Riscura loses multi-million BPOPF contract

• Tender given to Alexander Forbes

Riscura loses multi-million BPOPF contract
GABORONE 2 September 2020, Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF) presents the 2020 year-end financial performance of the fund and the general state of the fund admin in Gaborone on 2 September 2020. (BPOPF) chairman Solomon Mantswe, BPOPF principal officer Moemedi Malindah and A Gabana were present during the event. Mantswe and Gabana during the event. (Pic: MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO)

Riscura, a South African investment advisory firm, has lost a multi-million investment advisory contract with the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), The Business Weekly & Review can reveal.

Infact, Riscura’s contract with BPOPF has expired and BPOPF will not be renewing it. In an interview, BPOPF’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Moemedi Malinda, responded to a question thus: “Regarding the Riscura contract, it is not true that the Fund has terminated the services of Riscura. The agreement with the service provider came to an end in line with the duration in the agreement.”

Malinda noted that the contract has ended. Quizzed on whether the contract will be renewed or not, the BPOPF boss responded: “Due to confidentiality agreements with our service providers, we are limited on the level of details we can provide about their engagements, save to disclose the names of the service providers.”

The Business Weekly & Review also asked Thembi Matabiswana, Riscura Senior Consultant based in Botswana, to confirm if indeed the contract has ended and whether it will be extended or not. Further, this publication wanted her to state what they believe they helped BPOPF achieve under their advisory. By press time, Matabiswana had not responded to the email sent to her.

Interestingly though, this publication has established that the Riscura tender has been given to Alexander Forbes Botswana. Alexander Forbes is not new to the dealings of the BPOPF. Alexander Forbes previously held a Fund administration contract with the BPOPF, but the contract was terminated around September 2015 for reasons that were never disclosed. At a later stage it emerged that there was a P1.5 billion audit query. 

In response to the allegations of that P1.5 billion audit query at the time, the BPOPF said; “During 2016, the BPOPF insourced fund administration which resulted in a large transfer of data from Alexander Forbes to the Fund. It is not uncommon during transitions such as these that data discrepancies occur and then have to be reconciled. The Board is currently investigating such a data discrepancy between the March 2016 and March 2017 actuarial valuations. An independent actuary has been engaged to determine the final position.” However BPOPF at the time assured the public that no funds were missing. Six years later, Alexander Forbes has landed another multi-million Pula BPOPF contract after the rejection of Riscura.

Riscura, the South African asset and investment consulting firm was awarded the multi-million contract to offer investment advisory services to BPOPF in June 2017. The firm operates as an independent investment advisory business in South Africa and has expanded into an international firm. Its primary role was provision of objective third-party advice to enable the board of trustees at BPOPF to make well-informed decisions regarding investment of the fund’s assets.

In its profiles, Riscura says it enriches its investment advice with a unique management consultancy approach, complementing its independent position with specialised operational support, identifying challenges and opportunities, making practical recommendations and assisting with the ever-shifting operational demands of the global investment environment. Riscura brags that it has over $200 billion in client funds under its advice.

In 2017, the firm was given the contract after BPOPF chose not to renew a similar contract with another South African investment advisory firm, Novare Actuaries & Consultants South Africa, which had been appointed by BPOPF as its asset and investment consultant sometime in 2013, then under the leadership of then interim-leader, Lesedi Moakofhi. Novare’s contract ended in 2016, and the BPOPF board of trustees failed to reach a quorum regarding whether to renew the contract of Novare or not.

According to sources, the same fate has befallen Riscura. It is said that some members of the board of BPOPF trustees are not convinced about Riscura’s performance, hence the decision not to renew.