Industry experts convene to discuss diversification strategies for pension funds

Mr. Afriyie Oware, the Chief Executive Officer of Axis Pension Trust

On Friday March 17th 2023, stakeholders from across the pension and financial services industry gathered for the fifth edition of the Pension Strategy Conference; an annual industry-shaping and policy advocacy event in Ghana.

This year’s Pension Strategy Conference presented a platform for investment managers to showcase exciting and innovative investment opportunities that offer pension funds with diversification prospects.

With a number of pension funds facing liquidity challenges in the wake of the domestic debt exchange program, event participants acknowledged the failure of prevailing strategies to allocate capital efficiently and believed that this year’s conference will be a watershed moment in the pension industry. More than 150 investment professionals and pension industry stakeholders attended the event, held at the Fiesta Royale Hotel in Accra.

In his opening remarks Mr. Afriyie Oware, the Chief Executive Officer of Axis Pension Trust, welcomed participants to the conference, which he believed was “ultimately a call to action to rectify the shortcomings within the industry and safeguard the pension contributions of members”.

He remarked that even though the past editions of the Conference have featured speakers who underscored the importance of diversifying pension assets away from Government of Ghana risk, there has been an observed lack of action from asset owners.

Mr. Afriyie Oware posited that this inaction can be attributed to limited information on available investment opportunities for diversification.

In his remarks, Mr Afriyie Oware said “this year’s conference will fill that gap and remove the aforementioned impediment to achieving the ultimate objective of empowering Ghanaian workers to achieve financial peace of mind in retirement”.

Delivering the keynote address at the conference, Kojo Amoo-Gottfried, Chief Investment Officer of Black Stars Investments, emphasized the need for pension funds to diversify their portfolios and look beyond traditional investments such as government securities.

Mr. Amoo-Gottfried delved into the effects of the domestic debt exchange on pension funds, strategies for managing risks in the current economic landscape and approaches for optimizing returns while ensuring long-term sustainability. He further stated that “diversification alone is not enough” and encouraged pension asset owners to “focus on the quality of our investments.

This means selecting assets that have a proven track record of strong returns, as well as those that align with our values and ethics”.

Other conference speakers, including Matthew Adjei Boadu, Mirabelle Moreaux, Justin Maloney and other investment professionals, showcased innovative and locally brewed solutions to reduce pension funds’ exposure to government risk. The conference also featured an interactive panel discussion moderated by Bernard Avle, a renowned Ghanaian Journalist.

The discussion tackled critical issues and opportunities facing pension funds in today’s economic climate. Panelists included representatives from pension fund trustees and leading pension fund management firms. The Pension Strategy Conference 2023 was widely praised by participants for its informative as well as thought-provoking discussions and its contribution to promoting best practices in the pension industry.

Pension Strategy Conference 2023

The Pension Strategy Conference is an annual event that brings together pension trustees and asset owners, regulators, policymakers and other stakeholders to discuss strategies for navigating the changing landscape of pension fund management. The conference provides a platform for experts to share insights, best practices, and innovative ideas for managing pension funds in the current economic climate.

This year’s conference was held under the theme “Positioning Pension Funds to Thrive beyond the Domestic Debt Exchange”. Conference participants discussed the impact of the domestic debt exchange program on pension funds and explored innovative investment strategies to optimize pension fund returns. The conference was organized by Axis Pension Trust, in partnership with CFA Society Ghana, Injaro Investments, IC Asset Managers, Sentinel Asset Managers, Oasis Capital Limited, Stanbic Investment Management Services and Blackstar Advisors.

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