Since the private sector is required to raise or grow its own capital to achieve its business ends, it is often at the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to delivery in South Africa.
This is especially the case with Alexander Forbes Trust and Beneficiary Fund Services, which is constantly developing innovative ways to ensure that over 42 000 largely disadvantaged children successfully receive the death benefits of their parents. Through beneficiary funds, Alexander Forbes Trust and Beneficiary Fund Services offer support, education and career guidance that enables these children to transform their lives, despite having lost one or both parents.
Alexander Forbes Trust and Beneficiary Fund Services is responsible for the management of over R2,7 billion in assets received from over 500 retirement funds and employee benefit schemes following the death of members. According to Bonga Mokoena, Head: Institutional Cluster, Alexander Forbes Financial Services, it ensures that surviving children benefit from their parent’s investment and reach their full potential, as their parents would have wished.
Getting this right, however, has brought Mokoena and his team face to face with many of the development and transformation hurdles that so many South Africans seeking to break out of the cycle of poverty and dependence encounter. What differentiates how this private sector initiative manages the funds under its care, however, is “that we focus on achieving improved life outcomes for the individual children concerned by focusing on education and career guidance, as well growing the benefits through active investment,” says Mokoena.
So, instead of just handing the funds over to whoever is legally recognised as the child’s caregiver, Trust Services releases the funds in a controlled and monitored process to ensure that each child realises their full educational potential.
This is why, beyond education, Alexander Forbes Trust and Beneficiary Fund Services collaborates with other interested stakeholders to provide career guidance to their 42 000 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are learners. This career guidance often benefits other learners in the same schools, broadening the footprint of this initiative.
While funds are often disbursed to guardians for items such as educational expenses, food and clothing, this is always done on a discretionary basis, relying heavily on a personal knowledge of each child’s particular circumstances and needs.
In this way Alexander Forbes’ Trust and Beneficiary Fund business is ultimately about people. “We are privileged and honoured to impact the lives of beneficiaries by strategically guiding guardians to help beneficiaries escape South Africa’s poverty, illiteracy and lack of skills traps – unlocking wealth and transforming lives in the process” says Mokoena.