South Africa

PIC dismisses Nedbank and Old Mutual asset problems

The Public Investment Corporation (PIC) released a press statement, saying it has become aware of a highly contentious disinformation campaign – “Insolvency of the GEPF”.

The campaign is focussed on alleged multi-billion-rand legal claims against the portfolio of assets of the Government Employees Pension Fund (GEPF) and found traction on social media.

The PIC manages the Government Employees Pension Fund.

At the heart of the allegations is the assertion that an affiliate or subsidiary of Nedbank has been engaged in bad business practices in the UK and the United States.

These bad business practices, the campaign said, will give rise to the claimed financial liability.

Nedbank, which was previously associated with Old Mutual, refuted the claims. Old Mutual also refuted the allegations.

The PIC, on behalf of the GEPF, is an investor in the listed shares of Old Mutual and Nedbank.

It is solely upon this fact that the PIC and the GEPF are connected to the allegations and the conclusions reached. Old Mutual and Nedbank are limited liability companies.

Therefore, the PIC’s exposure, acting on behalf of the GEPF, to any claims against Old Mutual and Nedbank, assuming they are legitimate, is limited to their shareholding only.

It is the case with all investments in companies with limited liability globally.

Among the various allegations is a claim in the amount of £158 billion against the GEPF and the assertion that all South African state pensions will cease to exist due to such a claim.

Bantu Holomisa, president of the UDM, asked the GEPF, PIC, and Minister of Finance to clarify whether allegations that GEPF pensions are in serious danger were true.

He cited an email which referenced poor conduct by South African banks and the risk of bankruptcy of the PIC. He posted details on Twitter.

“There is simply no factual or legal basis for these assertions,” the PIC said.

The PIC has committed to engage any legitimate authority that has been enjoined to consider the matter.

Complaints detailing these allegations have been submitted to several regulatory and investigative bodies in South Africa, the UK and USA.

“As far as the PIC is aware, none of the regulatory and investigative bodies have confirmed the veracity of these allegations,” it said.

“The FSCA, after soliciting and obtaining information regarding the complaint, decided to close the matter. This indicates that there is no merit to these allegations.”

The PIC said it does not know the motive behind these allegations.

“We can only assure its clients and their beneficiaries, the public and other stakeholders that the allegations are false and that all its client assets are secure,” it said.