After hounding out the whistleblower who exposed Liberty Life’s disastrous pension fund cancellations programme, the insurer has sat on its hands.
It is extraordinary to see how pension industry insiders leap to defend insurance behemoth Liberty Life for its scandalous handling of the unlawful cancellation of hundreds of pension funds.
A recent investigative report by Open Secrets, “The Bottom Line”, revealed how Liberty accounted for 80% of the funds cancelled in an unlawful and error-strewn “cancellations process” run by the then Financial Services Board (FSB) up to 2013. Our report distinguished between the broader R50bn problem of unpaid pension benefits, and the worrying case of the pension funds cancellation.
The first category, unpaid benefits, is complex. It is the result of various factors, many of which are historical — for instance, apartheid’s migrant labour system and the fact that many pensioners, some with limited financial literacy, didn’t know they were contributing to a fund.