is still debatable. So what do you as a member think should be the ideal retirement age?? The debate goes on.