Pension surplus query

A Fin24 user wonders if he is still entitled to part of a possible pension surplus of the now defunct Trust Bank. He writes:

With regards to the above, I recently perused an article on your website on Standard Bank and any possible top-ups.

My concern revolves around my employment with the now defunct Trust Bank (now part of Absa ).

I was notified in 2000 that they were proceeding to pay out those members who either resigned or were retrenched.

Unfortunately, in 2002 I was informed that there were no surpluses to disburse.

I also worked for Standard Bank, which also initially declared there were no surpluses, only to reconsider and say that there were funds available to disburse which I eventually received.

However in Trust Bank’s case, despite my attempts to contact their pension department they have prevaricated.

Can you kindly advise if they are still obliged to pay us? I only received my own contributions.

I am aware that Sanlam made illegal borrowings from the fund.

Richard Tyler, managing director of Simeka Consultants & Actuaries, responds:

In terms of the Fin24 user’s question as to whether Trust Bank is still obliged to pay him, I would suggest that he make a formal inquiry to the fund.

The law required every fund to do an investigation and where appropriate, to do a surplus apportionment exercise.

Whether or not a fund had surplus to distribute depended on the specifics of that fund.

A fund is legally required to respond to members' enquiries relating to a surplus and should they refuse/neglect to do so, they can be compelled by the adjudicator or even by the Financial Services Board.

The fact that he only received his own contributions points to a typical old style, defined benefit fund which operated in this fashion in the past. The law has since changed.

If membership was terminated before December 7 2001, the Fin24 user would unfortunately have missed out on the benefits of the new law.

We have no knowledge of any borrowing from the fund by Sanlam.

 - Fin24

*For more information, also read Pension surplus: get your own back

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