The pension fund that looks after R2-trillion on behalf of government workers may shift hundreds of billions of rand offshore as it seeks to reduce its dependence on the local market. "The biggest change we want to realise is to be more diversified," Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) principal officer Abel Sithole said in an interview this week. The primary reason would be to look for returns uncorrelated to the fortunes of the country, he said. The fund hoped to put in place a new strategic asset allocation framework in coming months, he said. While large-scale selling by an investor accounting for about 18% of the JSE could destabilise the market, for workers, and taxpayers who back their pensions, diversification could boost returns and offer a level of protection from a local market that has been hit by a shrinking economy. Offshore investment may also give the fund access to a wider pool of professional investors, reducing its cost of investing and boosting returns to me...

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