THE Retirement Fund for Local Authorities and Utility Services in Namibia (RFLAUN) recently embarked on a rebranding exercise.
Confidente’s Hilary Mare (HM) spoke to RFLAUN Principal Executive Officer, Dorian Amwaandangi (DA), who shed more light on the latest developments at the fund.
HM: Tell us more about your work as RFLAUN’s Principal Executive Officer (PEO). What does your job entail?
DA: According to the Pension Fund Act, every registered fund should have a PEO to administer it and report on its operations. The PEO job entails ensuring that the fund complies with the Pension Fund Act and the Income Tax Act, as well as the Receiver of Revenue and Namibia Financial Institutions Supervisory Authority (NAMFISA) regulations. My job is to ensure that the fund’s rules, policies and procedures continue to comply with all legal requirements and that it acquires the certificates of registration and approval from the Registrar of Pension Funds and the Commissioner of Inland Revenue. My job is to make sure that the financial, actuarial and investment reports reflect the true position of the fund and that they are submitted to the regulator. My responsibility to the members is to provide them with fund information, while educating them about the benefits they are entitled to. I supervise the fund’s human capital and outsourced functions, namely its investment consultant, fund administrator, benefit consultant, actuary, asset manager, auditor and dependent trust functions. I also communicate and build relationships with the relevant authorities, members and service providers.
As the PEO, I am the official representative of the fund to its board of trustees, the regulator and stakeholders. I am also the sole signatory to all authorised fund documents.
HM: What inspired the rebranding?
DA: This wasn’t a decision we made lightly, but rather, we were guided by the board of trustees, who after careful consideration, initiated the process via management to re-evaluate the brand position of RFLAUN. As such, we embarked on the process of conducting a brand audit, to aid in crafting the new identity.
We know that many institutions in our industry, both within this country and beyond, have developed their own brand initiatives and rebranded themselves, in an effort to remain competitive. A global director for an organisation called Interbrand, recently said, ‘If places do not proactively and positively manage their brands, they will fall victim to the market defining who and what they are. This is usually inaccurate and unfair.’ Therefore, our new brand strategy is about combating those perceptions and telling our own stories.
We undertook an extensive assessment of stakeholder perception, in terms of our brand, as well as our service delivery and the effectiveness of the communication channels used by the fund. During this phase, we made a few discoveries, such as our old logo, which we are discontinuing today, because it’s causing confusion and is being mistaken for that of a government agency or political party, due to its design and colours. Our brand was not top-of-mind and awareness was low, and not at the desired level. It was very obvious that we were not being smart about how we were promoting ourselves, and therefore a change was absolutely required.
Another factor which played a major role, and influenced the decision to rebrand, was the evolution of our fund over the past 25 years. We realised it was time to claim our rightful position in the dynamic pension industry.
HM: Can you explain the concept behind this new brand identity?
DA: The new identity is made up of symbols that relate and reference what the fund stands for.
The Shield: All covered by the strongest symbol of protection, and security.
The Sky: You can look at the future with anticipation. And it’s comforting to know that someday, as old as you are, you will be able to look back, and have a little more clarity on why certain things in life happen. RFLAUN offers you that comfort.
The Circle: Finding peace and continuity as a guaranteed future is the greatest wealth in this world. A circle is a symbol that contains all of this wealth.
Dunes & Welwitschia: A nation with pride works together to build and develop itself. Pride knows no shame and one will always embrace their country and origin.
HM: What do you seek to achieve in the short and medium-term?
DA: Our focus is to aggressively communicate the brand change to our stakeholders, and at the same time, educate the country about the fund. The fund’s visibility has been one of the challenging factors faced previously, but we intent to overcome that with the new strategies implemented.
We are aware of market performance and the impact it has on our investments, but as a long-term investment institution, we urge our members not to be alarmed by the noise in the market. Their retirement savings are safe, as our investment philosophy is long-term based (five years and more), and the fund will deliver sound returns. Our member contributions to the fund are well-invested, to ensure their benefits are enhanced, and therefore the fund exists to safeguard member benefits.
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