| 27 September 2022

PSDI drives establishment of Pacific 'Women in Superannuation' working group

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The Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI) has helped secure endorsement from some of the Pacific’s largest investment funds to establish a “Women in Superannuation” working group, and explore effective solutions to inclusion issues for retirement funds.

PSDI Economic Empowerment of Women Specialist Sarah Boxall and Financing Growth Specialist Jeremy Cleaver on 26 and 27 September attended the Pacific Islands Investment Forum's (PIIFAnnual Chief Executive Officer Forum in Auckland.

The event, the first held in person since 2019 due to COVID-19, brings together the Pacific’s provident funds, superannuation funds, sovereign wealth funds, and trust funds.

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Attendees of the PIIF Annual CEO Forum in Auckland. 

Ms Boxall and Mr Cleaver facilitated a plenary session at the event on women and their access to retirement benefits in the Pacific. Their presentation outlined how institutional arrangements can negatively impact Pacific women’s entitlements to retirement benefits as they grow older and retire. A PSDI report on the subject, “A Secure Retirement: Leveling the Playing Field for Women in the Pacific”, will be published in November 2022.

PIIF subsequently secured endorsement from its CEOto establish a “Women in Superannuation” working group, with participation from the Fiji National Provident Fund, Samoa National Provident Fund, Nasfund (PNG), and Tonga Retirement Fund Board.

The working group, which will be supported by PSDI, will assist PIIF members to:  

      • Develop a minimum standard for the collection and reporting of sex-disaggregated data. 
      • Conduct an audit of current legislation, policies, and practices to facilitate membership and voluntary contributions from those operating in the informal economy. 
      • Improve financial literacy and understanding of the benefits of retirement funds through outreach, awareness, and training programs. 

“Increasing the economic security of Pacific women in retirement should be a priority for governments and retirement funds alike,” Ms Boxall said. “PSDI is glad to support PIIF efforts to establish a working group to achieve this goal, and address women’s disadvantage.” 

“PSDI has provided technical assistance to various Pacific provident funds for some time, given their importance to social protection systems,Mr Cleaver said. “The establishment of a ‘Women in Superannuation’ working group is a valuable step in supporting Pacific retirement funds to provide for all members post-retirement.”

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From left to right: Cook Islands National Super Fund CEO Damien Beddoes, PSDI Economic Empowerment of Women Specialist Sarah Boxall, PSDI Financing Growth Specialist Jeremy Cleaver, and Cook Islands National Super Fund Investment Analyst Michelle Elia-Siloata.

PSDI is an Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance program in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand. It supports ADB’s 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth, including through reforms designed to enhance the economic empowerment of women. 

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.