On 1 March 2019, regulations 37, 38 and 39 to the Pension Fund Act came into effect. These significantly increased the responsibilities of retirement fund trustees.
In addition to having the default investment, preservation and annuity strategies in place, trustees now need to ensure that their members know and understand them. They must have a Retirement Benefit Counselling (RBC) strategy in place.
In terms of the law, Retirement Benefit Counselling must take place
- When a new member joins the fund
- When a member leaves the fund
- When a member retires from the fund
In terms of Section 7C of the Pensions Funds act, a key responsibility of retirement fund trustees is “to ensure that the interests of members …are protected at all times”.
A proper retirement benefit counselling strategy can ensure that these interests are protected and that members make the right decisions.