According to well-known and internationally respected economist Mike Schussler, speaking on The Big Liberty Showhas, warned that the ANC’s planned prescribed assets policy will give politicians control of private pension funds and where this money is invested.
The policy of prescribed assets was introduced in the ANC’s 2019 election manifesto where it states it will: “Investigate the introduction of prescribed assets on financial institutions’ funds to mobilise funds within a regulatory framework for socially productive investments…”
MyBroadBand.co.za reports that in simple terms, this means that financial institutions will be forced to invest a certain percentage of their assets in certain sectors or companies prescribed by the government.
Funding of bankrupt SOEs
The website quotes Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka who said prescribed assets are a blunt instrument and that the ANC has only engaged minimally with the asset management industry about the plan.
She said while it can fill the immediate gap in the funding of bankrupt SOEs, it will also divert investments away from the funding of corporates that create jobs and contribute to growing the economy.
“It will also affect the revenue derived from the taxation of such corporates, so what is taken to fill one bucket empties another,” said Wierzycka.
Allan Gray strategist Sandy McGregor warned that prescribed assets lead to an inefficient allocation of capital.
He added that a prescribed assets policy will drive away international investment as investing in local assets will result in suboptimal returns.
Prescribed assets are very dangerous
Schussler said a prescribed assets policy typically means that the return on people’s investments is lower than what it should be.
He said the government will have the ability the invest people’s pension money into failing companies like Eskom and SAA, which can result in big losses.
He added that the prescribed assets will be misused by the ANC government in the name of things like black economic empowerment (BEE) and development.
“Prescribed assets is a very dangerous thing for people, and I think young people do not always realise it,” he said.