The Sagicor Pension Investment Fund’s Annual Seminar was held on Tuesday, February 21 at the Jamaica Conference Center under the theme ‘Fuelling Economic Growth’ where President and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica Ltd, Richard Byles announced that the Pooled Pension Fund is earning US$140 Million per annum while employing nearly 4,000 people.
According to Byles, “Sagicor’s pension clients earn US$140 Million per annum for Jamaica and to put that into context, for 2015 the sugar industry earned US$53.8 Million while Bauxite earnedUS$129.9 Million. Our Pension Investment Fund is outperforming sugar and bauxite and every penny of that is owned by Jamaicans,”
The earnings announced by Byles was a result of Sagicor’s investments in overseas securities and the acquisition of 2,000 hotel rooms. Byles also pointed out that many countries have benefited from pension fund investments, most notable being Chile, where pension fund assets amount to 64% of GDP, while Jamaica is approximately 24%. Byles continued “while pensions investments can certainly fuel economic growth, let me be clear in saying, at Sagicor our paramount duty is to do our best, within the bounds of the regulations, to provide our clients with a living pension,” Byles explained.
Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Most Hon. Andrew Holness delivered the key note address at the Seminar in which he mentioned projections indicate that by 2050 the elderly will be 25% of the total population.
“Falling birth rates and longer life expectancy compel us to re-examine our policies and practices, particularly retirement planning which is critical to securing our future, quality life. We need to find ways to utilize pension funds that exist now in such a way that they are attached to the right investments. Presently most of our pension funds are tied into government bonds and this is not ideal, as pension funds are best tied to long term income generating investments. So part of the Government’s economic strategy is to figure out how to get pension funds matched to, long term, real investments such as infrastructure and real estate, and that conversation has already been started,” indicated Holness.
Prime Minister Holness also used to Seminar to signal the intent of the Government of Jamaica to alter policies, in the near future, to facilitate and promote a better allocative efficiency in terms of investment and pension funds’ assets structure so that they align more with the investment infrastructure thrust of the Government.
The Seminar also focused on new investment strategies to be pursued and addressed the importance of pensions and retirement planning. The economic outlook for 2017 was also discussed along with pending legislative changes and topical issues affecting pension plans or members.
About Sagicor Group Jamaica
Sagicor Group Jamaica is a financial services conglomerate. The Group offers products and services in the areas of Banking, Insurance, Investments, Real Estate, Asset Management and Retirement Planning. Sagicor Life Jamaica Limited is the leading Life and Health insurance provider in Jamaica. The Company commenced operations in 1970 as Life of Jamaica Limited, the first locally owned life insurance company and the first life insurance company to be listed on the JSE. The Sagicor Group owns the 3rd largest bank in Jamaica and is one of the top Investments Companies. Sagicor Group Jamaica is a member of the wider Sagicor Financial Corporation. Sagicor Financial Corporation operates in over 20 countries and its operations date back to 1840.