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The impact of the decisions of pension fund trustees on socio-economic welfare of beneficiaries.

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The aim of this study was to find out the reasons why most of the time the decisions taken by the trustees are challenged by beneficiaries at the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator. Secondly, to engage with the sitting trustees in order to understand what they go through when discharging their duties and their thinking about the impact of their decisions on the socio-economic welfare of the beneficiaries. The focus of this study was confined to the nature of interaction between beneficiaries of pension funds living in the Greater Tubatse municipal area and trustees, services available to former members of the retirement funds found in the Greater Tubatse municipal area. Qualitative research methods in the form of interviewer-administered questionnaires were used for data collection. The sample size consisted of five widows, four retired members, a focus group consisting of four sitting pension fund trustees from Greater Tubatse municipal area, and one official from the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator. Only persons who reflected the appropriate characteristics of the sample members were chosen. Non-probability sampling was utilised to select the sample members. The study revealed a poor service being rendered by trustees to beneficiaries, disgruntled retired members of pension funds, as well as the difficulties and challenges under which trustees operate. Lastly, the most common matters referred to the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator for intervention, and what is considered to be the weakness of trustees. Among others it can be recommended as follows: that the Office of the Pension Funds Adjudicator be decentralised to be accessible to rural communities, regulation of support given to trustees to ensure uniformity, professionalisation of trusteeship, there should be consequences for trustees who ignore their duties, and educating members whilst still employed and the beneficiaries about the process of claiming death benefits.


Master’s degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.