One announcement in Wednesday’s budget that attracted relatively little attention was what was, in effect, the first liberalisation in exchange-control rules for South African institutional investors in eight years. The move is a welcome expression of confidence by SA and it should be to the benefit of the savers, pensioners and policyholders whose money institutional investors invest. These rules have long ceased to be exchange controls, technically speaking, and are rather prudential regulations that lay down the proportion of their assets that institutional investors such as pension and provident funds can hold offshore. With the budget, Treasury announced that the limits for retirement funds would be increased to 30%, from 25%, while the limits for collective investment schemes – such as unit trusts – and investment managers would be increased from 35% to 40%. Over and above this is an allowance for investment into the rest of Africa, which is to be increased from 5% to 10% — so...

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