‘Board needs people who know about investment’

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The Fiji National Provident Fund board needs people who know about investments and not people who are simply employee reps, says Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum.

He was responding to queries from this newspaper about the absence of workers’ representatives on the FNPF board when the Fiji Trade Union Congress reps were removed.

“I can give you a whole list of purchases for investment that were done by FNPF where you had in those days, employee reps, employer reps and government reps,” he said.

“They went into investment schemes with people who were undischarged bankrupt from Europe. “There’s a whole report written on this.”

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said FNPF was the largest investment organisation in Fiji.

“The idea is that you need people who know how to do investments, because the ultimate objective is that employees, in other words, the members of FNPF, get a rate of return on their savings.

“They get a rate of return on their pension, the future pension. “You don’t want the money to finish.

“You don’t want the money to be invested in ventures that will lose money.

“So you see this whole mantra having people or representatives, what they should be saying, are the people on the board do they have the right skill sets to be able to make those financial decisions.

“You as a member of FNPF want to make sure that your money is invested in a secure way. Not invested in some dodgy investment with people who are making the decision actually don’t know how to make a financial decision — don’t have any experience whatsoever.

“If Fiji Airways provides them an opportunity to invest when the share price is low and you know that the share price will escalate as a result of Fiji Airways now flying more and more, the share price will increase so it’s a windfall for them.”