The more than 100 pension fund Trustees are in an ongoing two-day Sanlam Investments East Africa Conference in Malindi to gauge the pandemic’s impact on the market. The Trustees will also share lesson learnt and strategize on how to shield the market from further impact.

The Trustees have been urged to diversify their investments in a bid to help the sector recover from the negative economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking at the Conference in Malindi, Capital Markets Authority Chief Executive Wykcliffe Shamiah has urged the funds to retool their investment portfolio to maximize returns.

Sanlam Investments CSEO Jonathan Stichbury added, “The sector is yet to recover from losses incurred during the pandemic hence the need to make sustainable investments in the proposed new asset classes. We are looking at diversifying client funds to new investment areas like property, infrastructure bonds, and sustainable developments projects”

The Kenyan pension fund sector is the biggest in the region with over 1.4 trillion shillings worth of savings invested in various asset classes. Last year, pensions recorded increased withdrawals and surrenders due to reduced revenue collected and increased job losses brought about by the pandemic.

The conference brings together over 100 pension funds from the East Africa region to explore other investments other than traditional asset classes.

Kenya Pension Funds Investments Consortium Head of Secretariat Ngatia Kirungie underscored the need of migrating to new opportunities particularly in the infrastructure sector as it offers competitive returns. Kirungie encouraged the sector to invest more in infrastructure and property that is currently dominated by foreign actors.

The reopening of the economy and new COVID-19 mitigation measures are expected to help in the acceleration of economic growth, which will aid in the recovery of the pension industry. President Uhuru Kenyatta recently lifted the 10 PM to 4 am curfew on reduced COVID-19 infections. This is expected to inject more impetus to the business recovery in Kenya.