The Government Institutions Pension Fund (GIPF) is aware of the outbreak of the coronavirus (Covid-19) and has taken the necessary precautions to protect its staff members by encouraging them to practice best hygienic methods such as washing their hands with soap regularly, applying alcohol-based hand sanitisers and wearing of protective gear such as masks and gloves where necessary.
In addition, GIPF has set aside adequate assets and risk reserves totalling some N$25.9 billion to ensure that the liabilities are not understated, and that the fund can pay the promised benefits as they fall due. These reserves provide the necessary cushion in times such as these.
In a statement this week, GIPF’s chief executive officer, David Nuyoma, said the fund highly recommends that walk-in clients reduce the risks of unnecessarily exposing themselves to the virus by making use of customer care telephone lines (061 – 205 1000) and e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) unless they wish to visit the fund’s offices for services warranting a member’s physical presence such as having to claim for funeral benefits.
“To adhere to the President of Namibia, His Excellency Hage Geingob’s directive of no travels internationally, GIPF has also discouraged all travels locally and internationally, and has minimised meetings with external stakeholders at the GIPF offices,” read Nuyoma’s statement.
He added that on the investment front, GIPF has taken cognisance of the threat and significant market volatility caused by Covid-19 and the impact it has had on global financial markets.
Said Nuyoma: “As a long-term investor, GIPF will not make any rushed investment decisions in light of this virus.
In order to control the effect of market fluctuations such as currency movements during these volatile times, the board has proactively taken protective measures such as currency hedges. We continue monitoring the markets and will take any other necessary mitigating actions as and when it becomes necessary.
The diversified nature of our investments and income streams in terms of asset allocation is another risk mitigating measure the Fund has in place. Above all, the fund has a liability-driven strategy that is comprised of a robust Asset Liability Modelling (ALM) process.”
Nuyoma explained that the ALM further feeds into the risk and return parameters known as the Strategic Asset Allocation (SAA), which GIPF as a long-term investor uses to implement its investment philosophy. The ALM process allows the fund to adapt to prevailing economic market conditions, relative to its liabilities, and factors in variables that will ensure that GIPF does not only safe-guard the assets of the fund, but also grow them through investing in return-seeking investment opportunities.