With all the revelations — or allegations — about the Public Investment Corporation’s (PIC’s) governance failures emerging at the Mpati commission, now might not have been the best time for its biggest client to make a pitch for investing in unlisted vehicles. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a bad idea. The Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) holds about R2-trillion of assets on behalf of state workers and has a fiduciary duty to those people, and taxpayers in general, who ultimately guarantee the defined benefit fund. Any moves governed by clear and strictly enforced rules that improve its performance are in everybody’s best interest. With the JSE having, in 2018, posted its biggest decline since the outbreak of the financial crisis, it’s only natural that the fund, which is also lobbying government to allow it to take more of its significant investment war chest offshore, to seek ways to improve its investment returns. The complication comes in when one considers tha...

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