Sanlam’s "Benchmark Survey" of retirement funds has turned 40, and it is clear that over that time a lot has changed for the better. Forty years ago, Sanlam Corporate CEO Kanyisa Mkhize points out, a quarter of funds were not open to all races, and there were restrictions on the eligibility for women to join even the "open" funds. It was a paternalistic era when quite a few medical aids did not provide maternity benefits to unmarried women, for example.Some people look back nostalgically to those days as the era of the defined benefit (DB). This provided a guaranteed pension on retirement, whatever happened to market values. But there were major flaws to this. One was that it assumed that your employer remained in business to pay the pension. And the other was that increases were far from defined, and in an era where inflation touched 20%, the value of a pension could be quickly eroded.The biggest flaw was that people who left early usually left with their own contributions and none...

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