When an employer decides to switch their employees retirement savings from a stand alone retirement fund/Umbrella fund to a different fund, the over riding decision needs to be based on the switch being in the best Interest of the fund members.
To give you an idea, in 2000 there were around 15 000 stand alone retirement funds (the fund being for the employees of a particular company only) whereas today, there are less than 3000.
As a result we now have large fund administration companies who manage the ,members and their contributions in order to lower the costs, but of course, not all fund administrators are equal and if you are dissatisfied with the service you are receiving from your fund administrator, there are mechanisms to make a formal complaint which should be adhered to in order to make sure that your query is dealt with.
As administrators of this website we receive many emails from fund members who are unsure of what happened to their retirement fund, from spouses/children of deceased fund members who have no idea how to go about funding the fund administrators of the stand alone fund since it was gobbled up by an umbrella fund.
There still seems to be a lot of confusion and we would urge anyone who is contributing to a fund, has a family member who is a contributor to a fund, to take steps to find out the following information:
- Fund name
- Fund number
- Fund administrators and their contact information
- Contributor number and employee number
- Set of the rules of the fund
Keep these documents safe and keep copies of payslips, letters of employment and fund statements so that you have all of the information at your fingertips when the need arises.
This is not only necessary for retirement funds but for all banking/invetsment related information and of course it is so important to have a will where you detail what happens to these assets/policies should you die. A bank will make a will for you for very little if any money, just be sure that you are able to nominate the executors, banks charge about 6% of the value of your estate to wind it up.
This consolidation of funds has spawned new industries like the “unclaimed benefits tracing” agencies which one needs to be really careful about. We often got emails from people saying that they have received emails or telephone calls from companies who claim to have located sums of money owing to them or a deceased family member which they are entitled to. Unfortunately, some of these operators are fake and dishonest and one should always check by asking for a landline number, checking with the FSB and of course, rule number one, never ever pay any money to anyone in order to receive money.