Ian Tarutia, CEO, National Superannuation Fund (nasfund)
How super funds can fuel economic growth in Papua New Guinea
In this Global Platform video, Ian Tarutia, CEO of the National Superannuation Fund (nasfund), discusses how super funds are helping the economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially as their investment plays an important role in preventing job losses, encouraging sustainable economic development and positioning Papua New Guinea as an attractive investment destination. In the coming years nasfund hopes to play a larger role in mobilising investment that capture a larger portion of the population in rural areas and ensure adhesion to environmental, social and governance criteria in its investment decisions.
Super funds can make the most immediate impact on society, especially in the context of economic recovery. A lot of businesses – especially in the aviation, hospitality, and retail sectors – were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Immediate intervention by super funds will ensure that investment continues to be sustainable and that there are no job losses, and people continue to be employed and their contributions towards retirement are maintained.
The fund is at a juncture where it has a balanced portfolio with a mix of Investments held domestically and offshore. As you know, in the investment cycle some investments will survive and will always make a return, while some investments will always be subject to the vagrancies of the market.
Pandemic-related challenges from 2020 to 2022 have shaped the fund’s investment strategy by getting boards and management to consciously think of investment in the health space. The fund is now looking at health-related opportunities, whether they are investment in health facilities or in entities that provide health services to not only members but to the people of Papua New Guinea.
Corporate leaders can increase investment awareness and education among both current and new investors by participating in business and investment fora and exhibitions.
It is important to showcase our offerings in terms of our natural resources and shape government policy to make PNG an attractive investment destination.
In this day and age environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues have risen to the fore. It now influences the investment philosophy of superannuation funds. Investment that also takes into account environmental or social considerations and are coming into play, not only here in PNG but offshore as well.
When framing investment guidelines, in the fund’s case, that is currently under discussion will be built into the investment philosophy and guidelines going forwards.
In the next 20 years the fund can play a more nation-building role in terms of its investment portfolio as a mobiliser of members’ funds, currently sitting at just over PNGK6bn in net assets.
It can also play a more important role in agriculture and investment opportunities that capture a larger portion of our people in rural areas.
The universal way to do things and in a more impactful and meaningful way for PNG is there. It requires the will of nasfund leadership and obviously the government to work together to achieve this.