Public Service Pensions Fund Assets Surpass US$1 Billion
The Public Service Pensions Board (PSPB) took some giant strides in 2020 achieving notable investment and administration milestones.
Presenting the PSPB 2020 annual report in Parliament, Deputy Governor and Head of the Civil Service, Hon. Franz Manderson revealed that the PSPB’s assets reached an impressive US$1.193 billion as at 31 December 2020. In addition, the PSPB achieved a return of 15.5% on the PSPB Fund while the Fund grew by US$170 million in 2020.
Despite facing the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, the PSPB also achieved a number of administration milestones during the year. The Deputy Governor emphasised, “During one of the most challenging years throughout the world, the PSPB responded in a successful manner in both operations and investment growth. In a year where it would have been easy to blame a pandemic for any shortfall, the Cayman Islands benefitted from a sound and ethical response from leaders in the country to ensure that our citizens were protected and further, that a pension provider, like the PSPB could continue to thrive during unprecedented times.”
He said, “Strong investment returns were not just a result of a market that rebounded in 2020; they were also a direct result of the increased investment management and oversight that led to a much quicker recovery from the pandemic recession than the industry peers of the PSPB. With that, the Fund ended the year ahead of its investment fund policy benchmark by 1.2%.
“Further to these gains, the quarterly credited rates of return applied to member accounts in 2020 were all positive and it demonstrates that the investment approach of smoothing any market volatility benefits our plan members.”
Throughout the year, the PSPB enhanced its administration capabilities to make the Authority more client oriented by signing a contract on 30 April 2020 with an external provider to deliver a new customised pension administration system. “This partnership paved the way for work to begin on developing a new system that will allow the PSPB to enhance Member Services,” Mr. Manderson said.
The PSPB also delivered on the Government policy to increase the pension payments of long-serving retired public servants to align minimum pensions with the level of poor relief. Having partnered with the Portfolio of the Civil Service on this initiative, PSPB assessed eligibility and helped implement the new minimum pension threshold of $850 per month for pensioners in 2020. This minimum was increased to $950 in 2021.
Additionally in 2020, the PSPB administered over 1,000 Ex-Gratia and Ex-Gratia Uplift payments on a monthly basis.
The PSPB received an unqualified opinion for the financial statements for the year that were submitted to the Auditor General. It also met all statutory deadlines in preparing, submitting and completing the audit of the financial statements.
Deputy Governor Manderson welcomed the appointment of Mr. Bryan Bothwell, a Caymanian stalwart with 35 years in the financial industry, as a director of the PSPB.
“Mr. Bothwell’s background in audit and governance is helping to shape the ongoing focus and delivery of the PSPB Board’s Audit and Risk Committee, which he chairs,” he commented.
For their impressive work and attaining the US$1 billion milestone, the Deputy Governor thanked Chief Executive Officer Ms Jewel Evans-Lindsey and her team, Board Chairperson Ms Sheree Ebanks and “distinguished Members of the Board of Directors for their commitment and sound leadership”.
The PSPB as part of its remit manages three separate plans: The Public Service Pensions Plan, the Parliamentary Pensions Plan and the Judicial Pensions Plan. It also administers ex-gratia pension payments that are directly funded by the Government.
Submitted by: Government Information Services (GIS, CIG)